The Queen of My Self

A truly mature, secure woman accepts the inevitable physical changes that come with the passing of time and incorporates them into the way she presents herself to the world. Self-aware, Self-assured, she transforms her Self as she goes. She glows as she grows into her full potential, and becomes ever more becoming. Her reinvigorated attractiveness stems from Self-knowledge and enfranchisement, her magnetic sensuality is centered in the fulfillment and satisfaction of her Self-worth. She exudes the intoxicating appeal of a woman who is at heart, pleased with her Self.

Great lineage of Love and Fertility Goddesses who have been revered throughout time and culture. Their power, raw and electric, was their Self-knowledge, their exquisite access to ecstasy. Their generative heat, their sex, the seat of their strength. The vitality, the powerful intensity of their sheer desire, their boundless energy, was potent enough to produce generations, poetry, agriculture, science, art, and craft. The same fire, the same hot love that ignites to spark the beginning of babies, also kindles the creation of culture. Their primal hunger was the force that fashioned all life, and their love, the fuel that maintained it.

Their sexuality was imbued with spiritual significance. Sex, especially the female experience of it, has been all but universally invoked in myth and ritual as symbolic of the primary force, the fiery source of life. For the Goddesses of Love and Life, unabashed and bold, sex was an authentic religious expression. Sex as energy. Sex as celebration. Sex as creation. Sex as abundance. Sex as unification. Sex as divine spirit. Sex as sympathetic magic. In my newly recovered sensuality, I was the Queen Bee, Aphrodite, Nefertiti, Cleopatra, the beautiful black Queen of Sheba. Honey, I was the Queen of Hearts.

My vulva, the horn.
The Boat of Heaven
Is full of eagerness like the moon
My untilled land lies fallow
As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?

-Inscription on a Sumerian clay tablet
2000 BC
                                   A Lot of Hot Women

Many women now entering midlife have always been pleasure seekers. Our generation created and experienced the Sexual Revolution, after all. And we are not likely to stop now, thank you very much. The time for loving has never been better. By midlife, those of us who have had kids are liberated from the constraints of child rearing and can now afford the uninterrupted time and energy to attend unabashedly to our sex lives. Heterosexual sex, finally divorced from any worries or pressures of pregnancy, free of the rigors of birth control, is now simply for its own sake, pleasure rather than procreation at its source. We are free to indulge ourselves in the joys of seduction, intimacy, sensuality, passion, and satisfaction. As Virginia Wolfe observed, “The older one grows the more one likes indecency.”

By middle age, we have come to know who we are. We know what we like and we know how to get it. As in every other area of Her existence, the Queen cannot tolerate living in any way that constricts the expression of Her true nature and desires. She assumes responsibility for Her own enjoyment and makes sure that Her sensual and emotional needs are met. Most important of all, we are more inclined now to go out and manifest what we want.

Our new take-charge sexual attitude can be just the catalyst needed to refuel the lethargic passion of our long-term marriage or partnership, or it could send us out in other, sometimes completely unexpected, directions. We could decide to take a lover, or a different lover, or an additional lover. If we have long been single, we might decide to begin dating and establishing relationships. We might, as is becoming more and more common, liberate our previously hidden, unfulfilled yearnings and “come out” as a lesbian in midlife. Or, if we have always been sexually active, involved and/or coupled, we could choose a period of celibacy, Self-exploration, Self-indulgence, and Self-love. The world is our oyster and we pick and choose according to our own persuasion.

A positive attitude is a Self-fulfilling prophecy cycle. When we look good, we feel good and when we feel good, we look great. The brain, the mind, is said to be our most sensitive sexual organ. Time after time, I have seen that being in possession of a vivacious, fully engaged, energized personality is much more enticing and erotic than having an outwardly pretty face or perfectly honed physique. It seems to me that the popular misperception that midlife marks the end of a woman’s sexuality, her attention and appeal, has less to do with her losing her looks than her losing her way, her sense of adventure, her enthusiasm, her spirit, her relationship with her Self. Allure is visceral and shines from within.

The Queen uses the power of Her own purpose, growth, and gratification to claim and proclaim what is rightfully Hers, including — especially — Her own Self-image, charisma, and sexuality. When we are comfortable in our own skin, we carry ourselves with presence and pride, and project our formidable inner beauty out for all to see and appreciate.

Our emotional maturity and depth of character make women in our middle years extraordinarily and vitally attractive. We are substantial and robust, heady with the flavor of all that we have seen and done so far. We are pungent with profound experience, with pain and loss, exploration and transformation, glory and joy. The myriad lessons learned from lives intensely lived are reflected in our palate, which has become sophisticated, subtle, firm, and complex. Like fine wine and good cheese, women ripen and improve with age. Our essence becomes stronger, clearer, and infinitely more powerful. What could be more sexy?


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers 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



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