What You Should Know About Sex — According To 6 Older Women

Photographed by Matt Crump.
Our news feeds (including, admittedly, this site) are riddled with think-pieces on the love and sex lives of the 18-to-45 set if we’re being generous, and the 18-to-30 set if we’re being honest. Our mothers and grandmothers pioneered the sexual revolution, but now we, their collective daughters, actually have very little idea of what they struggle with and what they delight in when it comes to sex and relationships. We don't really know what to expect from our bodies or libidos as we age.

As a married woman approaching her mid-30s, I have a lot of questions. Will I still be having sex when I’m 75? Beyond that, will I still enjoy it? What will it be like? What if I get divorced? What is the dating landscape like for a septuagenarian? What do I have to look forward to, and what should I be aware of as I get older?

In an effort to answer some of these questions, we tracked down six delightful women between the ages of 62 and 79 who were willing to speak about their sexuality and how it has changed and progressed over time. Gay, straight, trans, black, white, single, married — they have all lived vastly different lives. But they seem to agree on one thing: Sex doesn't have to stop just because you get older. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

We conducted the interviews ahead over the course of several months, culminating with an original shoot in Los Angeles. Click through to hear what these incredible women had to say, and stick around until the end to see them in a video that's so good, it might break the internet. This piece is as much for those under 60 as it is for those above. Because the future of your sex life doesn't have to be a question mark.
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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Diane "Pinky" Harman, 65
Awarded the moniker “Pinky” because she always wears the color pink (and because Queen Latifah bestowed it upon her during a "Rap It Up" segment on her talk show), Pinky taught English in the L.A. unified school district for 32 years. Now 65, she still finds time to regularly upload hip-hop dance videos to YouTube.

Please let me know if you’re uncomfortable with any of my questions.
"You can ask me anything, I am a blank slate when it comes to sex. I LOVE it! Oops! I shouldn’t say that so loud."

Has sex changed for you as you've aged?
"When I was younger, I loved sex. I still do today. But it’s changed today because my husband has multiple sclerosis. We do things, but it’s not like it used to be because of the disease progression. He was diagnosed a week before our wedding 15 years ago.

"It’s my second marriage. The first marriage lasted 10 years, and then I divorced him. I divorced him for many reasons. He wasn’t abusive physically, he was just emotionally abusive, and I didn’t want it anymore. We were married a little less than 10 years. I was 27, 28 when I married him."

Sex has changed a lot in the past few decades. What was your early experience with it, culturally speaking?
"My parents were very protective. Jewish. And protective. I didn’t have my first sexual relation until I was in college — until, maybe, the second year in college. Because my parents said, 'Don’t have sex; you’ll get pregnant.' I can hear them to this day. I wished I would have. Even when I married my first husband, I was still careful because of what my mother said. I wish she wouldn't have told me that, it restricted me too much. But now I’m older and I can do what I want!"



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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Diane "Pinky" Harman, 65 (Continued)

What advice would you give your younger self about love or sex?
"I would say to be open, and willing to experiment. Willing to enjoy your body, enjoy his body, explore what you like, explore what he likes. A lot of communication is important. Don’t worry about things you can’t control, because it’s a waste of time.

"Everybody worries when they’re younger, but when you’re older, you look back and think, why did I worry so much about that? It wasn’t important. Like, I wish that boy would ask me out, he’s so cute — and he never calls you, and you’re so upset, you’re by the phone waiting for it to ring. Oh forget that — it’s a waste of time! Just go on. You have to be with somebody who cares for you deeply. And then sexual relation comes when you care about each other. It’s another form of communication."

How has your understanding of your body changed over time?
"I really like sex more as I get older. When you first have sex, when you’re a virgin, you really don’t know much. You just don’t know. You gain more experience the older you get. You age like a good wine. As you get older, you know more. You communicate with your partner more, I like this, you like this…it’s much better.

"I like to look at the 28-to-32 age [range of] men…I call it 'exercising my eyes.' My husband knows, god bless his soul. But I like to look!"

