Read on to discover six more sex myths doctors hear all the time — and the truth about how to have a satisfying sex life at any age or stage.
My life has changed completely since I began the Internet dating experiment 8 years ago. My cousins told me that it was bad for me to be alone all by myself here in the Bay Area during an emotionally vulnerable time, so because I love and respect them, I gave it a try.
Because of Internet dating, I am alive now. The compassion and connection I have developed with a few delightful men+ has kept me healthier and more grounded through some horrifying family tragedies.
I joined Eharmony in January of 2007. Match and Chemistry were both total strikeouts. By accident I found OK C**** in November of 2007 and three days later a very interesting man wrote to me. We dated for 6 years.
I am no trophy, and I am not well-off. I am 63 years old with mobility disabilities, yet I could go out with a different man every day of the year if I wished.
Women, go sign up for Ashley M***** too.** Nowhere else on earth are the odds more in your favor. I met a lovely man there 18 months ago and we are still dating. We see one another once every week or so. Please use a deadend email address, for crying out loud!
Married men or happily-married widowed men are much more reliable and considerate than single men. They are also grateful for your willingness to see them despite their marital or emotional status. Give it a try!*
Women, your account is free at A M******. AM provides tools for you to upload your photos and apply a disguise to them after upload.
During the month I had my account open, more than 600 men either indicated interest by pinging me (free to them) or paying to write me an email. At first, I wrote back to many of those men who seemed interesting. My work started to pile up because I was spending ever more increasing hours writing back to my AM contacts. At least 1/3 of these men were local and dateable. Many were divorced, many widowed, many caring for disabled spouses. Many men whose wives just stopped liking sex wrote to me.
I am sharing this because these services helped me learn more about what I wanted in a relationship and adjust my expectations about my future. I first learned about the concept of sapiosexuality from my good friend Jay Wiseman. You may know me as one of Jay’s lunch b***hs.
Anyway, my dance card is full of sapiosexuals, but if it weren’t, I would do all the things people suggested here.
Then, ask a potential partner to join the Internet dating service of your choice and answer at least 300 questions. It’s not hard to do 30 or so while you are waiting for your incredibly ancient overburdened computer to open Adobe Acrobat DC. The applicant (*snort) should also be willing to take 25 or so of the personality quizzes. There are thousands of questions to choose from and hundreds of quizzes to take.
A final word about OKC…Take part! Submit your own questions and quizzes for consideration by the editors. The users take an active role in the site. Many are psychologists and others with human science educations.
*See my next article: 6 ways to tell him that you are not a bootycall.
**About the AM hack: My deadend fake email was revealed by the AM hack, but nothing else. They were stupid and greedy, refusing to invest in adequate security despite their reassuring promises of confidentiality. But I don’t care about that. I am seeing an adorably hot man I met through AM. We are going on two years. He’s brilliant and hilarious.
As toddlers, preteens, adolescents, we girls are all taught the same lesson, over and over. Men are brutes who can’t think about details, will lie to get sex, and we need to settle for what we can get over that. Our only other choice is someone who is overly controlled by a religion or ideology.
Among the qualities recommended to us there was “looking more like a girl,” which always got the most votes. There’s a reason that Paul McCartney is the most famous Beatle: he looked like a lady with those big eyes and long droopy eyelashes.
I stopped trying to find men who acted like and looked like women and accepted the fact that I had no other choices, being a natural hetero. By that I mean that I did not wake up one morning and decide I was attracted to guys. This argument serves me well when I get into a dispute with a homophobe. Use your imagination.
Once I figured all of this out I just started concentrating on men’s auras in the online dating world. Being a smart girl in the years before women’s lib was a guaranteed no-prom-date scenario. I mainly wanted full-time what I had part-time in my 25-year-marriage.
After joining OKCUPID I found thousands of possible matches. Tens of thousands of men have read my profile. Thousands have written me. My hope of finding suitable romantic partners has grown immensely.
Lotsa brainiac dudes out there looking for girl geeks and boffins.
Now that I have freed my mind, something as simple as the angle of a stance can set me off. I don’t have a set of characteristics I require. I am free now to make the best choices for me, not for the other person alone.
I am free to play only with the boys who play nice when they are naughty. No drama, no drama kings. Life is too short. Oh, one more thing. No more Scorpios. I mean it.
