16. I find orgasms to be overstimulating, almost painful. Is there something wrong with me?

First, talk to your gynecologist after a full checkup, especially if the contractions felt good in the past and have recently become painful. If that's not the case, it doesn't mean there's something wrong. If you're in your 20s, orgasms might seem painful simply because sex may be relatively new territory for you. Over time, you'll become more familiar with your body and what feels good.

For many women, riding the crest of the wave may be better than going over the top, which can be too intense. It could also be that your partner's stimulation is too direct. Showing your partner what you like and what doesn't work is part of being in a mutually enjoyable sexual relationship. Orgasm doesn't have to be the goal. It's more important, and fun, to figure out what works for both of you. — Hilda Hutcherson, MD

(Dr. Hutcherson is an obstetrician-gynecologist and author of Pleasure: A Woman's Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve [Perigee].)

17. What freaks me out about turning 50: I'll spend all my time looking back on the things I haven't done.

I'm a grandmother of 12 who remarried three years ago at the age of 68, I've written books, and I host a radio show and write a column, both called Second Wind. That's the theme in my life—getting a second wind after 50.

Regrets are passions that aren't pursued: "I never got a chance to travel, or to be an artist." As you move toward retirement, you get the time to do these things. I was in my 60s when I thought, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I went back to school to study gerontology and got my master's degree when I was 66. A friend of mine is writing her second novel at the age of 70.

Women had a revolution in the 1970s for liberation and equal pay, and now we're having another revolution about what it means to be older. Aging isn't the end of the road; it's the gift of another beginning. — Mel Walsh, MA

(Walsh is the author of Hot Granny [Chronicle].)


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