The Love Goddess: ‘Are You Still Sexually Active?’

Editor’s Note: Who is the wisest of them all? Who is more dedicated to your pleasure than anyone on earth? Who can help you when you’re going online for the first time to find love; or when your lover’s children hate you; or when you want to strangle your husband? Why, the Love Goddess, of course. She promises nothing less than celestial wisdom, heavenly sex, divine dating. Read on …

“Are you still sexually active?” is a question we’ve all been asked by some doctor or other; even I’ve been asked it here in the heavens, where celestial gynecologists should know better (everyone’s sexually active here, for eons). It’s rather being over 40 and being asked, “So, do you still enjoy food?” – a question, barring some hideous disease of the tastebuds, that makes no sense.

It always feels to me that the person asking the question hasn’t a clue about the nature of sexuality. Like Mark Sanford, who insists that infidelity isn’t really infidelity unless there’s penetration, these people believe that emotional and physical intimacy don’t count as sexual.

They do. In fact, I’ve found in my epochs of study on the subject that “emotional affairs” are as dangerous to marriage as any affair that crosses the Sanford line. (There’s a reason people say to each other, after a one-night stand that’s been found out, “But it didn’t MEAN anything.” Often, it didn’t.) Emotional affairs, though, conducted as they often are without guilt and shame, and sometimes without secrecy, can be explosive. In fact, my criteria for judging how long a marriage would last changed entirely once I learned about the power of emotional affairs, and the devastation such innocent connections, whose intensity grows precisely because sexual intercourse has yet to enter the equation, can cause.

So when I read yesterday that Nancy Price Freedman, age 70, writing in the “Modern Love” section of The New York Times about her relationship with her 78-year-old husband, was asked by a doctor whether she was “sexually active,” I found her reply far from merely sweet.

“Does ‘sexually active’ necessarily suggest wild passion?” she asks. “Or does rolling over in bed and kissing my husband goodnight count?” She admits that she knows it doesn’t count, not in today’s world, where erections can last for hours and penetration is more important than kindness.

But dearest earth girls, it does count. Passion is heavenly. Sexual heat is divine. But what keeps us going in a love affair are the Post-it notes saying “I miss you” from your lover who’s away on a trip. Or the “I adore you” that Jove writes at the end of every e-mail he sends me. Sexuality is bigger, greater, than sexual intercourse. What women tell me they long for, when relationships end, is the tenderness of sex; the whole spectrum of sexuality that includes the breakfasts, the weekends, the wonderful or terrible family gatherings; life with a dear, kind, warm friend. The one you enjoy sex and tenderness and food with – sometimes with heat, sometimes without – no matter whether you’re 17 or, in my case, 7,000.

Like all savvy goddesses, the Love Goddess has her own blog, which you can visit by clicking here.

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