Dating, Sex and the Older Woman

Submitted by: Erica Manfred

I was interviewed for a radio show today, by Kacey on in the Hudson Valley.  Kacey asked me about dating because I’d been very upbeat about it in my book.   I had to admit the truth, I’ve stopped dating.  I’m 66 and I feel like I’ve aged out of the dating market.   My ex and I split when I was 59, which doesn’t seem like that much of a difference age-wise, but it is.  I got into Internet dating heavy duty at 60, but I lied on dating sites and said I was 55.   I could pass at the time.   I was also thinner.  There’s nothing like divorce to help you take off weight.

About a year after separating I rediscovered my sex drive which had pretty much gone underground during my 18 years of marriage to a man I wasn’t turned on by.   I became obsessed with Internet dating, spending hours on, Jdate, and  I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store, fantasizing about every guy I saw, wondering if he was good in bed.

I got onto the Internet dating rollercoaster.  There were guys I rejected,  guys who rejected me, guys who wanted phone sex, a guy I had phone sex with, young guys, guys who wanted cybersex, AOL chat room late night weirdness, men who weren’t what they seemed and also two really great guys who I dated and fell in love with.

The first, Bob, was a recent separatee who told me he loved me, but didn’t want to be exclusive.   I’d been dumped by my ex and couldn’t deal with the jealousy.   The next one, Jamie, was in the same situation, recent separatee and didn’t want to make a commitment yet.    I was also a recent separatee, but unlike guys we girls aren’t that good at screwing around.  At least we older girls aren’t.  Maybe the younger generation is different.     It was just too soon and it didn’t work out with either of them.    I lost my dating oomph after these experiences.

I was lucky to find Bob and Jamie, both of whom were delightful and would have been perfect for me.   They both went on to find permanent relationships very quickly.   Some men do that.  They can’t stand being alone and will find a permanent relationship, either marriage or living together, very quickly.  It’s so much easier for them because of demographics—there are just so many available women.   Bob married someone 11 years younger than him; Jamie is living with a woman 5 years younger.  I was a couple of years older than both of them.   Unfortunately, men will rarely stay with the FIRST woman they meet after their divorce.    That woman is the transitional woman—they often wind up settling down with number two.   Unfortunately I was the transitional woman for both Bob and Jamie.

I did some dating after Bob and Jamie but never found anyone even remotely as attractive or suitable for me as they were.   Eventually, I got used to living alone and stopped feeling so desperate to find a man.  It takes a hell of a lot of energy to date at my age.  Getting gussied up every day just in case you run into Mr. Senior Right at the supermarket checkout takes too much energy.  Plus the likelihood of finding him plummets the older you get.

I just read these depressing statistics from a study in Sweden which was supposed to be about how much sex has improved for seniors.  “Sexual activity has increased for unmarried seniors. Among the single, 54 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women reported having sex, up from 30 percent of men and less than 1 percent of women in the 1970s.”   It’s probably the same here.  Twelve percent is not an encouraging statistic even though it’s a hell of a lot better than 1 percent.  Of course the 54 percent of single senior men having sex are probably having it with younger women. Who does that leave for us senior women?

Maybe things will change, maybe I’ll get my mojo back sometime, but right now I really don’t give a damn.  I’m perfectly happy to sleep with Shadow, my Chihuahua, and talk to my friends.   Yes, I’d love to have a mate, and I miss sex, but I’m not going to beat myself up for not dating, or trying to date.   It’s really ok to be alone, it’s taken me this long to actually enjoy my solitude and I refuse to feel bad about not looking for a man.

Erica Manfred is the author of He’s History You’re Not, Surviving Divorce After 40. She has written for Cosmopolitan, New York Times Magazine, Ms., Parenting, Women’s Day, and Bottom Line/Personal. She currently runs a women’s divorce support group in her hometown of Woodstock, New York.


  1. 1


    “It’s really ok to be alone, it’s taken me this long to actually enjoy my solitude and I refuse to feel bad about not looking for a man.”
    Good for you! I am not yet 40, divorced for 2 years and I haven’t even had a good flirt session, let alone a date. People around me seem to fall into two categories. Those who think that since I’m divorced I should no longer have an interest in men, dating or sex (the church crowd) or those who keep trying to set me up with someone they know.
    Would I turn down great sex if it showed up on my doorstep….mmmmm, probably not…I have needs too :), but I have no desire to go out looking for a man at this point and I don’t feel bad about that!

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    My mom is 69 (tell everyone she’d 59). Found a guy who is 70, but he prefers “younger women.” She’s now dating the guys 37 year old son.
    But my mom is stuck in that “I NEED a man” mode. She always gets used, then let down. She is not comfortable in her won skin, confident in who she is without someone fawning on her.
    So, good for you. I always thought love will find you when you least expect it. And having spent some time getting okay with you, you’ll likely be ready for it when it comes knocking on your door.

