This week’s amazing guest blog is by Stella Fosse – erotica writer, author of Aphrodite’s Pen: The Power of Writing Erotica after Midlife, and a late bloomer whose erotic life blossomed in her late 50s. She’s here to challenge some of the tedious judgments made about older women and sex, and when I first read her guest blog – about what caused her to write an erotic story about hysterectomy – it made me want to dance and shout stuff from the rooftops. Read her blog below, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Why I wrote an erotic story about hysterectomy
I swam up from anaesthesia to the sound of three nurses gossiping near my bed.
“People always think I’m ten years younger than I am,” one of them bragged to the others.
“Yeah, I get that line all the time,” I chimed in, as if I were part of the conversation. I don’t have much of a filter anyway; plus I was full of painkillers.
The three of them stared, perplexed.
“Oh, give me a break,” I said. “How would you look if you’d just had your gonads ripped out by the roots?”
“Well, at least you’re amusing,” one of them said.
A brief six weeks later, I was back in the office full time. My friend Mona, who at thirty was my daughter’s age, took me to lunch and wanted the lowdown. I told her the surgery had run four hours because my guts were tangled in unusual ways. And because I’d been under so long, it was a couple of weeks before I could follow a conversation. Friends would sit on my couch and chat with each other, and it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher in the old Christmas special (mwah-mwah-mwah). Plus I had no stamina.
“So how did you do things like laundry?” she asked.
“Well…” I said, “I had just started dating the most marvellous man. Every few days he came by and did my laundry. He even folded my socks.”
Mona’s jaw dropped. When she regained composure, she said, “That is so nice! And at your age, I’m sure relationships are all about companionship.”
Yeah, that “companionship” line. It means: You’re too old to screw. It means: I don’t even want to think about a woman my mother’s age getting it on.
Oh, girl, I could tell you stories… Fortunately I was done with painkillers and kept my mouth shut. This was a work lunch and I didn’t want to get fired.
Mona had no idea I was part of a monthly reading series called Dirty Old Women, a group of older women who write sexy stories and read them onstage. I got involved after reading an article by a middle-aged romance writer who advised her sister writers to create characters in their twenties, if they wanted to get published. Although I was a tech writer who had never written a sexy story, that pissed me off so much, I swore I would write tales of sexy sixty-year-olds. Then my friend Lynx Canon told me she had started the Dirty Old Women reading event, and off I went.
So when Mona mentioned “companionship,” I decided to write about its polar opposite, the cutting edge of desire. I know what it is to be with lover when a few sutures at the top of your vagina are all that keep your intestines from falling out, and no orgasms are allowed, not yet.
Over the last few weeks, as her body began to heal, he had brought her closer to the edge of orgasm. He paid attention to her face and her body, and learned her responses so well he could make her almost come just by touching her back, and then stop before she made that dangerous leap. He had learned to bring her there slowly and then deny her. She had learned to trust him and yield to him, in long slow evenings of desire never satisfied that came to feel like the most extravagant satisfaction, the first cousin of perpetual orgasm.
from “The Scotsman’s Birthday”
I know how it feels when you risk penetration for the first time, and see his face above you, loving and concerned and full of desire. What it means to hazard everything to be with a man, and to feel him embrace you like the most precious being on earth.
I could not tell Mona at lunch that day, but I wrote the story and read it to an audience that included women her age: women who need to know that our sexual lives continue even when our health makes us vulnerable, and that bliss is our birthright throughout our lives.
It’s been said that older women are invisible in our culture, and there is some truth to that. On the other hand, nothing makes us more visible than laying claim to our passion by writing our stories. Older women’s erotica is a joyous revolution, and I’m proud to be part of it.
There is something incredibly healthy and familiar about what is hidden and mysterious within the ordinary daily life of breakfast, lunch and dinner; the hysterectomy piece, who we are in our bodies in this life, in this neighborhood of scars and desires.
Rene Johns (one of the Dirty Old Women), commenting on “The Scotsman’s Birthday”