Wow, just a four-year window, huh?
"I like ‘em young, because I tell ya, I like ‘em straight-up, sunny-side up! I don’t like the Titanic going down. And I don’t like men who take Viagra. It takes too long! I had an older man once who took eight pills of Viagra, you know what he did? Fell asleep. Embarrassing."


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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Diane "Pinky" Harman, 65 (Continued)

Where does your energy come from?
"I don’t know, I’ve always had it! I’m in a 65-year-old’s body, but my mind is still in the 20s. I have rhythm."

"You can be 16, 20, or you can be 90. I’ve heard of people having relations in their 90s. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s the person; it’s not the age."

What three adjectives would you use to describe your sex life in your 20s and 30s?
"Excitement, anticipation, heart beating fast."

And now?
"My 60s are more free. Free, open, flexible. Free of judgment."
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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Phyllis Rosechild, 72
Phyllis went from realizing that she was attracted to women while in the nascent stages of a young heterosexual marriage to becoming one of the first members of the Lesbian Sex Mafia and a regular in the BDSM scene. She has been with her current partner for 21 years.

How did the women's movement and the sexual revolution affect your life?
"The women’s movement started, and we were doing nontraditional jobs, and we were feeling oppression from the patriarchy, and it totally almost destroyed me. I couldn’t get past it. I hated every man because even if he wasn’t keeping me down directly, by not speaking up he was also complicit.

"I was working in a warehouse, using heavy equipment, cutting 8-inch plate aluminum. The supervisor would come up to me and say, 'You know what I think about women working?' — while I’m sitting on a forklift. One time, I looked at him and said, 'You know what, Jack? I don’t give a shit what you think.' He’d always say to me, 'I think you should be home, barefoot and pregnant.' But that was everybody’s attitude! Every single man, no matter how liberal you thought he was, really thought that. And it wasn’t that they were horrible people; it was that that’s what the society was teaching."

Did that influence the way you viewed your sexuality?
"Somehow I knew that I had always had feelings towards women. But I didn’t have a word for it. and I didn’t have a lifestyle for it. There were absolutely no role models — all I knew was male and female, and I thought that’s the way I was supposed to fit into that."




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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Phyllis Rosechild, 72 (Continued)

What was your experience of coming out while married to a man?
"
When I told my husband, 'I’m leaving,' he said, 'Don’t go — you can stay, and go do what you want to do. Just come home to me.' And I was like, 'I can’t do that to you, and I can’t do that to me.' So I didn’t."

How has your sex life changed as you've aged?
"My sex drive [since my mid-60s] is much lower. I met my partner at 51, and that certainly wasn’t a period of low sex drive. But what I’ve found, what’s more important to me, is to have the relationship that I have with her. No matter what, I know she’s going to be there. I know there will be someone to defend me, to take care of whatever it is if I can’t do it. And who will make the right decision. It’s incredible, because basically you’re you, and you’re alone, and nobody really cares about you the way you care about you. But she does. She actually does."

If you could give your younger self sex advice, what would it be?
"I always felt that if it felt good to me, I was going to do it. I never felt inhibited about anything I’ve done. Nor am I ashamed of anything I’ve done."

Have you experienced any physical issues related to your sexuality as you've aged?
"I had dryness issues, but I went to the urologist and I got some estrogen, so I do that twice a week. It’s supposed to help with that, and it has. I’m amazed. So now it lubricates itself. Because really it does get dry, and it’s all after menopause. You have to be very, very active. And this is very good for you to know! Because no one ever told me!"

What three adjectives would you use to describe your sex life in your 20s and 30s?
"Wild. Uninhibited. Plentiful."

And now?
"Comfortable. Exciting. Loving."
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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Janet March, 70
Janet is a divorced mother of three who worked in property management for more than 25 years before transitioning to a career in garden nurseries in her late 60s. She met her current boyfriend 15 years ago, and they’ve been blissfully ensconced ever since.

What was your romantic life like after your divorce?
"My children's father and I divorced in 1986...I dated quite a lot, I had a few long-term relationships, like two years, but not living together, just dating, and I always wanted to remarry. There was no question about it, I loved being married and being at home, and also having my kids around me. But I just allowed things to happen, and I met my current boyfriend [15 years ago]. He was the manager of my office. Somehow we got together, and we’re still together now. We live together."

