New life, love, sex and friendships passed 40

The magic of horny

So what is it that makes us feel sexy, get turned on, feel that warm buzz without battery powered assistance?

Attraction and excitement can be either simple or complex but not much in between. We assume that chests, breasts, butts and legs work for most, but how is that connected to the beauty of face, beard, hair, lips. And then there's, cheekiness, sultry-ness, husky-ness. Yes, let's not forget someone's voice.

When I was young and flatting a salesman for Sky came to the door one day. Irish. None of us, three women, wanted Sky or had any interest in it at all but we invited him in for the full run down. An unspoken agreement was made, we were going to question him for as long as we could. I think we kept him going for a full 90 minutes on the sound of his voice.

I don't understand the standard view of a male adonis. It's just not attractive to me. Hard muscle, chiselled chin, flawless visage. There's nothing sensuous about it. I want someone to feel good when I hold them, soft skin, shoulders broad enough to hold me tight, a bum I can squeeze.

I need depth of emotion, to care about the things they care about, to enjoy their intellect but see their emotion, to enjoy the way they look at me, and the sound of their voice in my ear. I'm more interested in the desire to see more, than just seeing nudity. I get excited about little glimpses, like the buttons of a man I'm attracted to, imagining undoing them slowly makes me hot to my fingertips and my breath deepen... Feeling them watching me makes me horny.

That said, I also understand the beauty of breasts in a braless tank top and delightful nipples... soft and inviting. But not everywhere, or regularly. Everything fades when it's overdone. I'll never want to see my lover naked every day. Keep it for love-making and even then, not always.

Keep it special. Don't form habits. Enjoy playing and imagining.

Titilation and kink

Meet Red, not his real name of course, but he's into software, has two young kids, cares about the community – if promtped, meets me in a cute pohutukawa shirt, is kind and respectful, chirpy, is having a birthday in the weekend and to celebrate he's having a kink party. Oh and he's into ethical non-monogamy, and has a primary partner. I know, you think I'm angling for an invite so I can report back. Maybe post-omicron...

So, keen to work out what all these labels are, and he has a lot of lingo on the kink side. It seems ethical non-monogamy translates as honesty. Not that much more to it really. All good. And in lots of ways it also feels a lot like dating – ie haven't committed to anyone, except it's dating with a fall back position/or person in this case. Forgive me, I'm supportive and cynical all at once. Don't get me wrong, I don't think one person can possibly provide everything another needs, but we make choices about how we manage that. Sometimes it means no physical engagement with others, or keeping it from others, or not hurting others, ...

Ok, the sex. Not yet, but my thing with more and more complex toys and partnership options, is an ever increasing spiral of needing more and more to get excited. A little bit like drugs, I get used to beer, I move to wine, get used to that I need spirits, get used to that I need coke, get used to that I do something else and so it goes up the chain, or rope and rubber in the case of sex. As you get older things can get a bit old hat, sex for the sake of it, trying more elaborate options, get used to it, try the next etc.

So at some stage I decided to stop climbing the ladder and start re-sensitising myself. I shifted my idea of intimacy, engaged my mind, all the things that impress my values, my intellect, my body. I guess I've always been quite sensitive about touch, my fingertips and hands get warm and are excited by touch, and desire becomes mental, emotional and physical. If someone I care for has something intelligent or passionate to say that connects with my values it really works for me. To feel the warmth of that person next to me is enough to make my breath deepen and my heart pound, and yes, that buzz between my legs.

So will I go to a kink party? Maybe, but it's not something I'd do regularly for fear of desensitising my enjoyment. I'll let you know.

So can you be friends with someone you want to have sex with but for whatever reason can't?

My starting point is that it is so hard to find people who I connect with, feel I can really talk to. Those few people are often people I feel more than just friendship for. I'm also really aware that because I don't have a great family background, I often find it harder to let go of these people when love goes awry or friendship falls over. I want them to be like the family I don't have.

When it is so hard to connect, why is it that I have to lose these people. In my world I would want mine to stay close, but try not to get in the way of other love that they had or I had.

We are clearly not completely monogamous beings, but we can be loving without being unfaithful surely. I know that's easy to say when I'm the one trying to connect with old love or even love that never happened, and if it was my partner wanting to maintain the friendship I may feel differently. But if my relationship was strong, then I hope I wouldn't be threatened.

Maybe I'm being naive or complicit with my inner desires... Life is short, there is little time to find people who connect, and those few who do continue to be special to me. Maybe the answer is that I am just not that special to them.

There is the romantic, he remains the one I feel closest to; the naughty monkey who fights for people, who I thought needed to learn a lesson but it only made me fall harder when he did, and it remains the unrequited; and the one I want to find someone new for.

Safe to say, it's hard trying to build a new life, I found that I needed more love to help me leave. But that love is struggling to be found. In dating apps I have found support and flirtations to keep me smiling.

Independence is also loneliness and when you're in unhappy relationships your networks get too many holes to play safety net.

Those I hold dear should know that once you're in, you don't get kicked out, you gain unconditional love. And while I like how some want to look good in my eyes, it's the good I see through your misdemeanours that makes you human and closer to me.

Dating app conundrums

After chatting for a month, this one says, my confidence is low so I usually wait to be asked to meet, in the middle of the chat... it's after midnight and he's been on a date. I gather it wasn't so great.

It's good isn't it, he's saying he's keen, but he's just been on a date, got home and is looking for another – do I want that. I'm flattered but also over analysing again. Is this a game for him? No, he's honest and interesting, that's good isn't it? But he may be stuck in the 'getting over it' phase.

Dating is a fun time, but a weird time. Especially if you're living on your own, you think too much and have to check yourself. You swing from altruistic – we're all in this dating game together and be good to each other, supportive when they are honest about it – to 'get real' and 'the signs were all there, remember' thinking about past experience... – and let's be honest, the 'just get it on and go' phase. OK, 'phases'.

Enjoy meeting people, ignore the bs. Be safe. Focus on that.

In celebration of love.

It's beautiful to look back on love from a happy single space. After being so shy of being on my own, it's now so good to have choice, options, memories and reflection. So special to see how differently we love with different lovers.

To my memories: Lover, how I adore that you love it when I giggle, especially at the point where it gets out of hand. And especially if it was you who made me giggle. You dip your head with a special smile to yourself. You tease me with your body language and watched me react – I blinked and breathed through my mouth with open lips as the buzz ran through me.

The modern flirtations I've enjoyed. Watching you flirting on zoom looking into the camera after me, stroking your face, adjusting your glasses to see if I would too. How you tried to regain and win my attention when other men wanted it.

Then there's you, who love it when I compliment you. You perk up like a bird fluffing its feathers when I gently rub your back or your arm, or just brush you. You love hugging me, you squeeze me tight and sometimes hang on longer than you should. You would blush when I lost my train of thought.

And special moments to enjoy in memory. Lover with a sparkler spinning me around the back yard, dancing and twinkling at me. You, the romantic so special, holding yourself away yet returning again and again. Blissful moments to share.

Keep loving lovers and let me discover your special ways.

I've escaped. Made it out of COVID lockdowns reassessing my future like so many, making it through by forming friendships on dating apps, to find myself finally feeling like me again, new apartment, new life, new job underway. And now, new blog. Musings to come!

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