Women Write About Sex
and Intimacy After Fifty
Edited by Marcia Meier
and Kathleen A. Barry, Ph.D.
It sheds light on a demographic often unmentioned when the talk turns to sexuality, featuring works by women who are published writers and also mothers, grandmothers, playwrights, professors, teachers, psychotherapists, copywriters, city council women, and a model for a foot fetish website.
They come from places as diverse as Australia, California, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington, Wisconsin, and more. Many have prestigious fellowships and Pushcart Prize nominations and other awards to their names. They range in age from 50 to 87.
The book is divided into four sections: Herbs (enticement), for sexual playfulness, flirting; Pomegranate (tasting), for dating and trying out different things; Bread (sustenance), for satisfying and/or long-term relationships; and Figs (sweetness), for the sweetness that can come from a delicious and loving bond that is both sexual and intimate.
Sexuality and intimacy are the key themes uniting the essays and poems of Unmasked. The pieces range from erotica to musings on simple love – both heterosexual and lesbian. The writers also reflect the full spectrum of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
“In a society that reveres youth – and particularly young, sexy women – little attention is paid to sex and intimacy among women in later life,” says ‘Unmasked’ co-editor and Weeping Willow publisher Marcia Meier. “ ‘Unmasked’ gives women from around the world an opportunity to share their stories.”
The interest does not surprise Meier. “For every story of a harried mother who turns her husband away at night, or the older woman who long ago lost her libido, there are legions of others whose sex drives match those of men,” she said.
Recent studies have found that:
60 percent of women 50 to 59 are sexually active
Almost 50 percent of women in their 60s are sexually active
Nearly 30 percent of women over 70 are sexually active
Those not sexually active listed lack of a partner or partner with an illness as the main reason
“Yet, other than a smattering of ‘how-to’ magazine articles and some academic books, there is a dearth of personal writing about women, sex and intimacy after 50. This collection of essays and poetry is meant to bring post-50 sex out into the open, to proclaim it is important, it is natural and healthy and, for some women, it is absolutely necessary,” Meier explained.
Unmasked is intended to surprise, inform, and encourage all women 'of a certain age' to (re)discover their sexuality.
“Sex for women after 50 is invisible for the same reason that contraception, abortion, and sex between two women or two men has been forbidden: sexuality is supposed to be only about procreation. This lie was invented by patriarchy, monotheism, racism and other hierarchies. Sexuality is and always has been also about bonding, communicating, and pleasure. Unmasked helps to restore a human right.”
– Gloria Steinem
"If this is the year of women finally claiming their place of power in the social, sexual, professional, and political hierarchies, then Unmasked practically shouts, '#ustoo!'"
– Sharshine Roshell,
Santa Barbara Independent
"(T)here’s a diverse array of perspectives here, each unique enough to keep readers intrigued. A refreshingly blunt chorus of older women’s voices."
– Kirkus Reviews
“Insurgent, poignant yet humorous, the tone of the pieces drawn from the 2017 Weeping Willows Books publication of Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty are reminiscent of Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking Vagina Monologues… Like the V-Day movement spawned by Ensler’s work, "Unmasked Live" deserves to become an annual tradition that draws women (and men) of all ages together to emancipate our selves and each another from damaging cultural norms and to celebrate feminine sexual expression.”
– Beth Pitton-August
The Women Behind Unmasked
About the Unmasked Editors:
Marcia Meier is an award-winning writer, developmental book editor, and founder and publisher at Weeping Willow Books. Her latest book of poetry and photography is “Ireland, Place Out of Time” (Weeping Willow Books, 2017). Her other books include “Heart on a Fence,” (Weeping Willow Books, 2016), “Navigating the Rough Waters of Today's Publishing World, Critical Advice for Writers from Industry Insiders” (Quill Driver Books, 2010) and “Santa Barbara, Paradise on the Pacific” (Longstreet Press, 1996). Her web address is www.marciameier.com.
Kathleen Barry, Ph.D., has been a licensed psychotherapist in California since 1995 and specializes in working with individuals as they face the crossroads of major life transitions. She has published a variety of writings about women, empowerment, grief, and sexuality at www.whispersofwisdom.com.