Is he your age?
"He’s two years younger than me, and we laugh and say that I robbed the cradle."

Do you plan to get married again?
"I think we’ll continue living together. I don’t think marriage means a lot to him. He was very badly burned by his divorce and just doesn’t want to be in that situation again, so I’m honoring his decision. But I don’t like it; I tell him often that I really want to be married. But I also tell him, 'If you ask me now, I’ll say no, because it’s my idea, not yours.'"

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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Janet March, 70 (Continued)

What advice would you give your younger self about dating?
"I would tell myself to not be so concerned if the man likes you; [what's important is] if you like him. And of course, value your self-worth. Be true to yourself in that way. And then the kind of men that you really want to be with, I believe, will follow.

"Oh, and enough with, Am I dressed okay? He doesn’t care!"

What about sex advice?
"You are not there for him; you’re there for the both of you together. Relax, enjoy it, stay in the moment. It’s for you as well as for him."

What’s different about sex for you now?
"As I matured, I realized that sex really never stops, and I realized that I will have it. It’s so comfortable!"

Have you experienced any physical sexual issues as you've aged?
"I’m getting drier, and sometimes it’s painful. But that’s fixable — my gynecologist put me on Premarin cream, and that solves it. I should apply it every day, but I don’t, because I’m lazy. But it works; it gives your vagina the chemicals it needs."

Has your relationship been affected by any erectile issues?
"Not really, no! It is good. He can stay hard a long time. Sometimes I have to say 'come already!' You know? That’s enough!"

Would you say that orgasms feel different at this point in your life?
"Yeah, I actually feel them and know how to recognize them. That took a long, long, long, time. I don’t think I learned about that until my late 40s — what it really feels like. I thought I had them before, but I guess I really didn’t. And it’s all about relaxing and realizing your self-worth and not being [solely] concerned about whether he’s having a good sexual experience."


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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Janet March, 70 (Continued)

Are you more sexually adventurous now than when you were younger? Do you use toys?
"Yeah, we use toys. But I didn't [when I was married]. The whole thought of all of that, and going to one of those sex shops — I guess I was just very shy and naïve. It turned me off, really, I was just embarrassed. But getting older, I was open."

How has your perception and understanding of your body changed over time?
"I [now] wish I had the body I used to hate, you know what I mean? That’s depressing, to look in the mirror. Gravity has taken over. So, oh well, you just gotta go along with it! As for my understanding of it: I was actually very precocious as a child, and if my mother knew what I was doing with a mirror in the bathroom, I just don’t know what would happen. I’ve been pretty much aware my whole life."

What three adjectives would you use to describe your sex life in your 20s and 30s?
"My sex life when I was younger, which would be with my ex-husband, was: demanding, self-centered (for him), and daily (constant)."

And now?

"Warm, soft, exciting."
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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Beverly Winters, 68
Widowed at 21, with a toddler and sick mother to take care of, Beverly struggled with alcoholism. Because being openly gay in Dallas in the mid-‘60s wasn’t an option for her, it wasn’t until she moved to California in the ‘70s that she finally felt free to be who she is. She has worked as a postal employee for 35 years, and has been sober since 1981.

Did you always know you were gay?
"I realize now when I look back, when I was about 9 years old, I was a little gay girl. [Laughs] What we call today a lesbian! I fell in love with one of my friend’s oldest sisters; she was a model for Ebony magazine.

"Most of the girls that I had a crush on [growing up], there was nothing really reciprocal about any of that, it was just the idea that I had, and being down in Texas and not knowing anything about any gay or lesbian scene or anything, you just had your ideas and you kept them to yourself."

How did you wind up married to a man?
"The marriage came when I was around 19. I was a young alcoholic. We had sex, and I got pregnant when I was 18, just out of high school. My son was born when I was 19, and my husband went into the service, and he passed away in an auto accident, and so that was the end of that."

