Lois carried shame into her adulthood due to childhood sexual abuse. As an adult, she found healing and had wonderful sex with her current husband, which has dwindled as they’ve gotten older.  She talks about her how the abuse affected her relationship with her body and sex, participating in “free love” during the 60s, and her relationship with sex as she has gotten older.

Lois is a 70-year-old, cisgender female who describes herself as mostly white, straight, married for 38 years, monogamous, and post-menopausal.  She has three grown children.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO OPEN)

LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I am sex educator and sexual communication coach Leah Carey and this is a place to sharer conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Today, we’ll meet Lois, a 70 year old cisgender female who describes mostly white, straight, married for 38 years, monogamous and postmenopausal. She has three grown children. In this interview, Lois talks extensively of the childhood sexual abuse she experienced until age 14 and the shame that followed her into adult sexual encounters. She also talks about participating in free love during the 60s and how the wonderful sex she had with her current husband has dwindled as they’ve gotten older. I’m so pleased to introduce Lois!

I am over the moon that we are talking today. I have specifically been looking for women who are post- menopausal.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: I am very post-menopausal. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So when you said yes, I was absolutely thrilled. Thank you for doing this. Before we started recording, you were saying that you had some second thoughts after agreeing to do it. So can you just say again what you were telling me before?

LOIS: Yes, I was nervous about doing it. I’ve never done anything like this before. I don’t really talk with people freely either, so I was nervous. And a couple of times, I thought that I would cancel it. But then I said to myself, “Why? Why not just do it? I’m not going to be hurt by it. It’s not going to hurt me in any way, so do it.” This is an experience I’ve never had before and I love you.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Aww, I love you too, even though we’ve never met in person.

LOIS: Right, right.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: But I think that being nervous is absolutely appropriate for doing something like this because who does have conversations like this for the most part?

LOIS: Right. Who does? Not me.

LEAH: I have them regularly but that’s because I’m choosing to do that and creating the space for it. LOIS: Right.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: And it was actually after listening to a couple of your podcast that I thought, “Can I get into a conversation like that? Well, yes, why can’t I? Why not? I’m 70 years old. If I can’t do it now, when can I?”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Awesome. Well, let’s dive in then and see where this goes.

LOIS: Okay.

LEAH: So the first question I ask everyone is what is your first memory of sexual pleasure?

LOIS: Well I started having sex when I was 15. And I don’t know if this is a road that we want to go down, I was sexually abused as a child.

LEAH: I’m sorry.

LOIS: So sexual pleasure for me is kind of a mixed thing if you know what I mean. When it is a pleasure,

it is a pleasure mixed with guilt. So that’s about how it’s been always.

LEAH: I would like to ask you some more about those early experiences if you’re open to talking about them.

LOIS: Yes. I am.

LEAH: So how old were you when the abuse began? LOIS: I think about 6 or 7, just around that age. LEAH: And was it ongoing?

LOIS: Yes. It continued for years until I was around 14 where I was the one who put a stop and just said to my abuser, “You can’t do this anymore. I don’t want you to do this anymore. Don’t do it anymore.” And that’s when it ended.

LEAH: That’s really incredibly brave to tell your abuser, “Listen.” Did they continue pushing?

LOIS: No. And that was very difficult because then I thought, “What if I had said stop sooner?” But it

stopped.

LEAH: I imagine you weren’t ready to say stop. Not because you wanted it to continue obviously, but because you needed the internal resources to be able to say that.

LOIS: Right. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I realized that maybe I could just put a stop to this. When you’re a little kid, you go along with what adults tell you.

LEAH: Of course.

LOIS: Even though you might now that there’s something strange about it or something’s not right

about it or something’s out of sync, you do what the adult tells you to do.

LEAH: Absolutely. And was the abuser threatening you in any way to keep quiet?

LOIS: Well it was implied. It was always the little shush like, “This is our secret, this is just between you and me, shh.”

LEAH: Like making you an accomplice?

LOIS: Right. And the “You’re my special. You’re my special.” LEAH: And was there internal penetration during the abuse?

LOIS: No. Not that I remember. It’s hard to remember exactly because when you are a child, you’re not really cognizant of exactly what’s happening if you know what I mean. And at 14 is when I said, “You must stop.” But before that, there were times where I tried to avoid being in the situation where it could

happen. This person would most of the time try to separate me from other people but sometimes, it was right in front of other people.

