As one of the only non religious celibacy experts UK she joined journalist and broadcaster Emma Barnett on her BBC Five Live radio show to chat about sex over 60. If you missed it and wish to catch up click the link.
The broadcast triggered a much wider debate on twitter @emmabarnett which got Shirley thinking. In this post she poses some important questions about our sometimes rigid views, our choices and our behaviour when it comes to sex and explains, as someone who practises not religious abstinence, the reasons behind this celibacy personal choice these days.
Shirley writes, I am an expert on celibacy and I have just taken part in a BBC live five radio chat with Emma Barnett about sex over 60 which I decided to do (celibate by choice for 15 years) because in my humble opinion and in my experience, the subject of sex in this over sexualized society has become over analysed, over done and as a result truly distorted, especially by young people.
You must admit regardless of what your take on sex is, this world has gone completely mad when thousands of young girls globally are being groomed, trafficked into prostitution, kidnapped off our streets in broad daylight to be traded and sold as sex slaves and young men are learning all they know about sex from online porn, distorted images of women gagging for it and criminal gangs.
Image Credits - Beth Walsh
I was born in the 50’s into poverty where with boozing came danger from older men. It was happening on the estate I lived on but was not talked about or spotlighted in the media. As a promiscuous teenager in the 60’s and 70’s where having sex was as common as having a cup of tea, I have had my fair share of being sexually loose and free, never really putting any value on my actions or considering the risks to my mental and physical well being.
I am with the feminists now at 60 agreeing that women like men should have the right to be sexually liberated, loose and openly shag around if they desire to but I also believe this is not what women truly want, if they are honest and not pressurised by their peers, their biological clock or men.
Females are wired differently to males when it comes to sex, primarily because they have a built in ability, an instinct or intuition to nurture bond and communicate in an intimate way with someone they love, they are natural mothers and carry new life around for months ready to build a nest and a secure place for their offspring. Men are wired, just like in nature to happily spread sperm with more than one partner and don’t need, in my experience as a woman and a life coach, the same bonding, security and intimate communication that females long for in a monogamous relationship.
We have all had a one night stand when the booze wears off and the walk of shame beckons, the memory of the moment of ecstasy fades and the text doesn’t arrive to say “I love you” or “when can I see you again” never mind “ thank you”, if we are honest it's the worse feeling in the world. So to imagine a world where everyone just has sex with no commitment or thought, creates what we are experiencing right now, a lot of very unhappy, unfulfilled people, sexual Armageddon.
In my opinion as an older and wiser, experienced, happily celibate not religious female, it is time we had the debate in the open and not about whether it is right to have sex over 60 but let’s ask the question, Is it right to have sex without understanding the way it can damage and affect your whole life and emotional stability, if abused and not seriously considered?
I am not a prude in fact quite the opposite but having loose sex without some kind of commitment, knowing that at least the man in question likes you and wants to see you again would be a start, can only leave any female feeling used, unhappy and not confident in herself going forward, not to mention potentially vulnerable to catching an unhealthy sexually transmitted disease that can last a lifetime.
Sex like any other pleasure should be fun, satisfying and safe. Creating an intimate private sanctuary where both parties benefit and feel content, secure, confident and more than anything happy and sure why they are participating is the only way to healthy intimacy.
So I say always tell everybody I coach, particularly the women
“Always do the deal before you do the deed.”
If you don't have open lines of communication you have no business getting in to bed. So Ladies before you have sex with him for the first time try looking him in the eyes and asking this question,
“Are you using me right now or are you my boyfriend committed to monogamy?”
Chances are he will immediately lose his erection and it's unlikely he will be able to lie in the moment.
By asking the right questions and listening to the response you will more than likely protect yourself from that painful period afterwards when having given yourself you have to do the chasing and never hear back.
As a businesswomen I can tell you with clarity it is not possible to do a deal about anything when you are off your face in cloud cuckoo land, so never be so drunk or high you are not in control of such a massive life choice like giving yourself to someone else, especially a complete stranger. Get back in control when it comes to sex and give that level of intimacy, your ultimate gift, back the value it deserves, your highest prize only reserved for the very very best.
Is it grooming or unwanted pressure when a man brings a gift on a first date, pays for the drinks all night, buys dinner then drives you home before hoping for sex in return or is this what you expect him to do because you are worth it without giving anything in return except the pleasure of your company?
Should you go dutch on the first few dates so you get to know each other on an equal footing without an obligation on either part to have time to decide if there is something more there than just a physical attraction? We all know looks fade in time and that tingly excited feeling when you first meet someone becomes something else at the point when real life kicks in?
I believe we attract ourselves if we are being ourselves, not putting out the wrong vibes in order to just get a mate. Although being yourself may not produce the heady instant fix in the throws of passion it is more likely to produce a long-lasting friendship that will lead to something deeper and much more meaningful long term.
Sex has become an addiction for many and I believe many women give it up so easily because they desire the fairy tale happy ending so much they convince themselves that funny feeling inside, the love drug, is real and if they give themselves to him, he will want them even more.
Of course this is completely skewed thinking, is just not the case, the reverse being actually true.
How can a drunken, loose one night stand with a stranger ever create a long-term union? Remember the Prince is looking for a princess and not a slapper.
A promiscuous vulgar woman, (by definition) is never attractive regardless of her age or from any "rights for women" position. Free love thinking is where I know I went wrong in my youth as I ended up with chlamydia, one of many silent dangers when putting it about without thinking and often resulting in a long term problem in exchange for a short term fix, infertility.
These days I am focused on my purpose, my business is my passion and although I have chosen to give up looking for sex, I am open to the possibility it may be something I will do again one day in the future, never say never. I never imagined I would become one of the only celibacy experts in the UK often invited to speak on the subject and have found myself contributing to BBC World and BBC Woman's hour as well as being featured in the press articles and magazine features discussing the subject. I genuinely love my celibate lifestyle, so I know I’ll never say yes to sex again for the wrong reasons.
My advice to anyone if you are single, make a plan to give up sex for one year just like you would make a change if you wanted to lose weight and stop being pressurised by others into thinking sex has no meaning other than pleasure in the moment. When you begin to give sex back some serious meaning to you, never giving it up until you get a commitment back, you'll begin to regain some self-respect, which will make you feel better, especially if in reality it is love and respect you are actually hoping for long term.
Listen to older, wiser people you respect and trust who have the T shirt and you’ll discover the truth about sex and age is just a number. As we age we still have the same needs and desires as we do when we are younger, life is just more comfortable, relaxed and real, just as mature sex is with the right person for the right reasons.
Take back control of your vagina by questioning yourself to understand what a sexual intimate relationship with another person actually means to you. Ask yourself what your expectations are and decide what you can honestly accept when it comes to sex without monogamy.
Men love the chase regardless of what they say and I know it's a fact having been happily celibate for 15 years now and been pursued and desired way more in my 50s and 60s than I ever was in my teens, twenties or as a younger woman. I am living proof you can be attractive and desired, even in old age if you know who you are and what you confidently stand for without using sex as bate.
For Shirley her celibate lifestyle is personal choice based upon her own life experience and not motivated by any religious affiliation. Shirley is not religious. You can read more by following the links below.
The Sunday Telegraph
Take A Break - Australia
The Daily Mail
The Daily Mirror
Shirley is always happy when her personal celibate life story sparks a debate particularly amongst young people. Read The Benefits of Celibacy discussion on the Student Room.