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KatGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 03-Apr-14 10:30:44

Sex and the sexaganarian

Monica Porter has featured in the Daily Mail for bedding 20 year-olds at the age of 60. She tells us her story and describes how the media has focused on her family status as a grandmother, rather than her age.

Monica Porter

Raven: My Year of Dating Dangerously

Posted on: Thu 03-Apr-14 10:30:44


Lead photo

Monica Porter on being sixty and single.

When my 13-year relationship with my partner ended at the age of sixty, I was faced with the daunting prospect of living on my own for the first time; I was scared and I panicked. My knee-jerk proposal was to move in with my son and his family. The granny annexe beckoned. With my two boisterous grandsons around – aged two and five – I knew I couldn’t be lonely if I tried. In the evenings I would cook for everyone and we’d all sit around the table and be jolly. Sorted!

But as the weeks and months rolled on, I discovered I could actually do the ‘single thing’. And even enjoy it. I began to appreciate the new independence, the utter do-as-I-please freedom. So then came the question: what would I do with all this liberty? What next?

With two failed long-term relationships behind me – and a few miscellaneous disappointments in love in between - forgive me if I didn’t set out all starry-eyed to find Mr Right. I had lost my faith in such concepts. On the other hand, I was not about to throw in the towel when it came to having a bit of easy-going fun with the opposite sex. Why should I? Sixty isn’t very old anymore. I was fit and healthy, I looked after myself. So, like many others before me, I took to the internet.

I was not about to throw in the towel when it came to having a bit of easy-going fun with the opposite sex. Why should I? Sixty isn't very old anymore.

Online dating is the ultimate Pandora’s box; anything can fly out of it. And anything did. I came across a number of older men, some slightly dilapidated, some just dull. One or two whom I liked but who didn’t reciprocate my feelings. Then, when I found to my amazement that I was attractive to good-looking, engaging, bright young men in their twenties and thirties, I flung myself with gusto into this enticing area of human dynamics. I didn’t regard myself as a so-called cougar. Only as an older woman lucky enough to be living in a place and time when such excitements were possible.

It wasn’t always great, but it was often good, and in a few memorable cases, truly wonderful. Mine was a journey of enlightenment and I don’t regret any of it. That phase of my life is over now, I have moved on. But being a journalist and author, I can recognise a good story when I’m living it, and although older woman/younger man relationships are surprisingly commonplace in our society today (I was staggered to learn just how widespread they are) nobody has ever written a personal memoir on the subject.

I was expecting controversy at my racy revelations but it soon became clear that the most shocking element to everyone - general public and media alike – was that I had grandchildren. In every screaming headline the word ‘grandmother’, ‘grandma’ or ‘granny’ was writ large. So, let me understand. If I were a sixty-year-old woman without grandchildren would my story be less ‘sensational’? Is it not so much my age which raises eyebrows as my family status? Perhaps, despite living in such progressive times, people still view it as unseemly for a grandma to enjoy sex, instead of just padding about in comfy slippers and baking cakes.

In the story that I had to tell, the fact of my having grandchildren was purely incidental. And while I adore them, as indeed I do my children, I don’t see why I should be defined by them. We grandmothers can cherish our families while also experiencing other aspects of life; there is room for it all. So let’s get the message out.

Raven: My Year of Dating Dangerously, by Monica Porter, is out now through Thistle Publishing, £9.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook. You can purchase a copy from Amazon.

By Monica Porter


Anne58 Thu 03-Apr-14 10:37:27

I think that we are often labelled by our relationships to others, so & so's wife, A & B's mother etc, rather than just being seen as a complete being.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 03-Apr-14 10:46:46

On the surface, it sounds very nice. But there would be physical drawbacks with an ageing body, especially if you had had a late vaginal birth. Might not be fair to put the poor young man through all the biological stuff involved with later life sex. Could put him off for life be a shock to him.

I don't think I would feel the need to announce it in a newspaper. Worrying about the neighbours behind net curtains would be bad enough.

Personally, I will just drool admire from a distance. (72 might be pushing it a bit)

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 03-Apr-14 10:48:51

What sort of a "generian" are you in your seventies? confused

Elegran Thu 03-Apr-14 10:51:18

Septa, jings (no, not septic, and certainly not contra-ceptic)

gillybob Thu 03-Apr-14 11:05:08

I have to say that as a mere 52 year old I find the idea of sex with a 20 or 30 year old quite disgusting. Not because I am ashamed of my body (I am not) or because I would not be attracted to a younger man (we can all admire from afar) but simply because (as a mother of a son) I would be horrified to think that some woman in her sixties (older than his mother) was taking advantage of him and using him for sexual gratification. Also like jingl said Why the need to announce it to the world? I am sorry Monica but I do consider you as a Cougar and I bet your family were just thrilled to read about your exploits (not). Having said that I suppose as a journalist you need to have some crap to write about don't you? so it might aswell be your own sex life.
.........and for the record many grandmas do enjoy sex, WE JUST DON'T WRITE ABOUT IT !!