LEAH: Really?

LOIS: He didn’t seem to think that people realized what he was doing.

LEAH: And if he was doing it in front of other people presumably they didn’t. Is that true?

LOIS: Right. It would be a situation like this, swimming. We’d all go down the pond to go swimming and he would be tossing the other kids up into the air to dive into the water and he would try to get me to do it too but I knew, “No I can’t go near him in the water because he has cover in the water.” But sometimes he would just grab me anyway and basically hug me there with my backside pressed up against him and be holding me, be hugging me and there were other people in the water.

LEAH: I don’t want to get too specific so you would have to identify who this person is, but was it somebody who lived in your home with you?

LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: Okay. So there were a lot of opportunities for those.

LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: And did you talk to anybody about it? Did you tell a parent or a teacher or anyone?

LOIS: No. Because even at a young age, people in my own family knew about it and it seemed to me that because they knew about it but they didn’t stop it, then it was something that’s allowed.

LEAH: Yeah. How did they know?

LOIS: My mother saw it happen a number of times and she would just walk away.

LEAH: I’m so sorry.

LOIS: Thank you.

LEAH: It’s not okay under any circumstances. It’s particularly devastating when the people who are supposed to protect you, don’t.

LOIS: Right. And it makes it extremely confusing because as I said, you know that’s something’s off-kilter and yet no one’s doing anything about it. No one’s stopping it in any way.

LEAH: So you mentioned that later when you did start having sex, there was a shame component. So are you taking shame onto yourself from this abuse like somehow you were perpetrating it happening to you?

LOIS: That, and also the fact that because I knew that what was happening wasn’t right, shouldn’t’ be happening, then for me that’s what sex was, something that shouldn’t happen. So that was my outlook on sex so it was something to be hidden.

LEAH: Sure. I think that all young women have complicated relationships with their body because of all the messaging we get. I imagine having gone through this experience there maybe was an added layer of that for you. What was your relationship like with your body as a young teenager?

LOIS: I hated my body. I hated my body because it was the source of something bad, something that you shouldn’t be doing, sex.

LEAH: I’m so sorry.

LOIS: Thank you. Thank you for that sentiment but I’ve come through it. I don’t feel that at this point,

I’m affected by it in any way. I was affected for years and years and years. But now, it’s like nothing. LEAH: What do you think helped you through move through it?

LOIS: I think not that it comes with age, but I really think when people get to be in their 40s, you start analyzing and self examining more and I think I finally came to the conclusion that I was a child, I had no idea what this was or why it was happening but I had finally accepted the fact that I didn’t do anything wrong. That it wasn’t my fault and that I was okay.

LEAH: That’s a really big deal to recognize that it’s not your fault. I think a lot of us have struggled a lot with that very thought.

LOIS: Yeah.

LEAH: Okay, let’s go back to your teenagedom. LOIS: Teenagedom. Dumb teenage years, no. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Yes, exactly that.

LOIS: Yes.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So you mentioned that you started having sex at 15. Before you started having sex with, what I hope was consensual sex at 15.

LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: Did you have any self exploration of your body? Did you begin masturbating at any point? LOIS: Yes. I would say when I was about 14.

LEAH: And how was that as an experience?

LOIS: Terrible because the guilt that went with that was so terrible. In my mind, “Oh God there’s something wrong with me, why am I doing this? Why do I feel this way? Why do I want to do this?” And it was, “No, no, no, you shouldn’t be doing this” in my head.

LEAH: I do have one more question about the abuse if that’s okay with you. LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: I know that there are some women who were abused as children who ended up having some experience of pleasure during that abuse just as sort of an autonomic response that is extraordinarily confusing later on. Is that something that you experienced?

LOIS: Yes. Yes and also during the abuse because you are the special one, you’re the special person and there’s this feeling of “It’s good but it’s bad.” And you might seek out the attention because someone loves you this much and that’s what the feeling is, somebody loves you. But after a while, you realize no, no, no and that’s when you try to make sure that you’re not in a position that this person can abuse you, can be with you, which is very difficult when the person lives in the same house with you.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. That’s something that I think is so important to talk about, the fact that there is sometimes a bodily pleasure signal that happens during abuse and that does not in any way mean that you were culpable for what happened to you.

