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Silver Desire: How an Erotic Anthology for the Older Reader was Born

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Since I spent most of my adult life working on top-shelf magazines and reviewing fetish clubs, I found it quite easy to be comfortable in my own skin. I never feared aging, as my appearance had never been my main selling point.

Even when I was younger, I believed that the fact that I was ‘interesting’ would last me for a lifetime whereas all the food-refusing, poking and prodding, expensive shopping and constant self-policing in the world would not stop me getting older. I was used to seeing a range of bodies – various ages as well as various shapes and sizes – presented as sexual and desirable, far more so than if I had only had my reflection in the mirror and the mainstream media to go to for images of what is attractive. Having come to the conclusion – before I did too much damage to myself or anyone else – that long term monogamy was not for me, I had a lot of sex with a lot of people, and initially saw no reason why that should ever stop happening. I was going to be a goodtime bad girl forever…

Of course, things changed. Belated parenthood, the steady demise of the porn magazine and then the hormonal upheavals that get us all to some extent or another – meant that I eventually did get to a stage where I had started to regard the sexy stage of my life as having come to an end. I consoled myself with the fact that I’d probably had more fun than a lot of people, and cast about for something else to think about. It didn’t really work, but it turned out that it didn’t need to. silver-desire

EL James is someone I would definitely buy a pint for, if I met her, as she was probably the single biggest factor in what I regard as my erotic resurrection. No, I didn’t read the wretched books and have no intention of doing so, but the 50 Shades phenomenon meant the market for erotic fiction was suddenly wide open again. That was great news for me. Also, the guidelines for erotica seemed a little less rigid than they had been. It was okay to write about dominant women and bisexuality. I even got away with creating a mature-ish female protagonist for my novel Black Heart. She was 39 rather than a pensioner, but no one asked me to change the story and make her the usual unawakened 20-year-old. Subsequently, I met a younger man who demonstrated very convincingly that I was still, at 50, desirable.

In the course of one of those Facebook discussions that go on between authors, the subject of erotic fiction about older people arose. No editor wants stories about elderly protagonists, it was said. You can’t sell older women as sexy. Sexy werewolves, sure, sexy vampires, any time, m/m romances for a female audience, lots of those. Bloody billionaires and hysterical historicals, yeah, fine. Older women? Granny grabbing, tomb raiding, coffin-boffing? Eww, no thanks.

Sod it, I thought, time this was altered.

I already knew about Sexy Little Pages, a new erotica publisher willing to work with anyone who had an interesting idea, so one quick email exchange later, Silver Desire was conceived. I put out a call to every writer I knew: send me a story, which focuses on a woman aged 50, or older, having a sexual encounter. I got a magnificent response (give or take a few cookie-cutter Mrs Robinsoneque tales that were politely returned) and pulled together the ten stories, which make up the anthology. Yes, some are a little more bittersweet and elegiac than is usual in erotic fiction, but there’s plenty of brazen, bawdy joy in there as well. And, having recently appeared in a proper porn film for the first time at the age of 51, I feel safe in rejecting the idea that the future holds nothing for me but knitting, nice cups of tea and the occasional totter round a garden centre. and checkout where you can buy and make sure you click the ‘add to Goodreads’ link!

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Bolder champions people over 70 who are redefining what it means to be old.

Read the full story here: Bolder

A tribute to female flâneurs: the women who reclaimed our city streets | Cities | The Guardian

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The flâneur – the keen-eyed stroller who chronicles the minutiae of city life – has long been seen as a man’s role. From Virginia Woolf to Martha Gellhorn, it’s time we recognised the vital, transgressive work of the flâneuse

Read the full story here: A tribute to female flâneurs: the women who reclaimed our city streets | Cities | The Guardian

Reflections on Turning 50

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Rebecca Lowrie, The Sexual Alchemist, reflects on turning 50 and what that means for the next 50 years.

What were you doing on New Year’s Eve this year? Partying, spending time with family, reflecting on the past year and thinking about your year ahead?

I was celebrating my 50th birthday.

You could say I was equally ready and thrilled and also a little bit shocked. I mean,50!

Sounds so old in some ways and yet I feel like I’m just warming up! There’s so much I still want to accomplish and do and create and experience.

