Today I’m delighted to have the incredible Suzanne Portnoy visiting my site! And wow- what a story she has to tell…
Over to you Suzanne…
I MUST APOLOGISE to the good people of the UK. It seems our national identity as the land of “no sex please, we’re British” is at risk. The Americans are saying such nasty things about me, I’m afraid I may yet bring everyone down with me – at least the old ones, who’ve popped out a couple of kids and are now expected to use beds only for sleeping.
Me, I wrote a book that chronicles my history as a woman who using her bed – and other venues – for sleeping around. ‘The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker’ is the story of my sexual history. Graciously tagged an ‘erotic memoir, it came out in June 2006 and is now being republished thanks to the growing demand for erotica. A number of U.K. newspapers wrote about the book, and shortly afterward someone visited my website to tip me off to a growing hellfire heating up in my name. A message board on a conservative American website, Right Nation (www.rightnation.us), picked up a Sunday Times piece in which I discussed my reasons for writing the book.
‘Is her name down in the dictionary next to the word ‘slut?’ was a typical posting that appeared within hours of the article appearing in the paper. I skimmed through the three dozen other comments. ‘One thing this woman will probably never get from a man…..respect. I hope she regularly gets tested for AIDs.’ I’ve never been much of a masochist but somehow felt compelled to check back 24 hours later. Nearly one hundred people had posted responses, all but one echoing the original sentiment, only in increasingly stronger language.
Alas, this was merely a variation on the theme I’ve been hearing since I first announced my plans to write the book. ‘I can’t believe you’re writing that kind of book. I could never be so public about my private sex life,’ said one girlfriend when I told her of my plan to put my sexual history on the page. She lives in London, a city of saunas, half a dozen fetish clubs, private and public swingers parties, so I found her distaste for the idea a bit puritan. There’s enough sex in this town that people refer to it as the new Amsterdam. Our red light zone stretches from Soho to Shoreditch.
There are people in the media helping to perpetuate the no-sex-for-mum myth.
“So, you’ve fulfilled your biological destiny by having two children,” asked one BBC radio presenter. “Why do you need to have sex anymore?”
Excuse me? My biological destiny is to take pleasure in sex, not to retire after having sex only for reproductive purposes. Lying back, thinking of tomorrow’s carpool schedule, if not ye olde England, is not my style. Having a good time, in my free time, is. And, at 44, I’m having quite a number of good times lately. I am hardly alone.
I challenged the BBC presenter. ‘Are you suggesting sex isn’t a part of life?’ His question genuinely puzzled me. ‘Why shouldn’t a middle-aged woman want to have sex?’ ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘There are people who would say that at your age you might prefer to be doing something else.’
Discussing my book inevitably involves discussing life. I’m happy to discuss casual sex with strangers, monogamy, and marriage, the sexual choices I’ve made, the places where I find sex, the way I schedule my adult fun around my duties as a working mother. Yet, I’d like to know: since when is having sex after 40 newsworthy? And when did we revert to the myth that sex stopped when motherhood began? Sex doesn’t end just because a woman has become a mother. If sex ended after motherhood, none of us would have siblings.
The comments from the website and the radio presenter suggest was that, at 44, I shouldn’t be having sex or even talking about it, that at my age I should be happy to be settled down with a good book or embroidery. It’s not just that imagining a middle-aged woman having sex is the discomfiting equivalent of thinking about your parents still ‘doing it.’ It’s that a mother having sex is wrong, bad, evil, immoral, scandalous.
Despite the growth of swinging clubs, swapping and other unconventional sexual activities mostly practiced by couples over 35, it seems few people want to talk about middle-aged people having sex. Yet, according to Dr. Sarah Brewer, ‘Women are said to reach their physical sexual peak in their thirties or forties.’ From my own experience I know that’s true. Indeed, had my sex life been as good, or frequent, before the age of 35, my memoir would be at least a three-volume set. The difference, for me, is that now, in addition to merely reaching my sexual peak, I’ve learned to communicate well enough to make sure it’s enjoyable:
I’m experienced enough to know what I like and don’t like, I’m willing to communicate with my lovers – and to drop those who aren’t willing to respond. Sex is a mutually beneficial act, a partnership and I’m pleased to report that it only gets better with age.
