So I’m standing in CVS after a workout (flushed and sweaty from kickboxing class) taking a look at More magazine, my favorite magazine for mature thinking women, and I flip through and notice a full-page ad for Premarin, a vaginal cream. The ad says something to the effect of, “No one tells you this will happen after menopause.” Premarin promises to ease pain during sex. The last line of the ad copy strikes me. The ad says this cream will help make intercourse more “comfortable.” Not pleasurable. Comfortable.
Comfortable sounds like a contrast to all the ads for Viagra, which are about taking charge. Virility. Masculinity. Theoretically, one takes Viagra for comfort (to feel more at ease knowing you can get an erection) but also because you have a desire to have sex. Comfortable sounds more like an accommodation to someone else’s desire to have sex rather than a desire the woman would have herself. Comfortable doesn’t sound like a very high goal to aim for in sex.
This ad sparked my interest because the title of my new book will be Wet. The literal definition of Wet when it comes to women is juicy down there (not dry or painful). I’m thinking about Wet on a metaphorical level, about what it means to have a quenched, intuitive, and turned-on life rather than a dry, dessicated, totally planned life.
In the many conversations I’m having with women and men, especially with women in their fifties, sixties, and seventies, the literal distinctions of wet vs. dry are popping up in conversation. It’s quite the topic–staying wet.
In Colorado at CU-Boulder, where I gave a talk Sex: Just Do It or Not earlier this year, I met J., a 71-year-old woman who told me she was in a very dry 27-year marriage, but now, with her new boyfriend, she is discovering a new level of sexual connection and turn-on that she never knew in two marriages.
She went from totally dry to wetter than ever.
This sense of wetness shows up in her verve for life too, which is one of the connections I’m drawing out in this book–authentic sensual energy fuels our desire and energy for life in general.
I loved meeting and J. and her story because it provides a counterpoint to the dominant message we hear about sex and getting older–that it’s all downhill, and that dryness is inevitable. And certainly she’s aiming for and discovering something for beyond comfort in sex. She’s discovering herself, a new vitality. Sex that turn her on as a woman, vs. just doing sex to please.
Sex that is “pleasurable” and “life-giving” and not just “comfortable.”
That’s something that women and men of all ages can aspire to.
From the wet point of view, that Premarin ad should be a little more aspirational.
P.P.S. You can also read about my Wet coaching here!