She has outlived three husbands, raised seven children, and at 78 is having the best sex of her life. "I feel giddy and overwhelmed. Like a young girl just beginning to discover life, I want to taste everything." She said this to me over the phone yesterday while also reminding me that I need to finish my degree. Why would she care about such a thing? Well, because she's my grandmother.
At an age when we assume most people are concerned with Medicare, anti-wrinkle creams, and what flowers to send to yet another funeral, my grandmother is delighting in the joys of the body. And of course, she is not the only one. A friend's father, at 76, fell head over heels in love with a feisty Polish chef whose wild bedroom charms inspired him to call up his son and announce, "I just had the most intense orgasm of my life."
Many of us like to think that rampant sexuality is a youthful expression -- that a certain amount of physical hotness is necessary to erotic desire. Oh those smooth thighs and firm breasts and lean abs. But like a side of walnuts on your cheese plate, such attributes are nice but not needed.
In my grandmother's case, her sexual awakening has come late largely because of the circumstances that she grew up in. She was 19 years old when she was married to a man she did not love. But it was the 1940s, and marriage was what society expected of her. Her family was poor, so poor that as a teenager she worked cleaning the toilets at the local bar. Her husband, my grandfather, owned a business and a house. That he abandoned her 16 years later for another woman is merely a sad part of a life that seemed forever destined to be dedicated to duty.
Her most recent husband was a good man, also successful, who loved her very much. But her choice to marry him had more to do with stability than with passion. They did have one very saucy moment on a balcony in Rome but one moment does not a sexy marriage make.
And then just last year, recently widowed and whiling away the winter months at her condo in Florida, she fell for a retired army officer. Of him she says, "He has inspired feelings in me I never knew existed. I am in love for the first time in my life." Even while apart, he calles her every day, sends her flowers, bathes her in compliments, and pursues her with the eager intensity of a besotted lothario.
I am profoundly happy for her. However, other members of the family are not quite so supportive. They are rather offended by this new development. For many, accepting that our parents have sex can be difficult -- let alone imagining our grandparents in the throes of ecstasy. How prejudiced indeed are the young toward aging.
But it's time to get over it and grow the hell up already. Especially because I hope that as I hit those twilight years that I too will be having a glorious time in the sack with a person who sees not my sags but instead whatever echo of beauty still remains. I hope. I hope.
Such tingle-worthy partners, whether you are 30 or 80, can be hard to come by. So for those who want the good time but haven't been fortunate enough to be bitten by the love bug, get thee to Germany. Pascha, the largest brothel in Cologne offers a 50 percent discount to folks over 66 years old. There are time limits, as the offer is valid only between noon and 5 p.m., but still that sounds a heck of a lot more fun than bingo. Cheers to it never being too late.
The Sweet Spot is a blog column about alternative sexuality by Ginger Murray who is also the editor of Whore! magazine. Check back next week for more.