Did your husband know that you were gay?
"No, he didn’t know. We both had some secrets, I found out, after he passed. He had something else going on. It was just me and my son after that. People wanted to get married then, and because I was pregnant, I got married. Since I was going to take care of my son myself, that’s what I did. You know, [now] you sit down and have a talk with your parents and stuff; I wasn't in that kind of position in my family. My mother was ill mentally, and my father was gone, and so I just took care of the family and did what I did for me."


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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Beverly Winters, 68 (Continued)

Do you date now?
"
Oh yes, my darling! I’ve had maybe five or six girlfriends since breaking up with my ex, but, oh, I love to date, I’m always going out on dates."

How do you meet the women you date?
"I meet ‘em up at the LGBT center, through friends, going through different seminars, and parties, and dances…and different classes. I like to get out and be among people most of the time. I’ve been going to ballroom dancing class for three years."

What advice would you give your younger self about sex or romance when you’re older?
"I think I would say to her: 'Be cautious. Be safe. No matter what you’re doing — gay, straight or otherwise — be safe in your sexual encounters. And although you get the hots, think about it first.'

"Up until this moment, I am sexually active. I enjoy sex. And to me it’s a gift from god, to be a sexual human being. If done with clarity and a sense of not giving up who you are to get somebody. Be honest with yourself and the person you’re with. And ask for what you want, and if you don’t get it, you have to weigh out whether you want to be with this person for other reasons or not. But I’ve learned that I am a sexual individual, active, so if I meet someone that’s not, that would be a red flag for me… I want to have a mate! It’s a glorious experience!"

How has sex changed for you as you've aged?
"Just because you’re aging does not mean that you have stopped wanting and having sex. It just gets better! With my encounter with another woman, I know to pay attention to her and not be this macho woman. Even if you’re good, each woman has a different way of getting excited and having a climax. So as I’ve grown, I’ve grown to know that just because I’m good with one person doesn’t mean I’m necessarily good with another person. It has to be something you talk about.

"I had to learn what is it that pleased the individual, and different women like different kinds of things. My first experience fisting, I didn’t really understand what that was, but I found out. That, to me, would be painful, but it wasn’t to them! They liked it.

"My sex life is always gonna be great. [Laughs] I’m gonna make it so!"
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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Jackie Cole, 79
Jackie has been married three times, but has been single for much of her 70s. She didn’t have her first orgasm until she was 30 years old, but says she taught herself to squirt in her mid-70s. We can all learn a lot from Jackie.

How much better is your understanding of your body and sexuality at this point in your life?
"In my 30s I was pretty horny. As far as having a male partner, that was very important. And I was very sexual. I loved having sex and I loved men. But as I evolved into now being single…it’s nice to be able to explore my body and make all the noise I want, or [express] bodily functions without being embarrassed, because it’s only me!

"I’m learning a great deal about my body and my [sexuality]. I really like to be alone, by myself, learning how my body responds to my touch. I really like it better on my own, without a partner. I’ve had plenty of partners, so I’m finding I don’t miss that sex. I think the only thing I miss is companionship.

"Usually, if I’ve had a few drinks, then I’ll come home, and then I can turn myself on. But I do a lot of exploring. I really have fallen in love with myself, and who I am. And I take care of myself. In every way!"

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Photographed by Matt Crump.
Jackie Cole, 79 (Continued)

Have you tried online dating at all?
"I did one time, and that was more than 10 years ago. I hated it. I’m just over men. I like men — as long as they belong to somebody else!

"I’m an independent woman, [but I tend to] pick men who are like puppy dogs. Very clingy... There’s nothing wrong with a puppy dog if that’s what you both like. But if you’re not that kind, then it’s not going to work. And it never did for me.

"Dating men is like a job, and I’m not interested in that job. If I happen to meet somebody, I’m open to the possibility that something could happen. I know too many women who are just desperate because they feel like their life is empty. And I don’t feel that way at all. I have so much love in my life. I have a great family. I have probably the most amazing friends that anyone could have. I’m pretty content. Not content enough to die, but content!"