LOIS: Yeah, exactly. And realizing that was part of my coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t the bad person. Because even people in the family who knew, some people actually gave me that impression also that was my fault, so then you have all kinds of feelings, everything.

LEAH: Sure. So when you started having sex with another person, again I’m really hopeful it was consensual sex.

LOIS: It was.

LEAH: Okay good. What brought you to the place where you were like, “I want to proactively share my

body with another person”?

LOIS: I started dating someone and the urge was there. I want to have sex.

LEAH: And was it pleasurable from the beginning or I mean you said you had a lot of shame around it?

LOIS: Physically it was pleasurable but mentally and emotionally, not so much because then I would think, “There we go again, you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing. You’re doing it. You’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing.”

LEAH: Yeah.

LOIS: It didn’t stop me from doing it though.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So I’m trying to do some quick math in my head, in the late 50s?

LOIS: 60s, early 60s.

LEAH: So no, that was sort of before peace, love and rock and roll happened.

LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: So underage sex, sex before marriage, all of that was still pretty taboo at that point right?

LOIS: Yeah, it would be around 1964, right? So it was just on the cusp, just on the beginning of the sexual revolution and all of that. But oh yeah, premarital sex was definitely a no-no and having sex at 15 was definitely a no-no. Kissing someone was even suspect and in my house, in my family, they never said the word sex. If they spoke about someone being pregnant, it was almost a whisper even if she was married.

LEAH: Oh wow really. LOIS: Yes. [LAUGHTER]

LOIS: Someone else would say “with child”, she’s with child. Okay, alright, yeah. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Yeah, goodness forbid we should acknowledge the realities of being female. LOIS: Right.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: And if someone was pregnant and not married, oh my God that was just a scandal. That was whispered. That was just whispered. No one talked about her.

LEAH: Were you sort of aware of the biological realities that having sex meant that you could get pregnant?

LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: And is that a concern for you?

LOIS: No. I think I knew that it could happen but at 15, you’re like, “No it’s not going to happen to me. I’m not going to get pregnant. That happens to other people. That happens to bad girls.”

LEAH: Oh, right, sure.

LOIS: Not good girls. And even with all the guilt and everything else I was feeling, I still felt like I was a

good girl. I was a good person so I wouldn’t get pregnant. LEAH: Were you using protection?

LOIS: No.

LEAH: Wow, you were lucky.

LOIS: Yes, extremely lucky. Extremely lucky.

LEAH: How long did that sexual relationship go on?

LOIS: I was 15 when I started dating him and I think probably only 2 years until I was 17. LEAH: 2 years is a long time to be having sex without protection and not getting pregnant.

LOIS: That’s true.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Especially as a teenager. [LAUGHTER]

LOIS: That is true.

LEAH: Wow. So in terms of your physical experience of that sexual relationship, did it do anything to sort of displace some of the memories of the abuse for you? Were you able to reclaim your body in any way or were you still really steeped in the shame throughout?

LOIS: No, still steeped in the shame. It didn’t help to release anything. Sometimes, it just made it worse because then if I enjoyed having sex, I would say to myself, “See, it was your fault. It was you. You wanted it to happen.” And that went on for a very long time.

LEAH: Did the boy who you were dating know your history?

LOIS: No. No one knew my history until I was in my 40s, other than the people who were there when it

happened.

LEAH: And as a 15 year old, I don’t necessarily assume that people are going to have a great deal of understanding of how their body works or how their partner’s bodies works. So you said that you had some pleasure, was the boy who you were having sex with sort of aware of aware of your pleasure as a priority?

LOIS: I’m going to think for a minute. That’s a very long time ago. [LAUGHTER]

LOIS: No. I don’t think. Well, I don’t know I can’t say whether he was aware of it or not. I made sure I was happy. Maybe I was aware of him so much as I was of myself.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: That’s so interesting.

LOIS: Truly. I was just going to say as a matter of fact when you said a couple of times, “I hope it was consensual, your first experiences, I hope it was consensual.” I almost said, “Well, it was for me. I’m not so sure about him. I think I kind of pushed him into it.”

