Mary Roach on Sex and Aging

Science Journalist and Author

Mary Roach grew up in a small house in Etna, New Hampshire. She graduated from Wesleyan in 1981, and then moved out to San Francisco. She spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor before landing a half-time PR job at the SF Zoo. During that time she wrote freelance articles for the local newspaper's Sunday magazine.

Though she mostly focuses on writing books, she writes the occasional magazine piece. These have run in Outside, National Geographic, New Scientist, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as many others. A 1995 article of herse called "How to Win at Germ Warfare" was a National Magazine Award Finalist, and in 1996, her article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest magazine category. Mary Roach also reviews books for The New York Times.

Her first book, Stiff, was an offshoot of a column she wrote for Salon.com. Her other books include Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

 

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: When are women at their peak?

Mary Roach: I wondered about that too because, you know, you hear about... Actually, you hear middle age women now. Middle age women, they're like... They are at their sexual prime. I think, personally, that I didn't find any... anybody who specifically studied, you know, women longitudinally, like tracking them... because you need to follow a group of women overtime and sort of, you know, see how they've changed from their twenties to forties.

I think what's going on, a lot of the time, is that, you know, by the time you get to your mid-thirties or forties as a woman, you know what you like and you know how to make it happen or ask for it or talk about it. The other thing going on is that you're... you know what... You've got your birth control situation under control. You're not anxious about am I going to get pregnant?

So you're just a lot more confident and use to your body and how it works and you feel more comfortable talking about sex, you've known your partner longer, maybe. There's all kinds of things, I think, that contribute to a woman feeling more comfortable with sex, more comfortable making it happen the way it works for her, and being relaxed about it as opposed to somebody who sort of just stepping out into the world of sex.  I don't know, hormonally, why that would be the case. I think, you know, your hormones...tends to have a decline in middle age, in libido, in hormone so I don't know why that would... I don't know why physically a woman in middle age would be... have a better sex life than in her twenties.      

Recorded on: April 6, 2009

 


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