Why now is the perfect time for stories about sex.

In 1348 when plague swept through their land, Giovanni Bocaccio and his friends left the town Florence for a villa outside the town, for some privileged social distancing. 

For ten days they kept each other company and told stories to distract and entertain themselves during a frightening time. They supported each other emotionally, and kept their spirits up with all kinds of stories. Some of them were improving stories, with moral and religious content. Some were satirical. The best remembered ones though are those that were the sauciest ones! The stories were collected in a classic book now known as “The Decameron”.

Medieval doctors recommended this kind of activity as amongst the best of practices for maintaining health and well being in a time of epidemic. 

Modern research shows that listening to stories can improve mood.

And we all know that telling your own stories can be both healing where the stories are difficult to recount, and positively life enhancing when the stories are happy ones you are bringing to mind. 

Knowing all this to be true, it seems more important than ever that Raspberry Ripple continues its mission of collecting and sharing life affirming, mood enhancing, funny, joyful and inspiring stories from women. 

Stories related to sexuality and being female which can raise the spirit, and bolster the health and wellbeing of our rather amazing bodies.

Do you have  a story from your own love life or sexual experience to share that might be interesting or fun or helpful for other women? 

It might be related to first sexual encounters, romance, funny incidents, embarrassing moments, beautiful healing moments, pregnancy or menopause experiences, things you wish other women knew…..the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few questions to get you going:

Who was your first crush?

What has been your most exciting sexual encounter ?(So far….!)

What is your most romantic experience?

Tell us about a time you ‘broke the rules’ and it felt great!

Is there “One who got away…?”

Is there anything you wish you had done when you were younger or would still like to do in the future?

Is there something you would like to do now in the light of your lockdown experience?

I invite you to share your story with us.

Email queenofrevelry@gmail.com

2. Vapourub.

Ms. U. Caliptus

We went to France and it was hotter than I thought, I remember. I hadn’t been anywhere hot for years, and it was our first holiday away with the children: they were one and a half and three. I had become an old person, I realised, since the last time we had gone away. I had packed a sharp knife wrapped in tea-towel, like I had always been irritated by my own mother doing on self-catering holidays, but now I was ok with it. It comes to us all, age and domesticity. 

I enjoyed the heat but I struggled with it too. It was a small flat with a surprisingly big garden, just rough grass, a clothes drier and lots of trees. I loved sitting under them, or feeling the grass under my bare feet. Smallest child was starting to talk a lot and husband sat for hours teaching him words, I liked seeing them together, naming things. It’s a pine tree. It’s a yew tree. It’s a whirly-gig. 

I had pretty much no interest in sex since having the babies. I only had the second baby because I went out with my mates to celebrate finishing breast-feeding the first one and got pissed. I didn’t miss it, or at least I didn’t feel like I missed it, because I didn’t want it, although on some level I must have. But it made me sad and anxious, worried I wasn’t ever going to want to again. I just spent so much more time than I felt I wanted having to touch and be touched, carrying children on my hips, wiping noses and bottoms. I felt like there wasn’t enough left of me. And I was frightened of my own body. I knew I had huge scars from an episiotomy that even made the midwife frown when she saw it so I daren’t look, and nothing seemed to feel right or be in its right place anymore. 

But I think the sun helped. Feeling it on my skin. Not wearing too many clothes and being able to be outside in my own skin after dark in that garden. Something seemed to wake up. 

My husband was keen, he always was, but even though I wasn’t quite as not-up-for-it as usual I was a bit put off because I had a cold, a really bad snuffle. It made me a bit irritable so we went to a French chemist and bought a very expensive jar of vapourub. It wasn’t like British vapourub, it was milder in scent and somehow more exotic.

So anyway I applied the vapourub and something magical seemed to happen. I mean, I am sure the lubrication of gallons of cheap French red wine and the sunshine helped too, but suddenly more than my sinuses started to clear and I began enjoying having sex again. It made me cry at first, as if I was letting go of something too-long-stored-up. And the joy of simply enjoying was wonderful. I looked forward to going to bed, to the hot nights and the deep sleeps that followed, of feeling adult when the children were asleep. All with the scent of eucalyptus.

And one night, I had been vaguely aware of flashing lights through the window whilst we were actually doing it. “Is that lightning?” my husband asked. “No, its just a security light from next door” I said, eager for no distractions. But afterwards, as we lay together, the flashes really were continuing pretty rapidly.  “Come on,  said my husband, that has to be a storm”. And so we crept out, barely clothed into the garden. Sure enough, the whole sky was lighting up, as far as the eye could see. “That’s some security light,” husband said. “It works for the whole of France.” And I chuckled as we stood together, watching it, breeze on our skin. And part of me felt like it was us, that were doing it, like it was our electricity. 