LEAH: Interesting. That actually doesn’t entirely surprise me as someone who was sexualized at a very young age like you were to want to then reclaim your body, and all of this would have been happening at a subconscious level, but that drive to use sex to reclaim your body and that you would be the primary driver of that. That doesn’t surprise me at all.

LOIS: Makes sense.

LEAH: So once that relationship was over, what happened next for you in terms of your sexuality?

LOIS: That went until I was 17, maybe going into 18. And when I became 18, I started going out with friends to clubs drinking and everything. And then I had a lot of sex.

LEAH: So now, we’re kind of firmly into sex, drugs, and rock and roll? LOIS: Yes.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: No drugs. Alcohol, but yeah.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So you were participating in free love, I guess we can say. LOIS: Yes.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: And I was just going to say and I drank a lot. I drank a lot. I used to go out from Wednesday night to Sunday night. The only nights I stayed home was Monday and Tuesday was because I had to rest. I did work. I did have a job. I rested two nights a week. But I went out and I drank a lot and I had a lot of sex.

LEAH: And was that sex primarily one night stands? Was it short term relationships? How were you engaging?

LOIS: One night stands. Go out and meet someone.

LEAH: How was that for you? Were you enjoying those experiences?

LOIS: Yes, at the time but then I always felt like I was looking for something. It was almost, “No, no, not you, bye. Okay, let me see if you have what I’m looking for. No, not you, bye.” And it was the emotional

thing that I was looking for. I thought that I would find what I wanted by having sex with a guy and what I wanted, so cliché, was for someone to love me. I wanted to feel that love that I was that special person but it never was that.

LEAH: And yet being that special person also probably held that connotation of being controlled and abused at the same time?

LOIS: Right, yeah.

LEAH: What a complicated thing to go through. During this time of having many partners, were you

using protection?

LOIS: At that point, yes, because friends that I had, girlfriends that I had, people I had started working with and we became friends. And one of my girlfriends asked me who my gynecologist was and I said, “I don’t have one.” And they said, “What do you do with protection?” And I said, “I’m not doing anything.” And then she was shocked. She was absolutely shocked. She said, “I’m taking you to my doctor this week. You’re getting on birth control. This is crazy.” If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have even then.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: This week’s audio extras over at patreon.com include Lois talking about how her own childhood abuse affected how she communicated with her own children about sex. There’s an extended Lowdown Q and A this week but because Lois is no longer having sex, we skipped some of the more salacious questions.

Did you know that by joining the community of Patreon supporters for this show, you’re not just getting more of every interview? You’re also supporting the kind of open and honest conversations about female sexuality that I hear over and over again from our listeners are eye-opening, mind expanding and even life=changing.

This podcast runs sort of on the NPR model where everyone gets to listen to these conversations for free then you get to decide how much they’re worth for you. You can pledge a dollar a month and get occasional audio extras, 5 dollars a month to get audio extras for almost every episode, or 7 dollars a month to get all of that plus the extended Lowdown Q and A for every episode. All told it’s usually around 25 to 30 minutes of content for every episode.

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[MUSIC]

LEAH: At what point did the partying phase of your life pass by? LOIS: When I met my first husband.

LEAH: And how old were you?

LOIS: 24? 25? 24 I think, somewhere around there.

LEAH: Okay. And why was he different?

LOIS: I don’t know. I saw his face and just fell in love. I just fell in love with him. We started dating and

that was it.

LEAH: Did you have sex quickly?

LOIS: Actually when I first met him, I was going out with someone else. And so it was like, “Oh there he is again. Oh, there he is. I have to break up with this guy because I just really liked him.”

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: So I think yeah, probably it was fairly quickly, once I broke up with the other guy. I wouldn’t have sex with two different people at the same time.

LEAH: And how was the sex with your first husband?

LOIS: It was good because I took care of myself. I made sure it was good for me. I don’t think he had a

clue what was good for his partner. And we didn’t talk about it, never.

LEAH: You made sure it was good for you. Was he making sure that it was good for him, do you think?

LOIS: Yes and obviously even though I was making sure it was good for me, it wasn’t always because if he finished before I did then that was it.

