Sex Through the Years: The Fascinating Ways Desire Changes Through a Lifetime
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Self-acceptance is the main issue that people bring to Ellis regarding the changes in their sexuality. He says, “Whether their concern pertains to sexual orientation, frequency of masturbation, premarital sex, or use of pornography (to name just a few), many people come to me with a sense of internalized shame about their desires and behaviors. In these cases, I help them sort out the influences that have shaped their sexual values and beliefs. The work becomes about building a new vision of sexual health that allows the freedom to make choices that incorporate their core values with new sexual knowledge and insight. “
While there are many people who turn to professionals like Jaiya and Thomas Ellis when changes in sexuality become concerns, others embrace the changes on their own and end up reinventing themselves. Seventy-five-year-old Hattie RetroAge is a prime example of how, in her words “You never know what you’re going to do.”
Hattie divorced her husband after 25 years of marriage -- not a development she saw coming. After dating men her age for a while and not being especially happy with the results, Hattie won the Roseland Ballroom’s Over-50 Beauty Contest and found herself getting a lot of media attention.
“All of a sudden I’m a sex symbol at 52!” she says. It was after this that she decided to do some rather spectacular math.
“I said I’m just going to subtract 25 years of marriage as if it didn’t happen. Then I’m going to date men that are 35. That makes them older than me!” Behold: the birth of a cougar.
Hattie even appeared on TLC’s "Strange Sex: Cougars and Cubs ," where she talks about having three dates a day. Her husband was 50 when they divorced and he remains the oldest man she’s has ever slept with. She happily talks about the fun she’s had in her cougar phase, but she’s also refreshingly truthful about its pitfalls -- you have to be honest about your negative feelings, she says, or you will never become free of them
Interestingly, having conquered cougardom, Hattie’s sexual nature is changing once again. Having tired of the buzz of activity that goes with dating younger men, she’s more focused on work, and says, “I really want that one person again and I will forego all the gratifications along the way."
A final word of advice from Hattie on how to handle changes in sexuality: “Find actions you can take that make you cherish yourself like you’d cherish another person…for being kind, for being sweet, for being loving. Then you radiate the beauty of the being you endeavor to become.”