Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

 

Congratulations, Queens! This column has reached the milestone of 300 entries. To celebrate, I am giving away an autographed copy of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. to the first three readers who request one by sending an email to me at:  thequeenofmyself@aol.com. That’s right, all you have to do is ask!

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

Here is a take on sexuality in midlife by a noted sociologist:

 

Sex, Sensuality, and the Midlife Single Woman

By Kay Trimberger www.kaytrimberger.com

The sexual revolution suggests that if we are single women between ages 45 and 59 – now over 30 percent of all females this age – we can (and should) initiate sexual adventures and seek new romantic/sexual partners. Newspapers, magazines, talk shows and films feature story after story of middle-aged single women blossoming sexually.

This is an important correction to the stereotypes that once prevailed. Women were not expected to enjoy sex, and any female with a strong libido — especially a “middle-aged” women  — was regarded as suspect or even deviant. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. For midlife females who want to remain sexually active, it’s great to have this new cultural validation. But women with less sexual desire or opportunity may feel inferior.

One of the most difficult tasks for mature single women who don’t have a monogamous sexual partner, is figuring out our sexual desires and how to meet them. A recent AARP survey of U.S. singles between 40 and 59 found that for those without a steady partner, only 4 percent of women and 12 percent of men had weekly sexual intercourse. For those in their 40s, 46 percent of both single women and men had not had sex in the prior six months; while in their 50s, 61 percent of women and 39 percent of men had not made love in the last half-year — and it was not an issue.

In 2004 a random sample of American women and men over age 45, in rating what is important to their quality of life, did not put “a satisfying sexual relationship” high on their list. More important is being in good spirits, being healthy and active, having close ties with friends and family, financial security, personal independence, spiritual well-being, having productive work and contributing to society. Seventy-three percent believe that there is too much emphasis on sex in our culture today.

These findings point to the need for recognition of individual variation in what we desire as midlife singles. Deciding what kinds (if any) sex one enjoys, feeling positive about it, and acknowledging that one’s sexual desires may change over time is not easy.

Society needs more recognition of the importance of sensuality and nonsexual passion in our lives, what I and others have termed “sensuous celibacy” — part of the sexual spectrum rather than a problem to be overcome. The emphasis on genital sexuality neglects the importance of sensuality, especially that which an individual can realize without a partner, such as the sensuality in food, clothing, art, travel, spiritual rituals, music and dance.

During my research for The New Single Woman, one ever-single woman in her late 40s told me of her love of flamenco dancing, which she finds intensely passionate and sensual. A married colleague in her 50s described e the joy she got from gardening: “I love the touch, the fragrance and the delicacy of flowers; they are definitely charged with passion and sensuality for me.” Other women luxuriate in the aromatic, tactile and sensory stimulation they get while cooking.

Some single middle-aged women are seeking to make nonmonogamy an acceptable practice. I found that those who had an intense sexual drive and acted on it in a thoughtful way fostered autonomy and a strong sense of self.

For women who love sex, or who long for sex within an affectionate partnership, the sensual pleasures of dancing, gardening or cooking will not be enough. But for others it is not only enough, but preferable. We need to view sex as one, but only one, of the elements that enhance our lives. Let’s recognize that there are many forms of sensuality, and acknowledge the complexity and variety of passion.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.  Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

Homage to My Hips

By Lucille Clifton 

 

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

pretty places, these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved.

they go where they want to go.

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!

 

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.  Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

This is the story of Dell Williams, a Queen who dared to take her sexual pleasure into her own hands, as it were, and in the process succeeded in making the world a more sexually accessible place for women.

“Women didn’t have orgasms. Not officially. Not in 1922, the year I was born,” tells Dell who can remember a time when women’s sexual pleasure was officially nonexistent. An odd and sadly depressing thought for those of us who came of age during the sexual revolution. We have Dell, one of the first women sexual revolutionaries, to thank for our freedom to feel and express our sexual Selves.

During the 1930s and 40s, she spent her late teens and early twenties as a free-spirited singer, actress, artists’ model and writer. She then shifted gears and went into advertising, where she had a meteoric career, rising within the ranks to become one of the first successful female advertising executives in New York City.

When she was in her late forties, which was then considered to be middle-aged and well past a woman’s prime, Dell surprised everyone (including herself) by experiencing a life-changing sexual awakening. Her epiphany came, so to speak, when a boyfriend introduced her to her clitoris. “I didn’t even know I had one,” Williams said.

