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Sex versus making love – an older woman’s perspective!

It may be the hottest book around, but I have no intention of reading Fifty Shades of Grey! Not because I am 70 and am past being interested in sex, but because in the last few years I have come to know the difference between having sex and making love and believe as an older woman, it does not involve handcuffs, the Kama Sutra or indeed any Tantric teaching.

I was in my teens in an era when often the only thing a young girl was told about sex was, “You have to wait until you are married”. This was heavily instilled in me and I adhered to it until I reached 24. I found myself in London at the time when the Beatles and Carnaby Street ruled, and with no prospect of getting married. So when I had an opportunity to find out what I had been missing, I took it, even though there was no love involved, just a mutually convenient friendship. I did not understand what the big deal was, but at least I was held and touched by someone. Plus he was Indian, which somehow in London in the 1960s made it seem somewhat exotic! From then on I made up for lost time.

Several times during my life I have stopped to wonder what I was searching for! Yes, sex was usually fulfilling on a physical level – but why did I still feel so empty afterwards? I always felt that something was missing, that there had to be something more no one was telling me about!

When my now husband and I met more than twenty years ago, we were older but no wiser, and in the beginning our relationship was often emotional and very needy on both sides. We knew that there was something more to life, but we had yet to discover it. In 2004 we decided to marry – myself at sixty-one and my husband at fifty-one. Neither of us had been married before so we were not used to living closely with another. We were fiercely independent and we both carried strong emotional scars from the experiences of our lives. Needless to say it was an emotionally charged partnership.

Looking back, what held it together was an almost unconscious feeling we both had that there was some inner-beauty deep within the other person that we could occasionally feel, even though we did not allow that to often be expressed. In both cases, that inner-beauty was buried underneath our emptiness and the hurts we carried. Despite the constant turmoil in our lives, at the time we still called what we had ‘Love’.

Later that year we attended a Universal Medicine workshop and we knew immediately that here might possibly be the piece that had been missing. What was being said was common sense, but it had never been presented to us in such a simple way before. Here was someone saying that you cannot truly love another until you love yourself. How many of us were ever told by our parents or teachers when we were young to love ourselves? Mostly we were recognised for what we achieved – being Dux of Kindergarten (yes! I was), being the fastest runner, the best speller, etc. Always for something that we did, but never for just ‘being ourselves’. Is it any wonder we spend our lives forever searching for someone to recognise us for simply who we are, rather than what we do?

After listening to Serge Benhayon present for several years, we both began to make different choices. We gradually worked on the emptiness and hurts and started to live in a more loving way, both with ourselves and each other. As we embodied more love we became aware that what we had up until that time was not ‘love’ but a relationship based on filling each other’s needs . . . and when our needs were not met, the emotional games kicked in. We reached the stage where we both felt that our relationship had been debased: if what we thought was ‘love’ was not truly ‘love’, then why were we together at all?

For a couple that reaches this point there is often a choice, either to separate or to rebuild a foundation of true love. For us it was a simple choice because we shared a deep connection and we wanted to be together, but the change did not happen instantly or even in the first year. It took commitment on both sides, and a mutual understanding and trust when one or the other of us chose to express from emotion . . . rather than from the true love within.

Now making love is a confirmation of the way we have been together during the day. But in truth, it is how we are in every moment of the day, not what we do. It is how we smile at each other, touch each other in passing, prepare a meal together or feel the other in our heart when they are not there.

Unlike having sex, there is no beginning or end to making love. Having sex was about fulfilling each other’s needs and after the deed was done, the emptiness remained. There is not one ounce of neediness in making love, as the physical act is a glorious and joy-full confirmation of the loving connection we have in every moment. This is a feeling that is forever with you so long as you choose that loving connection with self and each other, living in a way that allows the love to deepen moment-by-moment, day-by-day.

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RelationshipsSexMaking love

  • Thumb small anne mcrichtie

    By Anne McRitchie, BA; UTS Fellow

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    Photography: Alan Johnston, Photographer

    I have studied Social Documentary Photography. Lots of life experience throughout which I have kept a keen sense of humour.