Meier (Ireland, Place Out of Time, 2017, etc.) and debut editor Barry, a psychotherapist, present an anthology of essays and poetry about female sexuality after age 50.
For some women, aging doesn’t mean the end of their sex lives but rather the beginning of new adventures. Liberation from pregnancy fears, child-rearing responsibilities, and menstruation allow them to fully indulge their own pursuit of pleasure. This anthology gives such women the opportunity to speak for themselves—and they do so with aplomb. Nonfiction author Bernadette Murphy discovers the orgasmic perks of learning to ride a motorcycle post-divorce. Lisa Mae DeMasi, whose work has appeared in multiple literary journals, finds that, with reiki practice and essential oils, achieving climax no longer feels like “trudging up Mount Washington with a dead body strapped to my back.” Writer and blogger Rita Bullinger describes how a communication technique called “Imago dialogue” has increased intimacy and sexual satisfaction with her lover: “Communication coupled with oral sex, I’m convinced, is what makes sex at sixty-six the best sex of our lives.” It’s not all excitement and discovery, however; writer Lola Fontay shares the unsettling experience of witnessing a man masturbating in front of her at the end of their first date. Poet Becky Dennison Sakellariou considers the legacy of silence around women’s desire: “A woman like me is invisible, if she is not, / she should be, an anathema, a sin.” But many writers here use humor to talk about the havoc that aging can wreak: “Just when we have our act together the warranty goes out on the equipment,” says author and professional speaker Sally Franz in her hilariously prescriptive essay “Tweaking Sex After Fifty.” The authors also often address sex with tact and sensuality: “Sometimes then, long-married / bodies, after stuttering into sleep, / curve into long slumbers of silk yesses, / yesses loud enough to waken dreams,” writes poet Brenda Yates. Toward the end, the bad online dating stories do become a bit repetitive. But there’s a diverse array of perspectives here, each unique enough to keep readers intrigued.
A refreshingly blunt chorus of older women’s voices.