Share this article Share Her children were grown-up, so she spent her newly acquired spare time pursuing her career as a talented artist, playing tennis and generally turning heads. She was is both wise and beautiful, a bewitching combination. My male friends were all in awe of her, as were my girlfriends. She epitomised the fabulous 40s as an age where a woman could be at her absolute prime. Sadly, if this new data is anything to go by, those days are gone. Sarah says that when she hear the news about Sally Bercow pictured having an affair with her husband's cousin, her first reaction was surprise that she could be bothered Nearly two-thirds say they no longer desire sex with their partners.
In fact, more than one in four women aged 41 to 45 say their sex life is virtually non-existent. So what on earth has happened? Why are so many women my age so forlorn?
One key explanation has to be the fact that while our parents are living longer, we are also taking longer to become parents ourselves. Last year, the average age of new mothers in the UK hit 30 for the first time since records began. That means that more and more of us are having children in our mid-to-late 30s. By the time we hit the big , we could quite easily still have at least one child in nappies my son, for example, was three when I turned Those years of labour-intensive mothering, with all the sleepless nights and early dawns, not to mention toddlers, school-runs, homework, action-packed weekends, teenage tantrums and all the other traumas and tests parents face, have been pushed back by at least half a decade, if not more.
This represents a deep cultural shift. How could it not have a serious knock-on effect on how women feel in their 40s?
Lack of sleep takes its toll like never before. Joints ache, muscles slack, your back gives way. At the same time, your outward appearance starts to change. Where it used to take a hairbrush and a quick slick of lipgloss to look fabulous, now things require a little more effort.
Or they would, if only you had the time. Equality is a wonderful thing. But it means that now women, too, are expected to pull their financial weight in the family.
Most couples these days require two incomes to keep a roof over their heads. Unless she is very lucky, a woman must have a job. For younger women without children and family responsibilities, this presents few challenges. But once you enter your 40s, the added responsibilities of seniority at work combine with new pressures at home. Just as the boss is starting to demand more of your time, the children are getting older and requiring greater emotional investment.
Once again, the buck stops with the woman. Forget trips to the hairdresser, manicures, facials or even basic maintenance. Most fortysomething women I know fall into bed at night too tired even to clean their teeth, let alone embark on an erotic odyssey.
The only bedroom fantasies my generation like to indulge in are the ones that involve actual sleep. To this perfect storm we must now add a new element: Countless women now find themselves part of the so-called sandwich generation. Or as one friend recently put it: Which brings me back to the sex.
Or lack of it. When a woman has all this to deal with, sex is positively the last thing on her mind. Darkened room, yes; holiday in the Maldives, yes; large glass of red wine, yes please, very much so. In Sarah's opinion sex i just another chore like taking the kids to the dentist, booking the car in for an MOT or remembering to call your mum picture posed by models So to recap: You are mother, shrink, maid, gopher, cook, carer, accountant, cleaner and the only person who knows how to use the tumble drier.
Something else to tick off your endless to-do list: Is there anything more depressing in life than scheduled marital intercourse? So you do the only sensible thing: A complete and utter failure as a wife and a woman. The thought enters your head: And, really, who could blame him. And as you finally start to drift off, one final, bitter irony occurs to you.