  3. 3


    Coach Cyndi Stein MS CCC/CTACC
    How many of you have the question floating around at the edges of your mind: “Will I ever get a second chance?” Is there a tagline to that which reads: “Do I really deserve to have one?” After all, I messed up – I’m old, overweight, I have kids and baggage, who is going to want me with my tribe? What are my chances? My time is running out!!!!
    The news is ladies: You are back and better than ever!! Not only in spite of your baggage but because of it! You now have a life story, wisdom, and more sexuality than any 20 year old girl could even comprehend! You simply may not be in touch with your personal power. What you have been in touch with is your gremlin or inner critic. He or she has gotten a hold of you and of your vocal cords.
    You are not alone here. Everybody has a self-sabotaging voice that evolves as a result of our reactions to the words, attitudes, and behavior of parents, grandparents, teachers from our childhood. Some are louder and more persistent than others. Some individuals are more adept at taming their gremlin than others. We are complicated beings made up of many parts, facets, and personalities. The good news is that we all have control over our gremlins. He’s really a wuss when you learn to confront him.
    Here’s the way this creature operates. Your gremlin disguises him, her or themselves and masquerades as your friend with your best interest at heart. He is very crafty in bringing you down and keeping you in your “safe” box which is really more like a coffin. Since the gremlin is mostly telling you not to take chances it is easy to confuse this as your inner voice. Newsflash – he/she is NOT your inner voice. The gremlin warnings are often accompanied by a good deal of fear, whereas your inner voice or intuition is not ridden with this emotion.
    Nothing stirs up the gremlin more than stepping out of your comfort zone, out of the box, taking a risk, making a change, committing to a courageous act. The gremlin likes to keep things the same; flat, dead, and unexciting. Therefore, moving toward positive purposeful transformation makes him or her absolutely nuts!
    Notice your gremlin when he or she speaks or whispers in your ear, “you’re not good enough, pretty, skinny, smart, young enough – you are just NOT ENOUGH!!!” Pay attention to when your gremlin shows up and what form he/she takes. Where do you feel this monster in your body? Is it in the pit of your stomach? Your chest, head, neck, or generalized all around you? Write this down – describe the looks, feeling, smell, voice, and emotion associated with the creature’s appearance. Draw a picture if you like!
    We all are the sum of our parts. It’s important to notice our parts, stand apart from them, and realize we are not them; we are not one part. On the contrary, we are far greater than the sum of “parts.” When you separate yourself as the observer, the gremlin becomes something comical, pathetic, we almost feel sorry for this inner critic, and as a result he loses his power. Welcome and make friends with your saboteur as a part of you because he/she is here to stay! You just need to learn how to deal. Here are some ways to outsmart this crafty saboteur:
    1. Journal what he looks, feels and sounds like.
    2. Give him a name
    3. Write down each time he appears during the day and what he says
    4. Call his bluff – tell him you already know what he will say (same old-same old)
    5. Notice how you are the observer and not your gremlin
    6. Now step forward as YOU and not your gremlin and speak from that voice
    7. Notice the possibilities that open up for you.
    Now take a step forward – you do not have to see the whole staircase, just the first step. Notice how you find your true inner voice when you separate you neutralize your gremlin’s. Now speak – what is it that your really want!
    I invite you to use the sheet on this page to analyze and neutralize your self sabotaging voice: Write each statement your gremlin makes as you notice it and then write the truth. SHAKE UP YOUR GREMLIN – REALLY DO IT!!
    I welcome your reactions. Please email your stories, observations, wins, and challenges – We are all in this together!
    Coach Cyndi Stein-Rubin

  4. 4

    christopher whitton says

    I have been lovein but there is a lot play go on and I don’t want that I need lady that isn’t on that because I am a nice 36 yr. old and love to have a good lady in my life so if would like a good man I am the one

  5. 5

    Lara says

    I have been divorced since 2009. My ex was diagnosed with Asperger’s Autism by his sister, a Doctor. We were married for 21 years and our daughter was 18 when he filed and is on her own out of State. I did not want to date after the divorce and figured I’d be alone except for contact with a few friends and family members. I go to a local health club and a man there found me attractive. I consider myself lucky to have met such a nice person who had been unlucky in love as I have and who comes from a large, nice family. I was 47 when divorced. My ex found a nice person (a widow) at a dance club. I think if you go to the right places (not bars, etc.) to mingle with people, you might find somebody. I was not looking, but you know what they say is that you find somebody when you’re not – or you just might make a new friend. I also found some new lady friends there, too, one of whom I spend time with outside the club.

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