The Daily Mail has a new piece titled The women who haven’t had sex for more than a decade: What it’s like to be celibate and why it’s all men’s fault. The article features three women who ended marriages or relationships between the ages of 38 and 50, and have not been able to find new relationships since.
Their experience isn’t surprising given the rapidly declining marriage and dating opportunities for women as they get older. Long time readers already know of the AARP study on late life divorce which found that women who divorced later in life (over 70% of those interviewed divorced in their 40s) very often ended up terribly alone:
Almost 9 in 10 men (87%) dated after their divorce, compared to 8 in 10 women (79%)… Among those who dated after the divorce, more than half of men (54%) but fewer women remarried (39%). (Page 39)
Many women, especially those who have not remarried (69%), do not touch or hug at all sexually. An even larger majority of women who have not remarried do not engage in sexual intercourse (77% saying not at all), in comparison with about half of men (49%) who have not remarried. (Page 6)
Over 60% of the divorcées the AARP surveyed hadn’t remarried at the time of the interview, and given the dramatic drop in women’s remarriage options as they age very few of them are likely to remarry in the future.
Even worse, sixty nine percent of the women who didn’t remarry said they don’t even get hugs. Ouch! The difficulty of even getting this small amount of affection from men came up twice in the Daily Mail piece. Susan told the Mail:
When friends complain about their husbands pestering them for sex when they’re not in the mood I can’t help but think: ‘You don’t know how lucky you are to have someone who loves you and wants to show it.’
‘My desire to feel a man’s arms around me and be loved, even briefly, is so deep that I’ve even contemplated offering just to have sex with one.
There must be plenty out there who would like a no-strings relationship…
Note that she says she contemplates propositioning men for no strings sex, and that there must be plenty of men out there who would be interested in having no-strings sex with her, not that she contemplates taking any up on recent expressions of interest.*
Suzie (a different woman) explains that while she still very much wishes she could have sex, she has at least found a way to arrange for a man to give her hugs:
‘My passions are still going strong, so I do look at men and think ‘Cor!’ but I’ve not met the right one to settle down with.’
Instead, Suzie, from Cambridge, has a happily platonic relationship with a younger man. She says she gets to experience the joy of having comforting man-hugs and even walking hand-in-hand with him on the many holidays they have had in places such as Crete, Italy and France.
This is brutal stuff, despite the Mail trying to put a happy face on the issue. Once again it reiterates the profound cruelty of the message that groups like Focus on the Family and secular marriage counselors are selling unhappy wives. Shirley in the article divorced her third husband because she “felt emotionally unsupported”, only to collapse on the street shortly thereafter due to a uterine fibroid tumor caused by her “promiscuous youth”. She survived the health crisis, but after fifteen years of celibacy she doubts she will ever find another man.
*Elsewhere in the article they explain that over the last 17 years Susan has been propositioned “a couple of” times for no strings sex but turned them down due to her high moral standards.
Correction: The women ended their marriages between the ages of 38 and 50, not 36 and 41.