Menopause was the best thing that could have happened to me. It's been nine years since I've had sex with anyone other than myself, but at 57, I wouldn't say I'm celibate or sexless. I'm simply clearheaded.

A promiscuous child of the free-love '70s and a hard partier until the '90s, I only understood the language of sex. If I wasn't desirable, I felt invisible, and by my early 30s, I was using a color-coded spreadsheet to keep track of my trysts, with columns for photos and brief notes. But then I quit the partying, and later my estrogen began to ebb—along with my sexual appetite. I started forgetting to be that girl who slept around. It didn't make me feel good or pretty or important anymore; it made me feel empty. Then one night I slid into bed and realized it had been years since anyone else had slid in there with me.

The hormone fog had lifted, and with lust out of the equation I was left to figure out who I was, if not that hypersexual thing. I did stand-up to a room full of 20-somethings who stared back silently. I got my motorcycle license, jumped out of a plane. Started to love my body for all the other things I could do with it. I chucked my high heels, danced all night in cowboy boots and went home alone to a new queen-sized bed, sleeping diagonally, corner to corner, along with—yes—a cadre of cats. I posed naked for painters, photographers and sculptors. I laughed louder and more often. I spoke my mind. Conversations about life, pain and hope replaced faceless seductions. The quality of the men in my life changed: instead of one-night stands, they became friends and companions. I was free.

Maybe there's a Venn diagram with my name on it where sex and companionship overlap, but I'm in no rush. I still have sexual desires. But I also have the Wahl All-Body Massager—with two speeds and seven attachments.


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