Though a resolutely noncommercial writer, I can’t help thinking that there’s a market just waiting to be overrun: erotic fiction for the aging. I can see, too, how some of the leading money-makers in this soon-to-be-burgeoning field will be able propose that theirs is a noble calling. (And notwithstanding that the nobility of nobles has long been overrated.)
Rather than accepting that sex ends at age 50 (or 40, 30, 15), these writers will be championing the carnal pleasures that await discovery in the long, insufficiently humid hours of retired life. (And notwithstanding that fewer and fewer people can afford to retire.)
Not to jump the gun or to be vulgar, but, for example, aged sex might be less focused on intercourse and set well aside the idea that the moment of greatest pleasure for a male is the moment of ejaculation. (And many elderly or “late middle-aged” people already know this and are not waiting to buy any self-help books about it, nor waiting to hear it discussed, as it will be, on Charlie Rose and the evening news.)
After e-mail-dialoguing about this subject with a female Montaigbakhtinian reader who has reached her eighties, . . . The next thing I knew my own aging fingers and laptop were combining to word-process the following very short story. As is all too typical with Montaigbakhtinian, the erotics quickly gave way to a rather less erotic sense of the “real world.” (Mea culpa!)
The Very Short Story with Lubricants
FemGlide, K-Y Jelly, ID Millennium, Pure Pleasure, mineral oil, Fresh Start, Liquibeads, Estrace, Estring—it’s always the same story, isn’t it, and even when you’re 60 plus: The woman has to do the preparing and spend money, buy products. The man just shows up with his member (or his apologies). Every once in a while you’ll get an “I’m so glad you thought of this!” while goo-ing up, but sometimes, the best ones, . . . like dogs following a scent, noses to the ground. They’re so intent on their own pleasure, on being able to come at least one more time—if they can, and if they can find some way, some set of positions, movements, dirty-pillowy talk, to get it to feel like it used to, when they were 16, . . . It’s always the same story, isn’t it, and even when you’re 60 plus—the woman may be amused, or not.
As regards our not so much more naturally sexy young citizens, we may be thrilled or displeased, but we are hardly surprised to find young female writers and filmmakers (e.g. Lena Dunham of Girls fame) describing and portraying in graphic detail what were formerly private and taboo sexual practices. Nor can we be surprised to hear this phenomenon connected with some kind of new freedoms—to express oneself (as a woman) and to openly enjoy (or explore) a wide range of sexual practices. Though not surprised, we can still be disheartened by Americans’ (and others’) persistent failure to realize the extent to which their public and private behaviors—as money- and status-seeking artists, and as pleasure- and connection-seeking individuals—are driven by the market and conform to what the market wants to buy and sell.