Then, just as we were packing up to go home, I dropped the vapourub jar and it smashed. And I panicked. I thought, what if that’s it? What if it all just disappears again, as suddenly as it appears?

But happily it wasn’t the case. 

It turns out French vapourub is not aphrodisiac after all.

69 Stories…

1. 52 and getting the hang of it….

When I was in my twenties I had a strong sense that everything worth experiencing was supposed to happen to me right then.

This was when I should travel, have an interesting, impressive, socially useful job, get a house, get married, have great sex (in that order) and have kids.

And actually I did most of that. I couldn’t comprehend at that point, probably quite understandably, that I had my whole life in front of me to do lots of interesting things. 

I travelled so much then, I have very little need to travel any more. I had my children which was fantastic. And now I’ve done that. 

And I could do all that thanks to a lot of privileged circumstances and for that I am deeply grateful.

To go back to the sex bit though, I now think looking back, that I had rather low expectations in that department.

As a committed Catholic I tried to stick to the ‘no sex before marriage’ ideal and very nearly managed it. I enjoyed and was interested in sex for a while. In retrospect knowing what I now understand about human sexuality, I can see that the time I would have most enjoyed sex might well have been those two years before I got married. And recently I’ve been feeling slightly jipped about that. I started to think of myself as I a person who isn’t that fussed about sex.

Nearly 30 years on I am in a new relationship. With someone I like, respect, trust, admire, am slightly in awe of, and am lustfully attracted to and enjoying sex with.

It’s not marriage, It’s not even a ‘committed relationship’ in that it’s definitely serious and monogamous, but this time the outcome is more fluid, creative, uncertain.

That’s a challenge for me.

What is a joyful revelation for me, is that at the age of 52 I am rediscovering myself as a sexual person.

I am thinking about issues such as: “What do I like? What happens if I do this, reveal that, ask for the other….?!”

I’m on the cusp of the menopause. I feel like for that reason alone (never mind any other flaws) I could be a liability as a new partner. 

But despite this, I feel in myself -whether it’s my age, biological stage, new set of circumstances- a refound confidence and strong desire to experience pleasure in sex that is new for me.

In the past I have found it so hard to know what I would like, sexually, never mind feeling able to ask for it.

But now I am.  Asking. Speaking about it out loud. It’s risky. I might embarrass myself but in these my middle years, I know that just because something is a bit hard is not a reason not to do it. There are so many things I would never have done -that needed to be done-if I had always stayed comfortable in my work life, and also in my personal relationships.

So here I go. I’m dropping the labels of “middle aged” “perimenopausal” “repressed Catholic”. I am embracing “getting the hang of it” and “ actually I do like sex in the right circumstances, thanks very much”.

I’ve got a feeling I’m not alone here.

I am encouraged by seeing lots of writing around which is talking about women and sex and also menopause.

So I plan to keep writing, telling my stories and those of other women who may be finding themselves re evaluating who they are at the “change of life”. Or stories from women that can help/cheer/amuse/inspire/heal other women in the whole vast, complex arena of sexuality.

I’m collecting stories in written form, recording during one to one interviews, even at small dinner parties for those who fancy it….

These stories will be shared (anonymously unless a credit is preferred) at live events, perhaps a podcast, maybe a book… This all depends on the level of interest and response.

So:

Do YOU have a story that you would be willing to share- anonymously for the benefit of womankind? Maybe you have a pal who definitely does….

If so please get in touch.

Welcome to Raspberry Ripple

“If our sex life were determined by our first youthful experiments, most of the world would be doomed to celibacy. In no area of human experience are human beings more convinced that something better can be had only if they persevere.”
― P.D. James, The Children of Men

I am a storyteller. I know that stories can bring entertainment and inspiration, healing and insight to those who hear them.

When it comes to women and our stories of an erotic or intimate nature, factual and fictional; I have found that sometimes it’s not that easy for us to hear or share such stories, even in private settings like friendship groups.

This blog is aimed at helping women do just that.

My idea is to write, collect and share stories, mainly true life ones about women and sex. Stories that are life giving, joyful, hopeful, inspiring, helpful, funny.

I am particularly interested in celebrating women’s sexuality in the second half of life and beyond…


If this is of interest to you – you are so very welcome.

ML: Queen of Revelry x