LEAH: Okay, so let me ask you the more specific question. How did you make sure that it was good for you? What were you doing specifically?

LOIS: I don’t know how to answer that. I just made sure I enjoyed myself. LEAH: Were you touching yourself?

LOIS: No.

LEAH: You were moving in certain ways so that various parts rubbed up against what it needed to be rubbed up against?

LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: Got it. Okay.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: That was very good.

LEAH: Excellent.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: It’s a good thing that you’re used to asking these questions.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So how did that relationship develop? You said that he was your first husband so I imagine it ended.

LOIS: It ended.

LEAH: Did you have kids? How did that relationship go?

LOIS: We were married for 6 years. We had 2 kids. My oldest daughter and then we had a son and then after 6 years, he started dating someone else.

LEAH: So you said that nobody knew about the abuse until you were in your 40s, so I assume that your first husband did not know.

LOIS: Right.

LEAH: Going through the process of being pregnant with childbirth, how did that change your

relationship with your body if at all?

LOIS: I don’t think it changed my relationship with my body.

LEAH: Did you still hate your body as much as you had when you were younger?

LOIS: Yes. I mean that I loved that it gave me a child and that I love my children. I love my babies. But as far as anything else is concerned, I didn’t like my body at all.

LEAH: Were these specific aspects of your body like did you look at your body and, “Oh, I don’t like my belly. I don’t like my legs” or whatever, or was it just your body as a whole being that was the sort of vessel for the abuse?

LOIS: My body as a sexual thing. I don’t know how to describe this, that my body brings me shame, that my body brings me pain. Why do I have to have this body? Why do I have to have a vagina? Why do I have to have breasts? Why do I have to have this?

And not just that, in general, when you’re out and you’re walking on the street and men look at you. For me, that was very difficult because I wanted to be attractive to men but at the same time, I resented it. I really resented it like, “Why are my body parts so important? I’m more important than my body parts are.” But at the time, it was an argument that I had. Why are my body parts so important? I should be more important than the parts of me. And that was a very strong thing for a long time.

LEAH: That resonates very deeply for me. I can really relate to all of what you just said. LOIS: Really?

LEAH: Yeah. And I think probably a lot of women can.

LOIS: Yeah.

LEAH: Like that real push pull between I want to be attractive. I want to show up and be desirable and at the same time I really resent the fact that when you look at me, all you see is my body and my breasts and my hips and whatever.

LOIS: Yes. Even making love with my husband. When he would enjoy touching my breasts, I’d be like, “Why are you enjoying that so much? That’s just a part of me.” And it would cause issues in my mind that, “If my head wasn’t here and my heart wasn’t here, just my breasts, would he be happy?”

LEAH: Interesting. Yeah. That makes sense to me. Was the abuse focused on your breasts in any way? LOIS: Well, not when it started because I just had a little kid’s chest. Yes, as my breasts started to grow,

as they started to develop, yes.

LEAH: So we know that your first marriage ended after 6 years, what happened next? LOIS: I was out and about for about a year on my own.

LEAH: What does out and about mean? [LAUGHTER]

LOIS: I started going out again with friends or with my sisters. I went out with my sisters a lot. We would just, “Let’s just go out and have a good time.” And we would and I met my second husband and I fell in love with him the minute I saw him.

LEAH: And is this the man who you are still married to now? LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: Okay. So this has been a long term relationship? LOIS: This has been a long term, yeah.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: I think 38 years, 39 years? Oh no, 40 years because my youngest daughter is going to be 39 this year.

LEAH: So was the sex good right away or did it take some time to get into it together? LOIS: It was good right away.

LEAH: Really?

LOIS: It was good right away. We actually met on a dance floor.

LEAH: Ooh. [LAUGHTER]

LOIS: He was dancing and I was dancing and I was like, “Oh, I want to dance with him.” And he was like, “I want to dance with her.” And I think it was the dancing, if you could dance together.

LEAH: That’s an awesome way, yes. [LALUGHTER]

LOIS: Then everything works.

LEAH: Yeah. So how long did it take for you tell him about your background?

