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'I was in my 40s and had never had an orgasm. So I decided to have an affair.'

I blame Outlander for it all. About four years ago, I started listening to the audio edition of the first instalment of the sexy series in bed at night. On one of these occasions, during a particularly juicy sex scene, I became conscious of my hips moving and body twisting with the rhythm of the words. With a little shock, I realised that I was essentially dry-humping the pillow that I had between my legs!

I shouldn't really have been surprised, given the quality of the sex scenes in Outlander, but the reason it was such a revelation to me is that I'd never experienced my body responding in such a primal, subconscious way before to sexual stimuli. I'd had sex before, in fact many, many times before, including with my husband of over two decades, but whilst I'd enjoyed sex, I'd never experienced such an instinctual response as I did at that moment.

I was 40 and had never had an orgasm. Looking back on the sex I'd had when younger, I began to perceive that the thrill I'd received from it had been the thrill of the catch. The thrill of being enjoyed. It was like I was part of some strange enterprising agreement in which my body was the reward for the men who most flattered my ego.

Of course, I can turn and stare directly at my childhood when looking for something to blame for this unhealthy concept of sex. I'd had very little affection modelled or shown to me growing up and sex was something no one in my household or friendship groups dared talk about. It just wasn't the time or the place. I knew nothing about myself as a woman, let alone about what sex could and should be. I think shame had suppressed any need in me to want to find out.

Watch: Sexologist Chantelle Otten shares these sex tips for couples. Post continues after video.

Video via Instagram/chantelle_otten_sexologist.

Unfortunately, this mindset continued into my marriage. However, once the thrill of the chase had been taken away, sex began to increasingly feel like an obligation and one that I saw as my responsibility to fulfil. The more I felt obligated to have sex though, the more I began to disengage from it to the point where I didn't want my husband to touch or kiss me, just to come as quickly as possible. Not healthy. I started to characterise myself in my mind as a non-sexual person, which allowed me to justify the dynamic. I used to be surprised when I talked to girlfriends who actually wanted to have sex with their husbands for many years; I went out of my way to avoid encouraging it.

On that fateful night though, I realised, with the help of Jaime Fraser, that perhaps I was more like my girlfriends than I had appreciated. By this point in my marriage, the sex was so soulless that the thought of suddenly telling my husband that I wanted to try for an orgasm felt like the equivalent of me telling him that I wanted to have group sex in a mud bath. That old sense of shame was probably swaying my actions too; my family and society hadn't brought me up to feel that I was entitled to sexual pleasure. And so, in both a titillating and tantalising reversal of roles, I thought I'd better find myself a man who I could use to satisfy my needs. Ultimately, I didn't want to split up my family, I just wanted to come.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and the willingness of modern men to help with matters such as this, it wasn't long before I was able to find a man amenable to the task. After a short period of courting, we got down to business. It was revelatory to have sex that lasted more than minutes and that occupied many different positions. It was highly erotic and enjoyable. For the first time that I could remember, I felt connected with my body during sex; I felt conscious and in control. But I did not come. Mr Lover Man queried me about this, in a kind and gentle way, and I began to understand the responsibility I owed to myself to try to discover this additional level of pleasure.

Listen to Sealed Section where Chantelle breaks down the orgasms people with vulvas can have, plus answers questions from listeners who are not sure if they've ever experienced an orgasm. Post continues after audio.

And so I decided to seek out a third person for help. No, not that kind of third person, a sexologist! She was amazing. She told me to read Betty Dodson's seminal Sex for One, which I strongly believe should be a set text for all high school students! (Boys, so that they understand how to give females pleasure and what it looks like and girls so that they understand how to get it and the wonder of it.) It helped me to realise that I was not alone and also, just what potential for pleasure there was. Miss Sexologist also told me exactly what toy to buy and from what local shop. And, like the good girl that I'd always been, I did exactly what she told me to. The first time the bullet touched my clitoris I pretty much fell off the bed from the shock of it. Nevertheless, it wasn't long after that that I was coming like a pro. Soon I was the proud owner of a whole arsenal of sex toys and had been able to translate my orgasms for one into shared experiences. I've now even been able to add squirting to my repertoire, although it's weird because there is a part of me that feels embarrassed sharing that. It's sad that so often women don't feel at ease to simply revel in their powers.

I definitely have Mr Lover Man to thank for a lot of these personal developments. Sex, for him and I, became quite the hobby; one which we studied and tended to with care and consideration and which we both reaped the rewards of, as a result.  Meanwhile, sex with my husband is still a complex and challenging thing. I'm unsure that it's an issue we’ll be able to resolve. As a woman now in her mid-40s though, I am proud of the pleasure I've been able to grant and give myself.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

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Feature image: Getty.

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