Fantasy affairs, peacock feathers and pre-sex naps: Ooh la la! A frisky French guide to a VERY Bon Noel
- Mylène Desclaux, 59, has captivated Paris with her book for mid-life women
- Inside she discusses husbands who cheat and rules for dating younger men
- She shared an extract from Why French Women Feel Young at 50
- She advises taking naps to overcome laziness that can hinder sex life
- Mylène also explains the importance of having a variety of different lingerie
The French really do do it differently. Take the elegant 59-year-old author Mylène Desclaux, whose book of advice for chic, independent mid-life women, Les Jeunes Femmes de Cinquante Ans (or Why French Women Feel Young At 50), has captivated Paris this Christmas.
In the land of the glamorous Brigitte Macron — who, at 65, is almost 25 years older than her husband, the French President — Mylène’s book has struck a chord and zoomed to the top of the bestseller lists.
After all, when Desclaux found herself newly single at 50, she did not falter for long, but instead dusted herself down, dated for fun and seemed positively to relish her ‘second act’.
And yet, on this side of the Channel, her guide to a fulfilling and fashionable life in your sixth decade can seem a little, well, bossy.
Author Mylène Desclaux, 59, (pictured) shared advice from her captivating book Why French Women Feel Young At 50
Tips, for example, include changing your name if you think it ages you. Ditch Francoise, Genevieve and Mireille, she says — the Gallic equivalent of Linda, Brenda and Carol. And cancel your 50th birthday party because you don’t want everyone knowing your age.
The rules, in fact, are many. Don’t talk about the menopause, don’t date younger men, don’t ‘give in’ and put on weight.
And if you’re married but discover your man is having an affair, don’t get jealous or angry. Instead, ‘watch your husband struggle with his guilt and his trysts, which will turn sour over time, while you stay nice and patient’.
Most of all, however, she is very French — and frank — on the subject of fiftysomething sex.
Bien sur, says Mylène, it is easy to be sexy in your 50s! And, at last, this is a sentiment with which everyone can agree.
So for those of you seeking a very, ahem, merry Christmas this year, read Mylène’s advice . . .
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THE CURSE OF LAZINESS
No, the festive period is not conducive to plentiful sex. There are too many people popping in and out of the house, one eats too much and one is far too stressed. Trop de monde, trop de mange, trop d’agitation.
Sex when stuffed to the gills, while one’s aged maman sits downstairs and you haven’t finished the wrapping, is not pleasant.
But sex never goes away. Whether it’s daily, sporadic or fleeting, it is very much part of your fiftysomething life. In fact, it’s never so present as when it’s absent.
In any couple, a high level of sexual compatibility is desirable, but since we’re past the age for taking a roll in the hay in the afternoon thanks to a rush of hormones, it’s not vital. Average sex is easier to accept than average love.
Mylène advises fiftysomething couples to revert back to classic sex positions such as missionary (file image)
Once things are working, however, and Monsieur and Madame are getting along nicely, how often should the deed be done? Will his urges fit in with her migraines? And will Madame be feeling frisky when Monsieur isn’t tired or suffering a malfunction?
Those who are part of an official couple balance their sex lives according to the tyrannical triangle of libido, sleep and laziness.
You keep your libido healthy through love, fantasies and, if necessary, certain medical prescriptions. The issue of tiredness can be solved by going to bed earlier and taking a nap in the afternoon. Laziness is the most dangerous.
THE BEST POSITIONS
It’s good. We like it. It works. These are the three fundamental criteria for fiftysomething couples. We have to work with what we’ve got, both in terms of time and physique. This means we need to get back to the classics.
The missionary position is still very effective, but some of the more experimental variations should be off the menu. We’re no longer of an age to be viewed from below, for example, except in complete darkness.
Similarly, I don’t recommend positions exposing our knees to prolonged friction or bumping against surfaces like wood floors, seagrass or polished concrete.
Carpet is no better: you might think the soft wool would be comfortable, but neither luxury materials nor our joints are what they once were.
Mylène (pictured) advises using your imagination for extra-martial relations without telling anyone else about it
If you want to spice things up, come up with some accessories — but have them to hand before you begin. Once the engine’s running, no one’s arm is long enough to grab them.
Dig out a peacock feather, a violin bow or make-up brush and tell him to amaze you or make you squirm, just for a laugh.
But don’t leave your belongings lying around. Children, of any age, cannot conceive of their parents having a sex life. Discovering its existence is a form of torture.
‘ADULTERY’ IS OK
Yes, you can indulge in extra-marital relations.
What’s that you say? I’m talking about a form of permitted mental adultery, in which you invite anyone you want into your thoughts.
There’s a wonderfully playful aspect to this. All sorts of people you know can visit you in your most intimate moments through images or words. The local cheesemonger, the Turkish guy from the dry cleaners, the woman from the second floor, Brad Pitt . . .
Breaking these taboos isn’t so absurd. After all, who will complain? Surely not your partner.
Just remember to keep the trick to yourself.
Mylène (pictured) advises having lingerie that can be worn daily to keep everything in line in addition to matching sets that are reserved for special occasions
ORGASM IS A BONUS
Any woman who claims she hits the jackpot every time, that every shot hits the bullseye, is either a liar or insufferable.
An orgasm is a bonus. It’s normal to not always have one. What’s sad is never having that release.
At 50, my mother was already wearing a girdle. She also had enormous knickers that looked like they reached up to her armpits. As for bras, her conical, flesh-coloured ones looked like tepees to my young eyes.
These days, in contrast, a young fiftysomething will still occasionally wear a thong, even if she finds it uncomfortable. So she only wears them in certain circumstances: for dancing, with white linen trousers or a figure-hugging sheath dress.
Paradoxically, although it is excellent at eradicating VPL, a thong only comes into its own when it can be glimpsed or (even better) imagined, whereas the initial idea was to avoid any visible lines under your clothes. (Between ourselves, this can also be achieved with high-waisted knickers a size bigger than normal).
My lingerie drawer reflects my whims and is rather similar to the rest of my wardrobe: it’s 90 per cent composed of fabulous matching lacy sets with a built-in lack of comfort. The sort of thing we like (he likes), but isn’t for wearing during the day. They are reserved for special occasions.
The remaining ten per cent is there to be worn on a daily basis, but not seen, and consists of cotton knickers with little flowers, one size too big, which I ‘match’ with a moulded foam bra that keeps everything in line.
The result: at 50, boobs in good shape and no VPL.
Adapted from Why French Women Feel Young At 50…And How You Can Too, by Mylène Desclaux (Headline, £16.99).
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