LOIS: Over 10 years because when we met, I was 30 or 31 and it wasn’t until I was 41. And at that time, that’s when I told a lot of people because I was at work one day, and for some reason, something triggered something and I just fell apart. I fell apart and I said to the person I worked with, “I need to go home.” And I called my husband I said, “I’m on my way home. I want you to meet me at home. We’re going to take a drive out to a particular spot that we would like to sit and watch the water because I need to talk to you.” And we did that. I went home, got in his truck, we went to this place that we liked to sit and started talking to him about it.

LEAH: What was that conversation like for you? Was it a relief?

LOIS: It was a relief but it was also a really, really hard. It was hard. As a matter of fact, I told him to bring a bottle of wine when I come home. “Pick up a bottle of wine because I’m’ going to need it to get through this.”

LEAH: And how did he respond?

LOIS: He felt so bad for me. He hurt for me. It hurt him. It was hard talking to him knowing that it hurt him to hear it. But then, it helped him because come to find out, he was sexually abused as a child, so the two of us helped each other tremendously. He had never talked about it. He didn’t talk about it at that moment either but he felt safe later at another time to talk to me about his experience.

LEAH: The more stories that I hear from men, the more prevalent I think this is. I think this idea that little boys are abused far less frequently than little girls I think it’s just flat out wrong.

LOIS: It’s not true. Right, it’s not true.

LEAH: I think they just don’t have a place to talk about it. And so it’s vastly underreported.

LOIS: Right. I agree.

LEAH: Did it change your relationship when you first made your declaration and then he at some point made his declaration?

LOIS: That’s kind of hard to say because right from the very beginning, we felt that we were supposed to be together. That I was there for him and he was there for me even before either of us knew about anything about sexual abuse about the other one. We just felt that we were supposed to be here for each other. I think it didn’t change us in any way.

LEAH: In your relationship with him whether before or after you made this revelation, how was your feeling about your body? Had it improved over time either with age or with sharing what had actually happened to you?

LOIS: I think it helped because in my 40s, my husband and I had a really good sex life. Yeah. LEAH: What was so good about it?

LOIS: Well having sex was always great but it was great before that too. But we think we were a little more open with each other after that like if there was something that I liked, I would let him know that I liked it. Or if there was something that I didn’t like, I let him know that I didn’t like that and the same for him. We explored each other a little more I think because we weren’t afraid to say that something gave us pleasure.

LEAH: That’s huge. So we’ve already referenced the fact that you’ve been through menopause, how old were you when that happened?

LOIS: Actually I had a hysterectomy years ago when I was 40.

LEAH: Okay. So you went through an induced menopause or whatever they call it?

LOIS: Yeah, right.

LEAH: Okay. So did that change your experience of sex in any way?

LOIS: No.

LEAH: Really?

LOIS: No.

LEAH: So did your lubrication remain the same?

LOIS: To specify, I had partial hysterectomy. I still have my ovaries so I suppose that the hormonal change wasn’t that great because I still had my ovaries. Everything still felt the same.

LEAH: Excellent. And so are you still sexually active with your husband now? LOIS: No.

LEAH: Okay, by choice?

LOIS: Yes, by choice but not by conscious choice, just because I just don’t feel that way anymore. I just don’t feel that way anymore.

LEAH: Do you think that he does?

LOIS: Occasionally he does. Not a lot, but occasionally. LEAH: And when that happens, what do the two of you do?

LOIS: Well, there were a couple of times in recent years where we both kind of felt like, “Oh, we haven’t had sex in a long time, let’s do it.” And my mind wouldn’t get in it so my body wouldn’t get in it and his body was definitely not in it.

LEAH: Do you miss it?

LOIS: No, I don’t miss it. I don’t miss it at all. Every once in a while, when my husband and I, we’d be doing something and for us, we had the best sex when we were younger where we were doing something together, whether we’re cleaning the house. So we’re going to have a party and we’re both getting the house ready for the party or if we were at a wedding and we’re dancing a lot. Dancing always would do it for us. If we were dancing all night, then we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.

[LAUGHTER]

LOIS: Really, so every once in a while now, we’d be doing something where we’re working together on something and I’ll kind of look at him and I’ll get that little thought but there’s nothing else. It’s just a fleeting thought of, “Oh yeah, the closeness is so important.”

LEAH: Yeah. Do you think that’s a hormonal thing like your hormones just don’t pump in that same way? Do you think it’s a mental thing? Do you have any sense of what it’s about?

