Elegy for My Sex Life
What I remember most about sex is how much I wanted it.
I craved its spontaneity. Whenever, wherever. If the sheets got
a little messy, we’d sprinkle powder on the wet spots, then lay
there laughing. We took our time. We weren’t concerned
with being caught. We had a van, places to park, and hormones.
Almost any position was a possibility. I didn’t worry I’d pull
a muscle after I bent my body into a pretzel. It was the 70’s.
Now it’s my 70’s. My desire for sex has waned, like a hurricane
that sputters before it makes impact. I’m not sure of the exact
moment it ended. Two weeks passed, then four, then two months.
Eventually, I stopped keeping track. I began asking my friends
intimate questions. I tiptoed with trepidation into their sex lives.
I wanted details. I needed to know my situation wasn’t isolated.
Over coffee I whispered, Do you two still, you know, have sex?
I hoped they’d answer, no, not anymore, we’re too old, too tired.
Instead, they offered remedies. One gave me a name of a lubricant,
another recommended an estrogen supplement or tea with ginseng.
I told my doctor. She half-listened. I thought I saw her roll her eyes.
How could she understand? She’s barely 40. I wanted to tell her
what I missed. I missed orgasms. I loved each one. They felt good.
I missed feeling good. That’s not all I missed. I missed my lover’s
legs entwined with mine. Maybe I could still wrap my legs around his,
but I hesitate. It’s not sexy to entangle yourself when your hip hurts.
Yesterday, a woman stopped my husband and me to say how sweet
it was to see two people our age holding hands. I didn’t have the heart
to tell her I was holding on because I have a fear of falling.
Linda Laderman is a Michigan writer and poet. She is the 2023 recipient of The Jewish Woman’s Prize from Harbor Review. Her micro-chapbook, “What I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know,” is published online at harbor-review.com. Her poetry has appeared in The Gyroscope Review, Thimble, 3rd Wednesday, SWWIM, ONE ART, The Jewish Writing Project, Rust & Moth, and Minyan Magazine, among others. For nearly a decade, she volunteered as a docent at the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Find her at lindaladerman.com