Is it okay for a woman to just want a great sex life without wanting a relationship? Check out Felicity’s advice to a reader.
Hi Felicity, I think I am in a somewhat strange situation as far as dating and men is concerned and I’d love to get your advice.
I am in my early 40’s and have never been married. I had two long term relationships in my early 20’s. I have people ask me why am I not married. I really don’t know what to say to that. There are a lot of factors I think.
I was diagnosed with a complicated medical condition at age 25 and I was told it would be difficult for me to have children. I was also overweight at the time (in part due to my condition) and I was put on medication that reduced my libido to zero. I was on that for several years. At the same time, my mother got sick with cancer. I came home to be with her and stayed after she passed away. I didn’t come out of that mental fog until about three years later. By that time I was very overweight and had zero interest in dating. I didn’t really start finding myself again till I was about 35.
And it has only been the last couple of years that I made the decision that I was going to meet some guys and have some sex again. So I have enjoyed a few flings here and there while on vacation. I also met someone quite a bit younger who lives near me who I’ve seen a few times (and been intimate with). And I’ve recently thought about taking the initiative to start online dating, too.
My problem is that I don’t know what I want. Do I just want sex and to make up for all the lost years? Or do I want a relationship? I enjoy sex very much and would like to be having more of it, but I don’t know if that is a midlife crisis talking or just me? I’m curious to know what you think.
Let me start by telling you congratulations for bouncing back after so much adversity. Finding yourself, getting healthy, and re-discovering your sex drive are all great things! And I will also tell you that your situation isn’t as strange as you might think.
As for your questions, the simple answer is you can want what you want AND you can always reserve the right to change your mind.
If you are interested in finding physical companionship without it being a full-blown relationship, you can certainly do that. And if you decide later that you do want a committed long-term love affair, you can switch gears.
But I understand why it might not seem that simple. There are a few things that may be at work here that are causing you to be confused.
First off, women in our generation grew up with the expectation we would someday get married.
This pressure for us certainly wasn’t as strong as it had been for women in previous generations, but those social norms don’t change quickly. Even with many women choosing to not get married, those pesky questions still get asked.
Second, women in our culture are generally taught that sex is only acceptable in the confines of marriage…or at least a committed relationship.
Sex under any other circumstance runs you the risk of being labeled a slut. So it’s natural to still think you *should* want a relationship to go hand in hand with hot sex.
The third factor is that around age 35 or so, many women experience a gigantic surge in hormones that cause our sex drives to go into complete overdrive.
And that could definitely be what is making you anxious to make up for lost time, too.
So all of those factors considered, it’s very understandable why you might be questioning what it is that you actually want and whether pursuing casual sex without a relationship attached to it is okay. Which brings me back to my initial answer to you…
It’s okay to want sex without a relationship and it’s okay to change your mind about that, too.
My advice is to be upfront with any potential partners that you aren’t specifically looking for a long-term relationship. Because while they don’t get much press, there are men out there who really do seek commitment. You don’t want to lead someone on so be clear about your intentions from the start.
Also, it goes without saying to practice safe sex. Have your own stash of condoms. Take care of your gynecological health and discuss limits and boundaries with your partner.
It is possible to limit your sexual activity to one person at a time while not being in a full-blown relationship. A lot of women feel uncomfortable with the idea of having more than one sexual partner, and sometimes will default into a relationship because of that.
So you can find an ongoing “friend with benefits” to satisfy your sexual needs but still be open to dating other men if that sounds more appealing to you. Plus, really getting to know one partner intimately over time generally results in more satisfying sex as you learn each other’s bodies. You just have to keep open communication in the event that romantic feelings develop for one of you.
My final bit of advice is to just check in with yourself emotionally on a regular basis. Ask yourself if you are feeling happy and fulfilled. If that answer changes from a yes to a no, then you can determine what you’d like to change. It’s a great way to stay connected to your heart’s desires, beyond just your love life, too!
Do you have a question about dating, love, or relationships you’d like to ask me? Check out my Facebook page and ask away!