For me, the two greatest discoveries of the twentieth century were the Cuisinart and the clitoris. – Gael Greene

The realization of her full sexual potential was extraordinarily liberating for Dell. When she was 50 she took herself to Macy’s to buy a vibrator. This turned out to be an extremely awkward and humiliating experience that left her scarred and shamed.

But righteous indignation soon overcame her embarrassment and she vowed that no woman should have to feel embarrassed about her sexuality again. So she left her high-paying executive position and became a visionary activist, diving into the liberation trenches of the sexual and feminist revolutions.

Queen Dell was influenced by the writing of Wilhelm Reich, by the work of sexuality educator Betty Dodson and by her experience organizing a Women’s Sexuality Conference for the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women in 1973.

In 1974 she established the now legendary Eve’s Garden, which she envisioned as a safe, private and supportive way for women to purchase vibrators, educational materials and sexual aids without feelings of shame or self-consciousness. These instruments of pleasure were more than simply sexual aids, they were tools for subversive political and social movements, as well.

This oasis of friendly, discreet, supportive sex-positivity was the first store of its kind. Her inaugural advertisement read, “Eve’s Garden is a feminist sexuality boutique and mail order catalog created by women for women and their partners.” Eve’s Garden thrives today as a shop in Manhattan and an international web-based email marketplace of all things sexy.

Written 35 years ago, her mission statement is still resonant and relevant:

Eve’s Garden was created to empower women to celebrate their sexuality as a positive, nourishing and creative force in their lives. An outgrowth of the Women’s Rights Movement, Eve’s Garden seeks to erase the sense of shame and guilt experienced by countless women as a result of a society that historically condemns the sexual nature of women as sinful. Our version of “Eve” is a transformation from a fallen, shamed woman to a strong, powerful woman proud of her strength, sensitivity, and sexuality.

Queen Dell, you are my shero! I shimmy at your feet in sincere appreciation.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

Queen West continued to make mostly successful films until 1940 when she turned her creative attention to other projects. She would not return to films until 1970. She appeared several times on ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s radio show, appearing as herself. She flirted with Charlie McCarthy, Bergen’s dummy, using her usual brand of wit and risqué sexual references. West referred to Charlie as “all wood and a yard long” and remarked that his kisses gave her splinters.

Even more outrageous was a sketch she did with Don Ameche as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. She told Ameche in the show to “get me a big one… I feel like doin’ a big apple!” NBC was bombarded with letters calling the show “immoral” and “obscene.” Women’s clubs and Catholic groups admonished the show’s sponsor, Chase & Sanborn Coffee Company, for “prostituting” their services for allowing “impurity [to] invade the air.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) later deemed the broadcast “vulgar and indecent” and “far below even the minimum standard which should control in the selection and production of broadcast programs.” NBC personally blamed West for the incident and banned her (and the mention of her name) from their stations.  West would not perform in radio for another twelve years until 1950, on a program hosted by Perry Como.

Among her stage performances was the title role in “Catherine Was Great” on Broadway, in which she spoofed the story of Catherine the Great of Russia, surrounding herself with an “imperial guard” of tall, muscular young actors. In the 1950s, she also starred in her own Las Vegas stage show, singing while surrounded by bodybuilders, one of whom was a former Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay who later married Jayne Mansfield.

In 1958, West appeared at the Academy Awards and performed the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Rock Hudson. In 1959, she released her autobiography Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, which went on to become a best seller.

In 1970 after a 26-year absence from motion pictures, West appeared in Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge with Raquel Welch, Rex Reed, Farrah Fawcett, and Tom Selleck. The movie was a deliberately campy sex change comedy that was both a box office and critical flop, but it did make her a favorite on the cult film circuit where she was dubbed “the queen of camp.” For her contribution to the film industry, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street in Hollywood.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.- MW

West had many boyfriends throughout her life. One was boxing champion William Jones, nicknamed Gorilla Jones. When the management at her apartment building discriminated against the African-American boxer and barred his entry, West solved the problem by buying the building.

In 1955 when she was 61, Mae West became romantically involved with one of the musclemen in her Las Vegas stage show, a wrestler, former Mr. California and former merchant marine Chester Rybonski, who was thirty years her junior. He moved in with her and their romance continued until West died at the age of 87. He once commented, “I believe I was put on this Earth to take care of Mae West.”

Queen Mae died at home in Hollywood on November 22, 1980.

Ever true to herself, she never stopped creating and never stopped creating controversy by her outrageously bold sexual double entendres and innuendos. And most importantly, she never stopped creating her own persona. She was a role model we sexy Queens can be proud of.

I never loved another person the way I loved myself. – MW

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

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