At a particularly boring moment in my work day, I took a break to check on my Twitter account. The internet is blocked at my current temp job but I had my Iphone. I felt like the E*Trade baby when his mother took away his IPad but he conveniently had a smart phone hiding in his crib. The other offices in the building are empty. I too am in solitary, "just a woman and her thoughts". It is totally quiet. "Nobody knows..."
I skimmed through the morning's tweets. Everything was about sex. My mind started to wander because for some reason my libido is aroused by monotonous accounting work. My novel was created in a cubicle, where I spent forty hours a week doing some of the most God awful boring work a human being could possibly do and still live to tell the story. Sex was always on my mind, usually starring Ryan Gosling. It was right around the time Ryan had become really hot, shortly after Blue Valentine, while Crazy, Stupid, Love was still in theaters and Drive was soon to be released. I could easily surf the internet for all things Ryan, in between scanning invoices and performing repetitious data entry tasks.
A friend of mine once said, "You are so horny. Women our age are not interested in sex." Sorry, I have to disagree.
I recently wrote a blog about how my family had turned into a roving band of gypsies. It had nothing to do with sex but some of my readers were one step ahead of me, reading between the lines. They made comments like "Privacy." "Sex whenever we want it." "That freedom was liberating." "Kids can really cramp our style." Apparently a lot of us fifty somethings are enjoying sex in our empty nest. Cavorting around the house in negligees and underwear or nothing at all, having sex from the living room to the kitchen and anywhere in between.
I have a good friend who has been through some ups and downs similar to mine -- job losses, financial problems, difficult teenage years, worries about health insurance. It's taken a toll on her marriage. She recently told me that despite all that, her sex life was great. Sex had become hugely important to her and her husband. "Lately, it's the only way we communicate," she told me.
On my recent flight to Denver, I witnessed something that convinced me that many of us who are fifty and older are having healthy, happy sex lives. As my husband and I ate our little packages of peanuts and cheese nips, he kept fidgeting and craning his neck, spying on the couple sitting in front of us. "They're making gourmet sandwiches," he said jealously. I leaned over to catch a glimpse between the seats. Sure enough, they were assembling cold cuts on delicious looking whole grain bread, squeezing little packets of mayo and brown mustard on the concoction. They even had a little container of chopped pickles and peppers that they spread over the entire creation. Hubby was green with envy.
A little while later, he elbowed me. "Look what they're eating now," he whispered. Having the aisle seat gave him a much better vantage point. I was stuck in the middle. I leaned over once again to peer through the tiny space between the seats. They were sharing a bag of trail mix. Hubby was practically moaning, "Oh my God, banana chips and chocolate chunks."
I went back to doing a crossword puzzle, forgetting about the couple in front of us with the gourmet lunch. Somewhere over the midwest, after a lengthy bout of turbulence, hubby elbowed me again. I looked up, he raised his eyebrows, put his finger to his lips, "Shhh", and nodded towards the epicureans. He whispered in my ear, "They're reading. Check it out." I leaned towards my spy hole and saw they were sharing a Kindle. "How cute," I whispered.
"No," he whispered back. "Look at what they're reading."
It was hard to see at first, I had to fidget and lean over towards hubby, resting my arm on his lap. I could see the gentleman, who also had an aisle seat, look towards his companion, his eyes crinkling with a smile. He reached over and held her hand. She was in the middle seat, tilting the Kindle towards him. Luckily the woman in the window seat next to me was snoozing, because it was obvious I was spying. I was practically sitting in my husband's lap. The Kindle was set for large print so I was able to clearly read the words on the screen. It was the start of a new chapter. "Pet Names for Penises."
I covered my mouth, trying not to laugh. I looked at my husband with wide eyes. He gave me the "Shh" sign again. I went back to reading from the shared Kindle. "A friend in knead is splendid indeed..." What on earth did that mean? "Up, twist, over and down." Oh! The man moved closer to his beloved, his shoulder blocking my view. Hubby was still able to read. I handed him my journal and a pen. "Take notes," I whispered. He waved the journal away.
When the plane touched down in Denver, everyone stood to stretch and collect their belongings from the overhead bins. We finally got a glimpse of the couple who clearly seemed to savor the finer things in life. A homemade lunch at 28,000 feet and a satisfying sex life. They were in their early sixties. They were wearing khakis, hiking shoes and light fleece jackets. The man was talking to another guy in the aisle. I'm not sure how the conversation got started. Maybe they had met in the airport while waiting for the flight. He was answering a question he had been asked. "We met at a bookstore. We've been married six months."
I turned my phone on. A text message from my daughter had come through.
Staying on campus 2nite. Lots of kids still around. Hope U don't mind.
I showed it to my husband. We smiled. Mind? Not at all. This meant we had the hotel room to ourselves. I nudged him and whispered, "You should have taken notes."
Oysters have a well-established history as an aphrodisiac (just look at that suggestive shape!): Romans believed in their libido-increasing abilities and Casanova wrote that he ate 50 for breakfast in "The Story of My Life." Well guess what? The mollusks are packed with the feel-good hormone dopamine. Zinc -- a mineral linked to stimulating testosterone, a hormone key to sexual arousal, can also be found in oysters, according to WebMD. A past study also suggested a link between raw oyster consumption and sex-hormone production, after researchers discovered that they contain rare amino acids previously found to stimulate testosterone and progesterone production in rats, The Telegraph reports.
The "shaky bridge experiment" is probably familiar to anyone who took Psych 101 in college. In the study, men were asked to walk across a tall, shaky bridge, and then asked by an attractive researcher to fill out a survey. They were more likely than those who walked across a less scary bridge to give the researcher a call later on, mistaking the physiological arousal from their fear response to the shaky bridge (increased heart rate, feeling a bit warm, breaking a sweat) for sexual attraction and arousal. In the absence of terrifying suspension bridges, you might try chomping down on a hot chile for the same physiological arousal. And just like hot peppers, spices like curry and cumin can also increase blood flow and in turn, your libido, according to Live Strong.
Another provocatively shaped food, garlic is associated with increased blood circulation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Better blood flow to the genitals creates greater arousal for men and women," Men's Health reports. Garlic is also a traditional aphrodisiac in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is one of the five pungent roots monks were told to avoid because of its effect on sexual desire (according to the Surangama sutra: "if eaten cooked, they are aphrodisiac...").
As Shakespeare wrote in "The Tragedy of Macbeth": "Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance..." In moderation, however, alcohol can lower inhibitions without the unfortunate side effect of decreased performance. A 2009 study conducted by the University of Florence also found that women who drank one to two glasses of red wine a day reported "higher...sexual desire, lubrication and overall sexual functioning."
Sex isn't all about the physical act; there's a good deal of mental stimulation necessary before one is in "the mood." Taking a bite or two of chocolate can help. The cocoa-packed treat contains a compound called phenylethylamine, which floods the body with serotonin and endorphins creating that loving feeling, according to Fitbie. While a study found that a boost in sexual desire after eating chocolate was all in participants' heads, we'll take it where we can get it!
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