Gross. confused

janerowena Thu 03-Apr-14 11:16:35

If there is an attraction, I don't think it matters what the age is. Why should it? I know what gillybob means with her son, mine is only just 19, but in France there is/was a tradition amongst ladies to 'borrow' their friends' sons, to initiate them into how to please a woman without any strings attached, and let them down gently when it is time to move on. I can't say I fancy that either, but my French aunt told me about it with a very wistful look in her eye...

I am in my 50s, DBH is ten years younger, I find I am not attracted to men under their mid 30s, basically because I like people who have experienced the world a bit and can have an informed conversation. I suspect we all vary. I don't like the cougar label - after all, it takes two to tango and it's good to think that women in their later years are still considered sexy.

And also, unless someone is brave enough to write about it, how will we ever know it happens? If something were to happen to DBH, I would be horrified to think that my sex life would be over. I like to hear that there is still a glimmer of hope!

Galen Thu 03-Apr-14 11:30:24

Chance would be a fine thing grin

janerowena Thu 03-Apr-14 11:37:13

I don't know galen - look at all those nursing home romances! grin My friend's mother has just entered one, was dreading it, and already has a boyfriend after only a month!

Ana Thu 03-Apr-14 11:39:45

But probably not a 20-year-old! grin

janerowena Thu 03-Apr-14 11:43:43

Well no.... grin

I would love to hear the 20 yr-old's side of it!

Galen Thu 03-Apr-14 11:47:32

Not in the nursing home I was incarcerated for 3 days following my shoulder dislocation! The only male was a visitor to the old lady with senile dementia opposite me!

KatyK Thu 03-Apr-14 11:48:37

There was a woman on TV this morning who organises sex parties for the under 45s. She has now started organising them for older people and said that, as long as they meet the criteria, people of any age can go along. She recently held the first one for older people and it was, she said, very successful. My tiny mind is boggling!

janerowena Thu 03-Apr-14 11:52:57

Mine too! grin In fact I'd rather not now have the images in my mind that that brought up! Handcuffed to the zimmer frame?

harrigran Thu 03-Apr-14 11:57:07

Yuck, 20 year olds nowadays are still children. Give me an old romantic any day grin

Ana Thu 03-Apr-14 12:04:15

Well, you did ask, jane! grin

Maggiemaybe Thu 03-Apr-14 12:40:50

Each to their own, I guess, but I must admit I would have been seriously worried about a 20 year old son who either couldn't find a partner his own age or actually found a 60 year old, however well preserved, more sexually attractive.

KatyK Thu 03-Apr-14 12:50:25

I think it's the Mrs Robinson thing. Some young lads are just curious perhaps. Maybe they see it as a feather in their cap. I've seen it over the years in places where I've worked, young men fancying women in their 40s/50s etc.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 03-Apr-14 13:22:42

Actually, on thinking about this far too much I think, if the occasion ever did arise, I might grab it with both hands. smile

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 03-Apr-14 13:23:44

don't be rude hmm

Atqui Thu 03-Apr-14 14:02:18

Think of all that extreme waxing they'd expect!!!

KatyK Thu 03-Apr-14 14:10:33

Can't see it ever happening to me. For starters, how would I explain to a nice young man that I actually leave more of myself in the bathroom at night than gets into bed confused

rosesarered Thu 03-Apr-14 14:28:17

Any young man who is drawn to a relationship with someone his Mothers age is a bit odd [actually more than a bit.]if the man was say 45 then that's different, still an age gap of 15 years but not too bad.
Were these relationships undertaken from a journalistic view, or did the author temporarily just go a bit mad?I imagine she found it great to be desired and it did her ego a world of good. However, how would we view 60 year old men chasing after 20 something women? hmm

Fairhair Thu 03-Apr-14 16:53:00

I'm not good at long term relationships so age doesn't bother me. I have had to refrain from the desire to pat them on the head! confused

rosequartz Thu 03-Apr-14 16:57:09

DS glanced at that article and said 'Yuck'. He is in his late 30s.