Being Desired at Sixty

At the age of 59, I upended my life, ending a marriage of almost two decades and moving from the West Coast to the East Coast.

Cat Rambo
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readMar 26, 2024

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The parting was (relatively) amicable, a quality that had marked the relationship. My ex and I were (and remain) good friends, but we did not make good partners, and without both of us being willing to work on that, it was time to move on.

There were many components to the decision, but a major one was not being desired. Desire was something I had always been used to: I have a good smile and a sense of humor, and (IMO) magnificent cleavage. I’ve never been a girly-girl and I don’t wear make-up as a rule, but I know how to laugh in that deep-throated dirty way that sometimes perks a potential mate’s interest regarding what sounds I’d make in bed, and I give as good as I get when there. So it felt strange to not be desired, not to be perceived as attractive, for over a decade, and it affected my self image deeply. It still does, to be honest.

I am a creature who likes to touch and be touched, both affectionately and sexually. The pandemic brought home the lack of affection, made me confront whether or not I wanted to live out the rest of my days without it. So I raised the question of working on things or moving on, and in the end, the latter was chosen. It was a hard choice. It was a good choice. I look back at my journal entries from previous years and there was so much anger and sorrow and agonizing despair. Nowadays I find myself singing as I move around the house and life that I have chosen, through circumstances that I didn’t just fall into, as has happened throughout much of my past life, but ones I selected for myself.

After a year, when the divorce was final, I began to think about my love life. On returning to the Midwest and trying to reconnect with old friends, I’d had a bad encounter. Someone mistook my friendliness for romantic interest in him in a way that didn’t feel as though he saw me at all but simply was desperate to fill the woman-shaped hole in his life. It really cooled me on the notion of a male partner, because I didn’t want someone looking for a nurse or housekeeper or other type of caretaker. I wanted someone who wanted me for me. I didn’t feel particularly hopeful I’d find…

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Cat Rambo
Human Parts

World Fantasy and Nebula-nominated speculative fiction writer/editor. I read and write a lot.