What advice would you give your younger self about sex?
"I would say that sex is not the most important part of the relationship. There’s so much to a relationship, and when sex is the most important thing, then everything is out of balance. I’d tell myself to be more honest. Learn how to communicate more. I don’t think I knew how to do that very well. And I would tell myself not to blame someone else if I’m unhappy, because it’s really me. I know that now. We always want to blame the other person for our happiness, but it’s up to me to make myself happy."

What three adjectives would you use to describe your sex life in your 20s and 30s?
"Sexy, fearless, horny."

And now?
"Body-wise, pleasurable, selective."
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Photographed by Matt Crump.
SheAh Prince Eternal, 62
SheAh is a life coach who leads a course at the Los Angeles LGBT Center called Silver Sensuality, in which women over 60 meet weekly to discuss reclaiming their sexuality. SheAh identifies as trans, female-to-male, and non-op.*

How has sex changed for you as you’ve aged?
"
I am here for me. I know how to bring myself back into alignment with what feels good for me. My happiness is not dependent on anybody outside of myself… The joy of being the age I am now [is that] I’ve moved past a lot of pain, and things that used to matter don’t matter. Now, I’m in what some people would call a very selfish state of mind, where I make me happy.

"It took several years to get to that point because the world teaches us a whole other thing: You’re supposed to think about others and not yourself… But when you do that, you mess your own self up a lot! You can’t make anybody else happy. They can only make themselves happy, and the greatest relationship between two people is when each person is happy within their own self, and then you come together and share a journey."

How much better is your understanding of your body now?
"I love my female body. [As a non-op trans person], there’s no category for me. I’m in the process of making one up. I feel like a boy in a girl's body. Which puts me in the identification of more of a trans than a lesbian, but at the same time, I don’t want an operation. It’s almost like I don’t fit anywhere, gender-wise, because I am more butch, definitely, but at the same time I’m soft. I’m not hard or macho; I’m sensitive. I give flowers, and I like to receive flowers. And I’m very sensitive to any woman I’m involved with in terms of what she’s feeling, and giving her an opportunity to talk to me, and I talk to her. And if I’m vulnerable, I’m not afraid to cry.

"Right now, I’m going through a transition with my body, but it’s a great understanding because I really love my body now. Sometimes my stomach is fatter than other times, and I look in the mirror and I say, You’re so cute. Hey sexy. The desire has not waned. I love, love, love to have sex. I have sex as often as possible. Sometimes marathons! It’s amazing to be the so-called age that I am and experiencing this sexuality."


*Editor's Note: Although SheAh has begun to identify as male, we have used the designation of "women" throughout this piece to refer to the collective female experience described herein, and we do so with SheAh's explicit permission.



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Photographed by Matt Crump.
SheAh Prince Eternal, 62 (Continued)

Would you say orgasms feel different as you’ve grown older?
"I would say yes. There was a period where I completely denied my body because I was not okay with being gay, because I was still judging myself as being wrong.

"But now, I’m experiencing the greatest sex in the world! The end of sexuality is not inevitable!

"My climaxes have changed somewhat, because when I was younger, or until recently, I didn’t need any penetration for really good orgasms. I didn’t need it! Now, I really like it. And I think it may be kind of confusing to some of the women that I have sex with, because I’m so male inside. I am totally having an orgasm, just by giving them an orgasm and making love to them. And some women have told me it’s magical; they feel a penis. I love that about my orgasms now."

How many orgasms are we talking about?
"When my girlfriend and I have marathon sex sessions, I would say up to 10 orgasms."

Do you use toys and instruments?
"A lot of the time I experiment with my body to see what I’ll do with a woman. Not only do we have G-spots, but we have a perineal gland, which is the second G-spot. I made myself into a contortionist and I stimulated my clitoris and then I put something in my yoni and then I put something in my butt at the same time. I twisted around some kinda way and put my finger in my butt, and I experienced an orgasm in all three places!"

What three adjectives would you use to describe your current sex life?
"Amazing, fulfilling, and just damn good."

And when you were younger?
"A lot of self-denial. Hungry. And numb."
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If this is what 60+ is like, the future looks good. REAL good.
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