LOIS: I don’t know. I don’t think that way anymore. And I don’t have that warmth. You get that warmth feeling of “Oh, but I’d really like to be close with him right now or I’d really want to make love to him right now.” I just don’t get that feeling anymore. I don’t know why.

LEAH: Do the two of you still have other kinds of intimate touch? Do you cuddle? Do you stroke each other? Do you touch in other ways?

LOIS: We hug. We hug a lot and I think that’s about it. LEAH: And does that satisfy your need for touch? LOIS: Yes.

LEAH: Good. I’m glad for you.

LOIS: I hope so. I don’t know.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: I’m glad for you that you have what you need regardless of how it looks. I think what’s really important is that we get our needs met.

LOIS: Right. [MUSIC]

LEAH: And now it’s time for the Lowdown, the things we’re dying to know but would usually be too polite to ask any good girl.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: What is your relationship with your body like today?

LOIS: I think we’ve come to a kind of a peaceful coexistence with my mind and my body.

LEAH: So it’s no longer a source of shame for you?

LOIS: No.

LEAH: You’ve mentioned a couple of times that things shifted a lot in your 40s, is that when you think that that sort of detente happened?

LOIS: I think it started then. I think it’s taken years for me to get to this point, but I think it started then. LEAH: How long ago was it that you were having regular sex or I guess I should how long ago did you

transition to this phase where you’re not engaging sexually?

LOIS: I know because I have to put something else in this story here. My husband is an alcoholic. He’s a sober alcoholic now but seven years ago, when we reached the point where he had to do something about it is when our intimacy stopped, actually probably the year before that. He is sober now. He’s been sober for 7 years and he has just been fantastic. He’s worked really hard at it and he’s great.

LEAH: Is there anything that you have ever fantasized about that you didn’t have a chance to try?

LOIS: No, I don’t think so, besides having sex with Burt Reynolds, no. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Oh, that’s awesome.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Lois, this has been simply marvelous. Thank you so much, not for the willingness to do it, but for being so brave.

LOIS: Thank you Leah, I’m glad I did it. I was hesitant. I was doubtful but I’m glad I did it.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Thanks for joining me today on Good Girls Talk About Sex. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please email me at leah@goodgirlstalklabousex.com. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at GoodGirlsTalk.

I was only able to step outside my good girl box when someone I respected told me it was possible to do it. If you’d like to step outside a box that’s no longer working for you, I’m here to tell you it’s possible and I’d love to work with you. Join my mailing list to receive tools that help you name your desires and communicate them effectively to your partner or potential partners. Sign up at leahcarey.com.

I’m Leah Carey and I look forward to talking with you again next time. Here’s to your better sex life! [MUSIC]

Here are some of the notable moments she shared with us:

  • 4:29 – Lois talks about being abused as a child
  • 9:20 – Lois’ mother witnessed the abuse and didn’t stop it
  • 10:05 – Lois’ experience of sexual shame in the aftermath of the abuse
  • 12:45 – Her early consensual sexual experiences, and feelings of extreme guilt.
  • 15:00 – The pleasure response that can happen even during abuse
  • 17:15 – Coming of age sexually in the mid-1960s and her first consensual sexual relationship.
  • 22:50 – The Summer of Love
  • 27:20 – Meeting her first husband at age 24
  • 29:00 S- Making sure she received pleasure during sex
  • 31:30 – How the abuse affected her feelings about her body, and hating her body as a sexual vessel
  • 34:13 – Experiencing love at first sight with her second husband
  • 35:10 – Telling her husband about her abuse background after a triggering event at work
  • 38:51 – Having a great sex life in her 40s
  • 39:40 – Going through early menopause after a hysterectomy and the dwindling of their sex life

The Lowdown (43:37)

  • What is your relationship with your body like today?
  • How long ago did you stop having regular sex?
  • Is there anything that you fantasized about that you didn’t have a chance to try?

The Patreon extras for this episode are:

  • $5/mo – How her own experience of childhood sexual abuse affected Lois’ communication with her children about sex.
  • $7/mo – Extended Q&A

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Host – Leah Carey (website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email)

Audio Editor – Gretchen Kilby

Music – Nazar Rybak