'I had no idea my body was capable of this.' The women who discovered sex after 40.

Throughout her 21 year marriage, Janine* says she reached orgasm no more than five times. 

After meeting in their late teens, the couple had a lot of sex, it’s just that it wasn’t that exciting. 

"I did enjoy sex, but it was probably always about him, never about me reaching orgasm," says Janine. 

Throughout their twenties, Janine says their sex life was "good, but mostly pretty vanilla". 

Watch: ‘Australia’s most sexually active woman’, Annie Knight, talks to Mia Freedman on No Filter. Article continues after the video.

Video via Mamamia.

When Janine was 44, after more than two decades together, her husband left her. Six months later, she joined the dating apps and decided to have a sexual 'yes' year. That's when things got interesting. 

There were some big moments, such as sleeping with multiple men at once and visiting a dungeon (although she didn’t participate), but the biggest change was a newfound love of sex, and what good sex actually meant. 

"I'd never really performed oral six during my marriage, used to literally make me want to vomit, but I started to actually enjoy it, along with anal and other things.  

"It was almost like therapy for me, it helped me enjoy sex again, and I felt comfortable, confident and sexy again."


Some of Janine’s biggest discoveries were "orgasms, vibrators, squirting and just the pure joy of sex."

At 46, Janine entered her first proper relationship since her marriage ended. The biggest difference sexually? This man loved to see her orgasm. 

"There was nothing sexier to him than seeing me orgasm, over and over and over again.  I think we counted 20 orgasms in one session.

"We could spend days in bed, just f***ing and eating."

While the relationship didn’t last, it opened Janine’s eyes to what was possible.

"To have sex with someone who loves you and thinks you are the most beautiful and sexy person on the face of the earth is so empowering."

Janine is now happily single and celibate but says she still loves sex and looks forward to her next experience. 

"I am more confident in my 40s, I know what I'm doing and I know what I like, I love it and I know I'm good at it."

"I had my first g-spot orgasm after 40."

Growing up, Lacy* felt a lot of shame around sex and sexuality. 

"When I met my first love, I really enjoyed sex with him and kissing and touching but I never liked or received oral sex."

It was another year later before she experienced an orgasm — which she gave to herself. 

That said Lacy and her husband did have an active sex life during their 15 year marriage. It just wasn’t anything outside of the box. 


"After my separation, sex changed. It's like something switched on inside of me and I really craved sex.

"I had my first ever orgasm from oral sex after 40. I think that was very much a mental state for me and I couldn't let go enough to cum, or I’d worry I was taking too long."

She also discovered an unexpected love of anal play. 

"That started with self pleasure exploration and toys before exploring with a partner. That's something that was always a hard pass until now."

While she experimented with women and other kinks, Lacy found her biggest turn-on is genuine connection.

"Connection is one of the most important things for me in a sexual partner these days. I get wetter with my current partner than I have ever been in my entire life, I had no idea my body was capable of this level of lubrication. 

"I think as a younger woman sex was more an act put on to please my partner. To make them want and desire me and for me to please them. Now I am definitely there for my own pleasure as well as my partner’s."

You don’t need a divorce to make it happen.

For Nadia*, sex was enjoyable, but underwhelming during her twenties. While she'd always assumed her twenties would be her wildest years, it was a few years after her son was born, that Nadia discovered her best sex ever — with her husband.

"There was more time for us, especially at night. Initially, I struggled with my new identity and with my changed body, but my husband loved the womanliness of my body and that was a huge turn on."


From there, things kept getting better. And with a renewed love of sex, and understanding of her own body as a woman, not just as a mum, came an increase in confidence that served to improve Nadia's sex life even more. 

"My renewed confidence has led me to being open to more 'kink' or 'taboo' sex. I have built a great sex toy box, dress ups, lingerie and a much more exciting repertoire.

"I feel more womanly than I ever have before. I feel connected to myself and my lover more deeply. I am excited for sex and often now the anticipation and teasing with texts or little touches/flashes during the day is almost as much a turn on as the sex acts themselves."

Nadia says she's no longer concerned about what people think, submitting to pleasure, and not what she believes would be socially acceptable sex. 

"With age our bodies soften and change but so does our ability to make more selfish choices and explore our pleasure. Alone or with a partner, there is so much more possible than the drunken fumblings of our twenties, the baby-making sex, and the rushed sex between job, life and kids we often accept as normal and the limit.

"The limit is actually your imagination and where you are comfortable going sexually."

Nadia attributes much of this to Gen Z's openness in breaking down stigma and challenges traditional roles within sex, as well as easily accessible information and sexual pleasure devices.

"It’s so heartening to know so many women now can easily jump online and buy whatever tickles their fancy.

"I’m having more sex than ever and I no longer worry about the tummy rolls, the messy hair or unimportant life stuff and just go with feeling good and being connected to my lover." Who just so happens to be her husband. 


According to experts, many women experience a surge in their libidos as they reach 40 and beyond, some just don’t have the confidence to discuss their new found sexual appetite with their partners. 

"Women often experience heightened sexual satisfaction and liberation in their late 30s and beyond," says Relationship Coach Jonathan Hartley.

“This seems to stem from their greater self-assurance, being more attuned to their bodies and desires, as well as a feeling of empowerment to openly communicate their needs. (Whereas) younger women often get trapped in their insecurities or societal pressures dictating how they ‘should’ behave especially where sex is concerned.”

After 40, women become more aware of their libido and what makes them sexually satisfied. Life coach, Tracy Horton agrees, many women experience a sense of liberation around what they want and what they like sexually.

The key though, is communication. Don't be afraid to tell your partner what you've been thinking about, and give them the freedom to do the same. In doing so, you may get to experience the excitement of new sexual discoveries together.

If you are in a long-term relationship, and aren’t feeling, there may be other things at play. 

"The main cause for women approaching 40 and not feeling sexual is the stress of their lives and the toll that takes on depleting their hormones," says Horton. 


"The familiar and the comfortable can lose spontaneity and surprise. Life can get busy and often our days are long and our lives are full, so we neglect the romance and sexual pleasure of our marriage."

That doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to pleasure and fulfilment in a relationship though, you just have to prioritise it. Give yourselves time to discover what you like and don't like — rather than trying to reignite an old spark, light a new one. 

"Long-term couples tend to develop deeper emotional intimacy over time. That profound connection and comfort enables more vulnerability during lovemaking," says Hartley.

Horton's advice? "Make time to have fun sex, close sex."

If you have a busy lifestyle, do it when you can — whether that’s in the afternoon or the early morning. Be open to solo experimentation too, and note what you like and don't like so you can let your partner know. 

"To any women thinking that sex is over in their 40s (whether you’re married or divorced), I would say think again," says Janine. 

"Leave your inhibitions at the door and just enjoy it, life is too short to not love f***ing."

Lacy agrees, and recommends spending time to get to know yourself and your own body. 

"The best is absolutely yet to come. Don't let anything or anyone hold you back from having the experiences you've always dreamt about."

*names have been changed. 

Feature image: Getty.