Here’s an extract from…
T H E BU T C H ER, T H E B AKER, T H E C A N DLES T I C K M AKER
AN APER I T I F A T R IO’S
Mr New York, Action Man, the Scottish Antonio Banderas, the French Gigolo, the Danish Pastry, Tantric Andy, Opera Man, and on and on. And on. I rarely call them by their names. My friend Michelle says my men shouldn’t get a name until I’ve slept with them three times and, using her criteria, most of them remain nameless. That doesn’t bother me. I’m not looking for a boyfriend. I’m looking for sex. It’s my weekend retreat.
That’s where Rio’s comes in.
My kids-free weekends always start with me in the car. There’s the rush out of my office at five-thirty p.m., the zigzag through the Hampstead back streets to avoid the rush-hour traffic, and the quick hello to the kids, who are usually so immersed in the latest PlayStation game they barely notice my greeting. I yank clothes out of the laundry basket,
making sure I’ve got enough tops, pants and pyjamas, adding something heavy for a sudden cold snap and something light for a rare British heatwave. I got divorced almost five years ago and my kids still don’t keep any clothes with my ex, so we operate on a rotating wardrobe scheme whereby every other week, when my ex has the kids, I ferry a bag of stuff over to his spotless penthouse flat, which he will later wash and return to me on Sunday when I collect the kids.
Weekends start off well if I’ve got the kids in the car by six- thirty and over to their father a few minutes later. If I make it to Rio’s by seven, I get fucked for free. Otherwise, the admission fee kicks in, and I’m paying £11 for the privilege of getting laid. Until Sunday evening, when I cross London again to pick up my sons, it’s ‘me’ time.
Many Friday evenings I’m tempted to stay home, pour a glass of wine and put my feet up, rather than serve as a human shuttle service. It’s a struggle to get ready to go out on the town. I’m tired after a busy work week. My super king-size bed is calling, calling, even if I’ll be jumping into it alone. And yet I think, Stop being so pathetic. You’ve just turned forty-four, for fuck’s sake, and there are many men out there. And I’ve only got four days and two nights a month to meet them. When my ex-husband has custody, I have my freedom. And freedom means sex.
The temptation to stay home is short-lived tonight, bested by the temptations to be found at Rio’s and the opportunity to be seduced by an anonymous male and serviced by him. I’ve got a web date and although, as usual for a Friday, part of me wants to take the easy option and send him a text to call the whole thing off, I can’t. My date has travelled from Winchester to see me. Calling it off so late, and after his two-and-a-half-hour drive, would be rude. I was brought up to be a good girl.
His picture and his profile on TotallyGorgeous.com look pretty good. His photo shows off his fair hair and broad shoulders. He is wearing a blue Lacoste shirt – public- schoolboy vanilla – but he looks tall and athletic and his broad shoulders stretch the cotton at the collar and sleeve. Nice. Not as ‘totally gorgeous’ as the site’s name promises, not a super- model, but good enough for one evening. He said he works in finance, which, since he lives too far south to work in the City, makes me wonder if he sells pension plans: boring.
‘What are you into?’ he asked, after a few email exchanges, when we spoke on the phone. ‘Do you ever go out clubbing?’ I told him I went to fetish clubs from time to time, and that excited him. He actually gasped, which made me wonder just how extensive a sexual history someone in a Lacoste shirt really had. I always get worried when guys think going to a fetish club is the height of decadence. Anyone who’s ever spent ten minutes in Torture Garden knows these places are costume parties for grown-ups. There’s always the same middle-aged man in chaps being spanked by his overweight dominatrix partner, while hotties hover on the periphery, watching the show.
‘I wouldn’t mind being your companion at a fetish club if you’re ever short of a date,’ Mr Lacoste had said. He seemed disappointed when I told him I had a regular partner for fetish- club nights, but we agreed to get together anyway.
The only other guy I’ve met on TotallyGorgeous was also in finance – a banker with a penchant for talking dirty but who had bipolar disorder. Halfway through a blowjob he said to me, in his upper-crust English accent, ‘You know, I haven’t had an orgasm in ten years.’
I took this as a challenge, the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest to make him come. I failed. He was on lithium. While I was on Everest, he was in the clouds. I got a nice steak frites from the banker, at least. Tonight I’m hoping for three courses and a sexual aperitif…
It just remains for me to say a BIG THANK YOU to Suzanne for sharing her story on my blog today! I thought I’d had to put up with some crap from folk who disagree with what I do- but boy I’ve had it easy by comparison!!
Here’s the Amazon Links to buy Suzanne’s amazing book-
If you want more details check out the info on this press release!
Happy Reading Everyone