Have you heard of this book by my former sociology professor at the UW named Pepper Schwartz? She’s authored several other books but the most relevant ones include Everything You Know about Love and Sex Is Wrong and The Great Sex Weekend. She was the “Sex and Health” columnist for Glamour for seven years and has appeared frequently on national programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline, and Dr. Phil. She is currently the relationship expert for PerfectMatch.com, and sexuality advisor for WebMD.com.
Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years is a collection of findings that draw from Dr. Schwartz’s 30+ years of research encouraging women to embrace fully their sexual appetites. But, it is nothing like The Hite Report: A National Study of Female Sexuality by Shere Hite (BTW, do you think Shere Hite made up that name?).
Schwartz was married when I took her graduate class in Sociology in 1984. The class was entitled Money, Sex and Power (a book—no longer available—she authored with her husband who also taught this class). She divorced after 23 years of marriage and had to start over with that whole dating and negotiating safe-sex thing—something very few straight women felt empowered to do when they were dating a quarter century earlier.
In Prime, Dr. Schwartz offers thick description of her own experiences finding better sex, better romance and much better communication practices (not necessarily in that order). In this particular book, sexual recollections turn into offerings for readers. Unlike Shere Hite, Schwartz doesn’t keep statistics front and center, instead she uses her own experiences PLUS recent polling evidence—about female sexual desires/practices after 40—as a road map to consider no matter what our age.
If you are over 40 and starting from scratch after a few marriages (like me), you’ll get a boost in your imagination and more confidence to know that, this time, you can be bold or at least more likely to speak up for what you want. Too, if you’re curious to explore all your senses, you may find that your libido is stronger than ever before—it’s just a fact of hormonal shifts that work on our behalf.
I wish I had this book to hand my ex-husband’s friend, David (also a professor of philosophy), who warned me, “You’re not getting any younger, Jenn. It won’t be easy to find another mate at your age (40!).” At the time, I just laughed out loud and shook my head. I thought to myself, “Hey David, how’s that male chauvinism thing working for you in your own love life?” Instead, I could have handed him Schwartz’s book and quipped, “David, I’m in my prime and have many awesome adventures ahead and I can’t wait to get started.”
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