Sex and the SMW: “Since turning 40, why have I become less secure?”

By Josie Brown

woman looking in a mirrorMy last birthday–the big Four-O–put me in a tailspin: about my looks, my relationship, about who I am and what I want out of life. Every wrinkle, and every sag freaks me out! It also has me less anxious to stand up for myself, even when I know I’m being played. For example, my current boyfriend was conveniently ‘out of town’ for Valentine’s Day. And some weekends he disappears with his guy friends. When he resurfaces, he will sweet-talk his way back into my good graces. I can explode, and threaten never to see him again; but then he pays me one little compliment (‘Honey, did you know your eyes sparkle like emeralds when you’re angry?’) and I melt like butter—until the next time he says or does something that makes me anxious. What’s happening here? Do I have a right to be angry?”  —Liza K., in Washington, D.C

Sadly, we women can be a needy bunch.

Then again, so are guys, just in a different way.  Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed that they’re always comparing shoe sizes—

But I digress.

If you’re wondering why you’re needier, it may have something to do with your crossing the threshold into middlescence: you know, that time of life in which you go from being called “Miss” to M’am.” You are no longer kittenish. You are cougar-esque. There is less spring in your high-steppin’ Manolos. The gravitational pull of the moon and the Earth now has your perky parts– cheekbones, bum cheeks, and breasts–plummeting downward.

Yeah, I know: OUCH. The last time you went through this kind of emotional upheaval, you were a gawky ‘tween in a training bra, right?

Is forty the new twenty? Sorry, no, despite our Baby Boomer desires to make it so.

That said; if you’re looking around for a paper bag in which to breathe into (or for that matter, to put over your head) don’t go there. Instead, consider all the reasons why your anxiety is unfounded:

  • You’ve lived long enough to know a jerk from a gentleman.
  • You’re still the same woman he fell in love with.

There’s an old saying in the South: “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” For most women, that honey is a compliment. And at any age, male or female, we take it where we can get it.

My vote: let him out of the doghouse. He’ll be back in there soon enough.

But if he’s spending more time in the doghouse than in your bedroom, lose the jerk and find a gentleman. That’s something you’re worth, at any age!

More Great SMW Articles
Finding Closure When a Relationship Suddenly Ends
Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Domestic Violence Hits Home for 1 Out of 4 Women
Are You Wasting Valuable Time with Mr. Wrong?


Josie Brown, SMW’s relationship editor, is the author of two snarky Hollywood novels: Impossibly Tongue-Tied, and True Hollywood Lies. Along with her husband, Martin, she is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Finding Mr. Right [September 2009]