Author and wellbeing guru Sarah Anne Miller, found herself in her 40s facing the prospect of navigating the dating scene as a divorced single mum. With just her two little girls to care for, chronic illnesses, and financial challenges, she was determined to escape the dark hole that she had found herself in.
Here, the Surrey-based mother of two, gives her honest – and amusing – account of how she approached post-divorce sex without kissing her wellbeing, self esteem and happiness goodbye…
“When I got divorced, one of my biggest pain points (apart from the absolute sh*t show of divorce) was the thought that I would have to have sex with someone who wasn’t my husband, who hadn’t met me and my body pre-childbirth/middle age.
I say I would “have” to have sex. No one had a gun to my head but it is a natural part of a relationship and I wanted to have a relationship post-divorce. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Pre-marriage I was in relatively good shape and the thought of having sex with someone new although nerve wracking was also exciting. It was not something that I dreaded! Self-neglect had not kicked in and I hadn’t birthed two large (9 pound plus) babies that had resulted in a perineal tear that required an episiotomy which they kindly put an extra stitch in (which I then had to have removed because it was too tight).
Childbirth, although the most beautiful and natural of things, can strip you of your dignity. Legs up in stirrups waiting for your perineal to be stitched back together is a draughty time with a lot of people just ambling past. To add insult to injury, the labour of pushing out two big beasts left me with some delightful haemorrhoids and a stomach that looks like a cat’s bum when I lean forward and swings in delight with my empty boobs that are a shadow of their former selves.
All the above were enough to put me off having sex with anyone ever again. It would be much easier to get a load of cats in and just accept my fate but I am not one to be beaten and I have only got one cat so far.
My rule for everything in life since I got divorced is accept it, change it, or leave it. I had to learn to take my focus off those negatives, accept that this was how my body was and do things that made ME feel sexy. A man is not going to notice any of those things unless you point them out to him (like I just have) and there is no point in having sex unless you are feeling it. Unless you feel good.
The art of sex (and life) is about pleasure and enjoyment. No matter how your body looks, you can find pleasure in it if you choose to. And the more pleasure you can find, the more pleasure your partner in crime will find. There is nothing sexier than a woman (or man) that is feeling sexy and if your partner judges you for your imperfections then he is definitely not a keeper! I had to work really hard on my mindset in order to get myself off the starting blocks when it came to having sex again. The thought of it terrified me. I had to find myself again first.
Back in the good old days (pre-kids) I was care-less but I was also careless. Now I care more. I care about feeling good. I care about the pleasure that I experience from sex. I take responsibility for the part that I play and I actively enjoy it. Because I worked so hard to get through that mental barrier the reward is so much sweeter and I savour it. For the first time in my life, I genuinely take pleasure in my body whereas before, sex would just have been a necessary evil.
Sex in my forties with a body that is not one of a young, nubile, shiny, penny has allowed me to find a peace within myself that I never had before. I have a wisdom now that permeates every fibre of my being and provides the lifeblood that ensures that happiness thrives in my world. Something that was severely lacking before.
Life is not easy. I spent way too long assuming it would be. The challenges that we overcome offer us the biggest reward. They are the gift. Without them we would never grow. Don’t shy away from your challenges, face them head on (with some tenderness) they are your greatest lessons. Sex feels good when you feel good no matter how you think you look. FACT. And the more you do it, the better you will feel. It is a huge energy booster and so good for your overall wellbeing not to mention your relationship.
Enjoy the pleasure. It’s free. Unless you are paying for it!”
Find Sarah on Instagram @theconsciouslifestylist
For more on overcoming the challenges and overwhelm of midlife have a read of Sarah’s part self-help/part autobiographical book Permission to be f*cking happy available to purchase now on Amazon in paperback at £12.99 or Kindle Edition at £4.99.
She also writes a blog about her lessons in happiness where she shares her journey simply to empower yours.
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