Having brought up their toddlers, they have more freedom to go out again and relax with their husband, their partner - or indeed someone else entirely. The book played a notable part in the sexual revolution. Polden says there is a host of reasons for this. It spices everything up, it makes me feel energised and youthful, at precisely the moment I was beginning to feel a bit dull and over the hill. These mid-life affairs don't necessarily spell the end of a marriage.
The Joy of Sex: Women's enjoyment of sex in their 40s can also be chalked up at least partly to feminist advances, which have made us much less likely to settle for second best. But our marriage went stale, as they do, and one night at a drinks party I met someone new, and we ended up having the most amazing sex upstairs in a bedroom while the party was happening below. Other surveys echo these conclusions - one carried out in the US, for instance, found that women in their 40s want to have sex more often than younger women. The authors of that last study said that their research suggested that "sexual risk-taking behaviour is not confined to young people". Both the illustrations and text are titillating as well as illustrative, in contrast to the bland, clinical style of earlier books about sex. It struck me that when I was younger I was searching for an alpha male, a provider, but what I want now is a much more sensitive man. In the past, many women simply tolerated their husbands' affairs - now they're getting out there themselves. Jane Polden, a psychotherapist who specialises in working with middle-aged women, says it's a story she hears time and again, as does relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam, co-author of The New Joy of Sex. But men change too. The illustrations have become somewhat dated, mainly because of changes in hairstyles. The theory is that from puberty women are physically wired to be attentive to the needs of others, our bodies priming us to care for children. Polden says there is a host of reasons for this. The data on extramarital affairs supports the notion that, like Philippa, many fortysomething women are having great sex with someone other than their husband. Share via Email Joy of sex Photograph: The secret to a great love life Start again "Novelty does help," says relationship psychologist, Susan Quilliam. The original version was illustrated with a mixture of classical Indian and Japanese erotica and specially commissioned illustrations by Chris Foss black-and-white line drawings and Charles Raymond colour paintings. Forgetting how to play is the death-knell to many a long-term sex life. In our 40s, though, when those nurturing hormones melt away, many women are led to the epiphany that they have been putting their own needs in second place for decades. Newer versions have reversed previously-supportive positions on topics such as swinging, due to extensive textual changes made at the height of the s AIDS panic. The book features sexual practices such as oral sex and various sex positions as well as bringing "further out" practices such as sexual bondage and swinging to the attention of the general public. In , a film loosely based on the book was released. For some women, though, finding a lover in their 40s is a prequel to leaving their marriage in seven out of 10 cases, divorce is instigated by women. Take that line with sex - it's not just about fulfilling a basic requirement, it's about becoming a connoisseur. For those who embark on them, the fortysomething sexual relationship is often a way of reclaiming their youth. And sex and death are very closely related.
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