Just Getting Started

It fascinates me and gives me hope that great people such as Louise Hay and Steven Covey didn’t start their life’s work until later in their 50’s.

I often get emails from men saying, I’m having this or that problem, and I’m in my 50’s, so it’s probably my age.

No! It’s usually nothing to do with your age! There are plenty of people our age who are perfectly healthy with great sex lives.

Whatever it is, it’s more likely down to the culmination of your conditioning, thoughts, habits and beliefs. I can help you clear, heal and transform those!

Maybe if we believe that we go downhill with age, that’s what we create.

I choose to believe that I’m going to age like a fine wine or a smelly cheese – the older the better!

I feel excited and energised about turning 50. I feel like now I can really focus in on making a difference in the world. I know myself so much better now than I ever did when I was younger.

Dr John Demartini 50

In May of 2015 I did a workshop with Dr John Demartini. He asked us what our 100-year goal was. What legacy did we want to leave? How did we want the world to be different because we were in it?

That question has stayed with me ever since. It’s such a big question! Why aren’t we asked that when we’re younger and looking for direction and purpose?

I don’t think I have a complete answer to it yet, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

My 100 Year Goals

  • In 100 years’ time, when I’ve been dead for about 50 years (I’m planning to live to 100!), I would like humanity to have evolved beyond fear, shame and guilt around sexuality.
  • I would like the majority of the population to feel liberated and free to own, enjoy, celebrate and fully embrace their sexual nature, their sexual selves.
  • I would like humanity to have a much deeper understanding and experience of sexual energy and of their own true power.
  • I would like there to be a much deeper understanding of how our sexual energy is meant for so much more than the sex we currently know and I would like to have obliterated the limited belief for many that sex = penetration.
  • I would like humanity to be living much more authentically as a whole, in harmony and balance with the self, each other, nature, animals, the stars the planets and to understand how their sexual energy plays a crucial role in that.
  • I would like humanity to understand, fully and deeply, that we must own and accept all of who we are, our light and our dark, our hero and our villain, our sinner and our saint  in order to live our truth, in order to be really present and authentic, in order to create nourishing relationships.
  • Ultimately, I would like to have done my part to help heal what I believe is the greatest human wound, the ‘I’m not enough’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ wound. 50Mistakes And Wisdom

Thankfully, if I’m going to live to 100, I have another 50 years to create and leave my legacy. In some ways it doesn’t feel like nearly enough time. I mentioned that to a friend recently. She pointed out that 50 years ago it was illegal to be gay in many countries and states and now, in many places, we have marriage equality finally blossoming.

So if I have another 50 years, that means I have my whole life to live over again! Only this time I have the added advantage of having already made a whole bunch of mistakes. This time I can avoid those particular mistakes and make some brand new ones. Hopefully that will help me learn quicker. Also, I don’t have the same fear of mistakes and failure as I used to.

Since I’m starting this part of my life with some experience and wisdom under my belt, I can make different choices moving forward. I can make choices that nurture my soul instead of hurt or squash it. I can be more conscious about who I hang around with, what I eat and how I spend my time.

I am so grateful for the glorious, messy, wonderful, painful and very rich 50 years I’ve already had, and I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years bring.

A Paean to Raving at 53

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Seven years ago I acquired a pair of Caterpillar biker boots, not my usual form of footwear, being more your-trainers-(or in various muddy fields over the years, wellingtons)-kind-of-girl. These stylish and oh-so-comfortable, magic boots have been the caretakers of my dancing feet at every club, festival and rave I’ve attended since. I think I shall cry when they wear out.

I’m one of the world’s oldest ravers and I’m still raving. I consider it a radical act of defiance against the fear machine that promotes hard work until retirement, after which you’re expected to tip-toe quietly towards death. Dancing, especially the kind of trance-dance that sends you into an ecstatic state of Oneness, is an activity that keeps me looking, feeling and most importantly thinking young. I’m happy to reveal my age when asked. In fact, every time a spring chicken bounces over to me at a ridiculously late hour and shouts over the pounding sub; “How old ARE you?!” and I scream back, “Fifty three!”, I feel a frisson of pride.

