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Interview with Marcia Meier about reading, anthology: Unmasked, Women Write About Sex & Intimacy after Fifty

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Author Interviews, Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on Interview with Marcia Meier about reading, anthology: Unmasked, Women Write About Sex & Intimacy after Fifty

More about the Reading on October 7th from 5-7pm:  

Editor Marcia Meier responds to a few questions about putting together Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty:

What was the initiating impulse behind creating the anthology, Unmasked?

Kathleen and I were both doing a lot of online dating several years ago—or rather I should say we were doing a lot of online sampling—and bemoaning the experience. We realized very few people talked about women’s sexual needs, especially women over the age of fifty. And women of a certain age were virtually nonexistent in mass media when it came to sexual desire. The more we discussed it, the more we were convinced someone had to reveal the truth: that many, many women love sex and intimacy, and that doesn’t change with age. An idea was born! And Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty is the result.


What was your greatest challenge when you created this project?

Two things, one was choosing from among all the really excellent works we received as submissions. There were so many wonderful submissions. The other was finding the time between our day jobs to edit the pieces and pull the book together. At some points it resembled herding cats. Once we had a draft manuscript, it was fun to think about how to arrange them in sections and how we might pair the sections with intriguing titles and illustrations. And we adore the cover!

The poems and essays are arranged according to category, and the section titles are something we are particularly excited about. It was hard to come up with something interesting, creative and unique, and I think we did. The sections are titled Herbs (enticement), for sexual playfulness, flirting; Pomegranate (tasting), for dating and trying out different things; Bread (sustenance), for satisfying and/or long-term relationships; and Figs (sweetness), for the sweetness that can come from a delicious and loving bond that is both sexual and intimate. Of course, sexuality and intimacy run through them all.

The pieces really run the gamut, from erotica to simple love, from hetero to lesbian relationships, and from equally mature partners to a couple of downright cougars. The writers also reflect a wonderful diversity of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, even though we don’t point that out in the book.


What did you learn?

Doing an anthology is a lot of work! We initially envisioned an anthology of essays alone, but when we decided to include poetry, the whole project just lit up. There are more than fifty contributors to the book, and one of the lovely realizations is that when it comes to marketing and promotion, if you have that many women rowing in the same direction, nothing can stop you. Oh, and we also learned that women are, indeed, sexual beings, and most have no qualms about writing about it.


Read more about it:

Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty sheds light on the “Invisible Woman”

New anthology of essays and poetry chronicles the sexual experiences of women over the age of fifty, bringing into the open the stories of a demographic of women often marginalized in a society that reveres youth.

Santa Barbara, CA – Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, edited by Marcia Meier, MFA, and Kathleen Barry, Ph.D., of Santa Barbara, is just out from Weeping Willow Books ( Women over fifty are “the invisible woman” in American culture. In a society that reveres youth – and particularly young, sexy women – little attention is paid to sex and intimacy among women in later life. Unmasked gives women from around the world an opportunity to share their stories. Readings, discussion and signings by contributors are scheduled in San Diego, on Saturday, October 7th from 5-7 p.m. at San Diego Writer’s Ink.

For many women at mid-life, this is a time of flowering and coming into one’s own, sexually and otherwise. Many older women love sex and crave the intimacy it provides. For every story of a harried mother who turns her husband away at night, or the older woman who long ago lost her libido, there are legions of others whose sex drives match those of men.

A recent study found that sixty percent of women fifty to fifty-nine were sexually active, that almost fifty percent of women in their sixties were sexually active, and nearly thirty percent of those over seventy were sexually active. Those who were not sexually active listed lack of a partner or a partner with an illness as the main reason.

Yet, other than a smattering of “how-to” magazine articles and some academic books, there is a dearth of personal writing about women, sex, and intimacy after fifty. This collection of essays and poetry is meant to bring sex after fifty for women into the open, to proclaim that it is important, it is natural and healthy and, for some women, it is absolutely necessary. Unmasked will surprise, inform, and encourage all women of a certain age to (re)discover their sexuality.

Women who contributed range in age from fifty to eighty-seven, a number are Pushcart award-winning poets and accomplished essayists, and they are from all walks of life and all areas of the United States—even Australia!


What others say about Unmasked:

“Sex for women after fifty is invisible for the same reason that contraception, abortion, and sex between two women or two men has been forbidden: sexuality is supposed to be only about procreation. This lie was invented by patriarchy, monotheism, racism and other hierarchies. Sexuality is and always has been also about bonding, communicating and pleasure. Unmasked helps to restore a human right.”

—Gloria Steinem

For more information or to purchase Unmasked, visit