I have come to delight in the common traits that my men share. Traits such as voraciousness, insatiability, curiosity, delight, silliness, cameraderie. Yes, I adore your man-traits. I love that you are visual and use that to my advantage. Yes, I want to give you mind-blowing head. I want you to explore me to your heart’s content.
It makes me healthier, and you too. I like dating married men. They have proven they can get along wit women and can keep committments. They don’t need training. (My rant about the unsuitability of the nuclear family will appear here in the near future.)
Here are some rules for brainiac guys who seek smart women.
- Write to me lots!
- Take lots of OKCUPID quizzes.
- Answer lots of OKCUPID questions.
- Tell me what gets you out of bed in the morning besides needing to use the loo.
I want to know how your brain works. I want to know if you are neurotic or nice before I let you get close to me.
At 62, I find myself incredibly popular. I do not understand, but I am not complaining. All of these conversations enrich me, even if we don’t “click.” I have met hundreds of men who find me charming and date-able in the last 8 months. I had to withdraw my profile so I could concentrate on my tax practice.(1)
My health is a little worse than when I last updated my profile. Nevertheless, I still have an active and joyful romantic life. It sustains me through bad times to know that there are people who care.
I now know that there are so many men who are seeking the same love, romance, and peace that I seek.
I want that when you decide you no longer want to keep seeing me, you just say so. You don’t need to invite me out to dinner to do it. I won’t think you are rude. I WILL think you rude if you try to get me to break up with you by acting like a jerk. Just do it.
I do not want to get married again. I like not being property. My self-esteem and my protective instincts operate better when I control my own space.
For example, my building super indicated that he found me a tasty morsel. He’s quite sweet, but I could not afford to surrender my autonomy to that degree. After all, he could enter my apartment any time.
(1) An EA (Enrolled Agent) designation is in my near-future. I have purchased the study materials and have two months to complete the study and the live exams. I am confident of my success.
Why Men Love Women’s Bodies
By Laura Berman, PhD
Published Nov 2, 2013
Whether a man is a “breast man” or a “leg man,” it’s hard for them to resist the female figure.
If you ask your partner what he loves the most about your body, he might give you a politically correct answer like “your smile” or “your eyes.” However, if he is being honest, he might admit that your womanly features (such as your breasts and your curves) are what really draws him to you.
A recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examined exactly where the male gaze tends to fall on the female body. The researchers asked men to sit in a photo booth where they were shown an array of different women, some of which altered to have even “curvier” bodies and some of which were not altered. The researchers found that the men spent more time eyeing the women’s bodies then they did their faces, quickly zeroing in on their curves instead of other attributes such as their smiles or their hair.
Beginning in late 2006, I tried the major commercial dating sites. I just wasn’t quite generic enough for that audience. After a year, I felt I had given online dating a fair trial and found it wanting.
Then, I found the FREE dating site www.okcupid.com by accident in late 2007. It was purchased by Match.com in 2012, but it hasn’t changed much, and it is still free. One may answer thousands of questions and take hundreds of tests, or just a few. Write all you want. The site even has a journal feature.
Of course, the usual pluses and minuses of any online dating remain in effect. It’s easy to get invested in someone who is a close match and who you have chemistry with. I found myself distressed to learn that even men who were very close matches with me and presumably held the same values, shockingly enough, had no problem treating me like a nonperson.
Nonetheless, over the years I have looked at thousands of profiles, exchanged correspondence with hundreds, met a score, and was grateful for the two long-term relationships I established. Those relationships ended because circumstances changed, but ended amicably.
The toys on the OKC site helped me gain important self-knowledge and clarified what I really wanted in a romantic partner. Second most important, my belief that there were a ton of smart, witty, delightful, compassionate men out in the world has been reinforced time and again.
Share your positive online dating experiences here. We all know about the bad ones.
NB. No, I am not being paid a fee to endorse the site. Yes, they mine your data and don’t pay you for that either. You may place a warning in your profile denying them permission. I didn’t bother.
The many chemicals flooding our system influence who we choose and how we feel, which means we don’t have much control over who we’re attracted to.
In fact, much science has been done and much ink has been spilled over how human hormones regulate lust, attraction and long-term bonding. The conclusion? We have a lot less control over who we’re attracted to and who we fall in love with than we think. Well, that explains a lot. Here’s how the many chemicals flooding our system influence who we choose and how we feel.