The only difference between me and the youngsters that I find myself clubbing with – is that I’m wearing earplugs and they’re generally not. Okay, to be fair, there are a couple of other differences; in order to prepare for a night of jumping up and down in mad abandon, I make sure I’ve had a nap and eaten a solid meal. I don’t remember making sensible plans ahead of time when I was in my youth. One of the luxuries of raving in your early twenties is the permission to be in the Now, think Fuck It, pop another pill and not worry too much about recovery time. At that age most people are still relatively free of roles and responsibilities. After years of forging a career out in the ‘real’ world, becoming mortgage-laden, raising kids, it’s easy to fall into the trap of designing your days around TO DO lists rather than letting life spontaneously happen. This week I’m actually retiring from my career of the last fifteen years, and am determined to get back there – to the intoxicating freedom of dancing all night with no anxiety around potentially being tired the following day and thus not able to cope with the schedule.

Fuck the schedule.

My kids have both left home. I consider it a job well done. I’ve conscientiously worked for a living since I was in my teens. I’ve filed my tax returns and been through the menopause. The only major project I have going right now is cutting myself free from the ties that bind, abandoning those ‘roles’, and setting off to find a place to be in the world where I can dance to my heart’s content.

When it comes to dancing, it appears I’ve tapped into a source of boundless energy. If you see me out there, water bottle in hand, looking like all the ecstasy-fuelled revellers swirling around me with dilated pupils, it’s more than likely I’m going all night on a chai latte. And when they start to flag, I begin to surf my second or third wave of energy and dance till dawn.

I’m not a fan of alcohol for two reasons a) it brings out the worst in people and b) it renders one incapable of dancing all night. Being a responsible adult living in a country where any drug that makes people happy, in love, or free-thinking, is made illegal, I’m not about to condone the use of class A drugs, am I? Having said that, I completely understand the desire to get out of your head. In my humble opinion, most human beings I meet could well do with some form of radical, mind-altering experience, but these days I do just as well getting high on everybody else’s high. Mainly, it’s the music and the tribal experience that sends me into an altered state of cosmic expansion.

I started raving in 1983 when I joined about 50,000 other people at Glastonbury festival. I adore the thrill of the large party, everyone in love and loving it. The invention of Ecstasy did wonders for the raising of human consciousness. It is an intelligent substance. Ecstasy opened people’s hearts and brought them together. Furthermore, it got blokes dancing! This is a radical difference between my generation and my kids’ one. They seem to be born with rhythm. Like Africans, they speak the language of complex cadence. Rhythm courses through them, the guys as cool on the dance floor as the girls.

My sons got their love of music through me. I’m eclectic in my taste and my stereo was played at full volume through both pregnancies. The oldest went to Leeds University, the youngest followed four years later. Both left in their second year to become professional deejays and I was actively proud. These days deejaying is a true art form and my sons are highly skilled. I’ve danced to many of their sets in clubs and at festivals and nothing gives me more joy than seeing my boys doing what they love: working a crowd.

There are close to a thousand music festivals in England every summer. Not bad for a country that sees more rain than most. The one festival I make sure I attend every season without fail is called Give and it’s a classy knees-up for ravers of my age group. We get together once a year, leave our smartphones in the car, unplug for a weekend, and go mental. Sadly I’m going to miss it this year as I’m heading off to Denmark on a silent retreat. I had one chance to get to a festival before leaving, and last week I was lucky enough to be welcomed as a guest of honour at Virgo in Devon, a thank you for producing two of their acts. My oldest son Liam’s band, Desert Sound Colony was playing live and Reuben, his brother was booked for a disco set in the rose garden during the afternoon. Eight hundred kids in their twenties, and I (the only ‘mature’ person apart from the owners of the house) met in the grounds of a stately home and rocked the valley through the May bank holiday weekend. The sun shone, the music was perfect and much dancing was done by all. Some of the folk in the drum ‘n’ bass room might have been a tad surprised at 4am to find a decidedly middle-aged woman, throwing herself about like a maniac in front of the mammoth speakers, but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound…

On Sunday afternoon, while the sun was setting, and I chilled on the banks of the lake with a yogic, spiritually-aware guy who resembled Jesus, I looked around and realised that a bunch of young deejays and their mates, most of them not long out of university had got this extraordinary event together themselves. They hadn’t sat around talking about how great it would be to create a boutique festival of their very own – inspired by the music they’re passionate about – they’d actually made it happen! People who know how to throw a good party are my kind of people.

