Literary Libido Boosters

Why 50 Shades of Grey is such a hit with over-40 women

Literary Libido Boosters

There’s a reason why the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey (Vintage) is the number one book on Amazon, and it’s not because it gives women over 40 an amazing array of hair color options. This literary libido booster revolves around the improbable romance between virginal college student Anastasia Steele and young, handsome, super-successful Christian Grey and their super-hot sexual relationship. The sex is far from run-of-the-mill, and perhaps that’s part of the appeal for women who, at least in book form, are willing to go past their real-life boundaries. In case you’re wondering what those boundaries are, suffice it to say that Fifty Shades Freed, book three in the trilogy, features a pair of handcuffs on the cover.

7 steps to unforgettable sex

So what about 50 Shades has over-40 women so, um, excited? "An extremely titillating book like this slows you down and gives you a fantasy from the reality of your life, from taking care of the kids, parents, working,“ says Gina Ogden, PhD, sex therapist and author of The Return of Desire: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Sexual Passion (Trumpeter). “Also, in midlife women's bodies start to change. They feel they've lost desire for sex."

But, says Ogden, that’s often not quite the case. "What turned you on at 20 won’t necessarily turn you on at 45 or 50," she notes, and the key is to get in touch with what gets you hot and bothered at this stage in life.

"Because of physiological changes and the fact that our focus has shifted to all these other responsibilities, it takes longer to warm up to sex," she says. "We need to be led into it, whether it’s through reading erotica, a massage from your partner, or being romanced." She also points out that, after 45, a "quickie" might take about 45 minutes because, well, he may have his own performance issues, thanks to low testosterone. Wait too late in the evening and his package may only be ready for some ZZZs.

Ogden also recommends that you take time to look at yourself naked in the mirror and give yourself affirmations. "What part of your body do you love best?" she says. "Maybe your breasts, but they’re no longer perky. Love them for what they are. If you’re overweight, acknowledge that and affirm yourself as a being. Touch yourself, feel your hands on your own skin and where it feels really good." Communicate that to your partner, and you’ll have the plot for your own steamy novel.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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