Step One: Desire You’re single. You’re horny. You go out to a bar and see an attractive person laughing with friends. You instantly imagine yourself kissing, touching and having sex with that person. This is the first stage of love: desire and lust. This stage is controlled by two hormones: testosterone and estrogen (women have testosterone too, albeit in smaller amounts than men). These hormones regulate the reproductive system and activate when you find someone attractive. (This is why birth control pills can affect your sex drive. Learn more here.) In other words, your body’s first reaction to a potential partner is, “Let’s make babies!”
Step Two: Attraction This is where love gets more complex than a simple drive to get it on. A cocktail of powerful hormones (dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin) turn us into love-struck zombies. People under the spell of these hormones spend their time thinking about the other person, eat less and even sleep less. Dopamine works to control our reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine gets activated when something good happens, something that produces a pleasurable reward. The high dopamine levels in the brain during this phase of love tell us that being around our partner is synonymous with pleasure. It’s powerful stuff: The release of this hormone in the brain of new lovers has been compared to taking cocaine! Adrenaline is also present in this phase. This is the hormone that makes your heart race, your body sweat and your mouth dry up when you go on that second date. Finally, serotonin is another brain chemical related to all sorts of systems in our bodies, including appetite, mood and our understanding of social situations. When in love, serotonin makes us adopt obsessive-compulsive behavior; this is why we can’t think of anything but a new partner. A recent discovery by Italian scientists added the increased presence of nerve growth factor in people in the attraction phase. This protein is related to the growth, maintenance and survival of neurons. Basically, during the attraction phase, your brain becomes more active. Scientists do not quite understand what this means for human sexuality and reproduction, but it’s an interesting new path to pursue. During this second phase, many chemicals in our bodies conspire to make us obsess over that new lover and to feel excited when he or she is around. Our brains develop a link between pleasure and the other person, making us want to be with them and think about them all the time. Because of the strength of this cocktail, the attraction phase can become, in itself, addictive: the pleasure we feel in this phase is lost as we move into the third step, prompting some people to break up as soon as it disappears and head out in search of a new “love high.”
Step Three: Attachment After the craziness that is the attraction phase, dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline go back to normal levels and give way to two other hormones: oxytocin and vasopressin. These two hormones are what make us stick around after the first few months of a relationship.
Compatibility, emotional maturity — and, yes, great fun — are just a few of the reasons
- “Why don’t men your age date women their age?”
- “Are you still sexual?”
I have a lot to say about that second question, but that’s another story. Besides, I feel even more strongly about the first.
(OKCUPID.COM is free and hospitable to writers and the curious. -ed.)
I have deliberately dated women close to my age for the past 15 years and I believe boomer women make ideal dates, and mates, for boomer guys. Among the reasons:
1. Boomer women are fun
I was reminded of this the night my date showed me an old photo and I started laughing so hard my face hurt. “This can’t be you!” I teased her about the crinkled black-and-white image, now more than 40 years old. “I mean, c’mon — bellbottoms and a VW van?!”
But it was true — painfully true — as were the other period details in the image, notably Sarah’s tie-dyed T-shirt and frizzy brown hair, piled high and shooting in all directions. She must have been a ball of fun back then, I thought as we sat in her living room at the end of our second date, because she’s certainly entertaining now.
Guide to Dating
- Help! Men my age want to date women my daughter’s age
- What to do and not to do on your first date
- Ready to try online dating? Here’s how to start
Join AARP Today — Receive access to exclusive information, benefits and discounts
Earlier in the evening we had hosted a fondue party (remember those?), then giggled ourselves silly about our flower-powered past. The combination made for the most enjoyable date I’d had in a long time — and it drove home the fact that when it comes to later-life dating, “Fun Is Job 1.”
2. Boomer women are strong
Boomer women have been through a lot. Many have taken a stand, protested injustices, marched for a cause, written letters to the editor, authored columns in print or blogs online, lobbied for social change, and done their part to make American politics more inclusive. They have demanded equality in the bedroom and boardroom, staging asexual revolution and storming workplace barriers that blocked their economic progress. Being able to draw on that hard-won inner strength in a relationship makes them rock-solid partners in every way.
NB: BW stands for Boomer Website, which now means that the AARP is for boomers. I always thought that it was for old people. Huh.