I have actually pictured my own death. It’s more like an ascension really. It happens on a dance floor, my last breath exhaled at the point of a particularly good drop in the middle of a brilliant set played back to back by the boys. And as I breathe out, throwing my best shapes ever, I vanish in a puff of stage smoke, never to be seen again.

Dame Helen Mirren: ‘I love no longer being a sex symbol’

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In the grand tradition of great British stars, Dame Helen Mirren has always been a rule-breaker. She married late, never had children, broke Hollywood in her 50s and is, at 70, a bona-fide global icon, happy to reveal that her beauty secrets fly in the face of everything your mother ever told you.

‘I have absolutely no beauty regime,’ she says in that perfectly modulated, husky voice. ‘I sunbathe – I know I shouldn’t but I love sitting in the sun. I drink wine and occasionally I’ll drink to excess. I eat French fries. I’ve never managed to go to the gym for longer than two months. I always forget to take my vitamins.

Read the full story here: Dame Helen Mirren: ‘I love no longer being a sex symbol’

Suzanne’s View from the Hot Tub

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You never know what or who to expect when the ladies of the hot tub get together. It’s a rotating feast of taste and opinions. There are always laughs. Laughing is a must. I read somewhere that laughing can burn as much as 40 calories every 15 minutes. If that’s to be believed, each Lady of the Hot Tub must burn off at least 300 calories during our time together or roughly three glasses of wine. It’s the best and most enjoyable workout there is.

Despite the rotating cast of colourful women that pass through the tub each month, some aspects never change. There is always alcohol. Alperol spritzers if I’m feeling flush, a bottle or two of wine, some prosecco perhaps. Hummus is a regular feature. The first few times we all met, I would whip up a large bowl full, the recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver. Last night it came from Tesco, along with a few other spreads. Ingrid can always be relied on to bring a selection of Sainsbury’s Finest nibbles and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange… or two.

A few weeks ago I ran into my neighbor, a lovely woman in her late 70’s who has lived on my street since the War. “You know,” she said, “I can hear everything you say in the hot tub. You’re lucky that I won’t tell a soul.” She smiled. “I know,” I said. I like to imagine her laughing along with us in her sitting room, having a chuckle while listening to our raucous conversations.

I look forward to our monthly soirees in the hot tub like no other night in my calendar. Tonight it was the perfect gathering of women of a certain age. There was me, Kavida – a real tantric goddess, Ingrid – the Queen of Complaints and Rose, this site’s co-founder, Editor and a goddess in her own right. We are all goddesses, each with our own character and wisdom. If you ever want to observe a group of women in their natural habitat, stick them in a pool of bubbling hot water and watch what happens.

Tonight there was no shortage of stories. Despite not knowing each other for more than a couple of years or at all, we have a shared history. That’s just one of the advantages of age. If you’ve lived in London for long enough and are 40+, you can always find a connection, no matter how tenuous. Clubs we frequented when younger. The same creepy men we couldn’t shake off. Our kids that knew their kids or someone else’s kids we both knew. In the hot tub, I have come to understand how small my world really is and how I am, in one way or another, closely linked to a small community of like-minded people.

In the hot tub, we make plans. We have ideas. We want to take a trip to Havana and dance salsa with sexy Cuban men for a week or two. Maybe we’ll do it as an Advantages of Age group tour. We discuss the power of dance. The way a good dancer can force you into a rhythm for which you may not have a natural feel. We discuss submission and domination and why is it that controlling women (like ourselves) just want to be told what to do (in bed). We rarely talk about our work. That’s just something that we do. We talk about previous partners or current ones, about fantasies. Oh, and would Ingrid take a picture of Kavida’s nipple because she loves her nipples (and who wouldn’t?). There is a natural flow to our conversation. The talking never stops, except when a glass of wine needs to be refilled.

After 3 or 4 hours, rarely less, we leave the tub. Skin like prunes, satiated by good conversation, food and drink, the women put back on their clothes and head back home. I think how lucky I am to have such fabulous friends. I fall into a deep sleep – the perfect end to another perfect Ladies of the Hot Tub night.

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