As told to Cindy Lever
At 55, Susan Jarvis believes she is in her sexual prime.
"I’m very motivated to maintain my sexuality," she told Mamamia.
"It has become a priority in my life. I have realised when I’m sexual it puts a spring in my step. I’ll walk around as if I’m the sexiest woman on the planet."
Watch: Mamamia's sex survey asked Australia women intimate details about their sex lives and this is what they had to say. Post continues after video.
Married for nearly 15 years, Susan spent the last three years of that time celibate - no longer wanting intimacy with her husband, leaving her wounded mentally and physically.
"I was masturbating and taking care of myself. I hadn’t stopped wanting sex, I just didn’t want to have sex with him," she said.
"I retreated into myself and lost a lot of confidence."
Susan left the marriage and made a commitment to herself that she’d never be in that situation again.
"I’ve always been very clear with my partner about how I want to live my life," Susan shared.
"I don’t want to be my mother and the women of that era who ignored their sexuality. I understand the health benefits for me. I feel on top of the world after having an orgasm."
Susan has set herself a three-point plan to stay connected with her sexuality as she ages.
The first is a commitment to maintaining her sexuality for the rest of her life.
"I’m not going to let go of my desire," she said, sharing she always has a fully charged sex toy and lubricant at the ready.
The second point is to challenge and expand her knowledge.
"I want to keep learning about my body. My partner and I do the occasional online course and we went to a kink workshop. He learnt how to massage my vulva properly," she shared.
Next on Susan’s schedule is to spend time exploring tantric practices.
And she’s told her partner when they hit their 70s they have to start pushing the boundaries even further, which could include shibari or rope tying, role playing and BDSM.
"I like to keep talking about sex. We check in on a regular basis on how we are feeling and ask if there anything more we can do," Susan said.
The third is the act of actually having sex, but Suan stresses this does not mean putting unreal expectations on herself and her partner.
"We don’t put pressure on setting a minimum goal. If I’m home alone, I’ll self-pleasure.
"At least once a month we do schedule a session.
"Being sexual can be physical, but I also engage in daydreaming and fantasy and having erotic thoughts."
Susan also plans to continue her mission to advocate for ageless sexuality.
"Betty Dodson, an American sexologist, had a saying that death is the final orgasm, and I’d say to women please make sure death is not your only orgasm you experience," she said.
"A lot of women I speak to have become menopausal and because they don’t get the arousal anymore, they feel sex is over for them.
"There is a misconception that once you finish periods your body dries up and that’s it. But that is not the case.
"Your body is just not being driven by the hormones that make you want to make a baby, so you do need to approach sex differently.
"Arousal lives in our mind. The clitoris is just the doorbell."
Shortly after celebrating her 50th Susan opened her online store, The Spicy Boudoir, to address what she saw as a shortfall in the market for older women.
To compliment this, she has just started a free, once a month online women’s group providing a safe place for women to get together and talk about sex and relationships and provide them with resources.
"Many people aren’t in tune with their sexuality and their body. They lack that deep spark of confidence," Susan explained.
Listen to Sealed Section where Chantelle discusses the changes that happen to your body in your 40s and beyond and how to keep things working smoothly. Post continues below.
Being able to ask for anything in the bedroom, she said, allows her to be able to ask for anything outside the bedroom.
"The ability to do something outrageous is available to women now, as we see stories on people encouraging older people to spend money on themselves and indulge in their desires.
"Age brings confidence. We have hard won wisdom and battle scars from living – some quite deep. We need an outlet for those experiences. Some invest it in full time grand parenting or volunteering. For me it’s helping other women enjoy sex as much as I do."
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