The best sex of my life
They are the sexual encounters that linger long after the event, the memorable moments of joy when you suddenly see what all the fuss is about – here 10 people share their bliss
Margaret Hunter, 88
I was 26 and a week away from marrying John. We’d been engaged for three years and sex scared me senseless because I was desperate to try it, but I’m from “the good girls don’t” era. I was more worried about being an unmarried mum than dying of flu when it hit our village after the war. My father had done up a tiny cottage for us on his farm and both sets of parents gave us furniture. We went over with big bags of linen and pots and pans to make sure that everything was ready for moving in after our wedding. We were making up our double bed and we fell on each other. It was such a glorious feeling I was nearly crying and so was John – it was the first time for both of us. And we’ve never really stopped since.
Gary Roberts, 42
Our marriage was falling apart and my wife had an affair. That shocked us both into realising we wanted to be together and we went for counselling because it was something I’d done that pushed her towards the other guy. I knew that but I couldn’t get him out of my head and our sex life was dead – we’d start cuddling and I’d get upset or angry and start dragging up the past. I knew I was doing it but I just couldn’t seem to stop. Then we went to see a comedy one night and laughed so much we were crying and we walked home with our arms round each other, talking about our favourite comedies. We got into the house and it was dark and she went to put the kettle on and I just grabbed her and we made love on the kitchen floor and it was like everything worked again.
Kate Murray, 41
Sex never meant that much to me. I’d had a couple of boyfriends and we sort of jogged along – I got engaged to one and we started half-heartedly planning a wedding but neither of us was devastated when I ended it. Then I had a few years just concentrating on my career and friends but when I met Janie at a wedding I was completely swept off my feet. I had never thought I was gay and in a strange way I still don’t – it’s just that Janie is meant for me. There were no nerves or anything and I’ll never forget our first night together because it just confirmed that we were meant to be together. Sometimes I wonder how I ever thought sex didn’t matter because it’s the glue that keeps us together no matter what else happens – and we fight a lot!
Kevin Barker, 29
I was 16 and at a festival. The first couple of nights had been too much of everything and I was recovering from a blinding hangover when I met Magda. She was a few years older than me and I forgot about my friends and spent the day with her before dragging her back to meet them. I didn’t need any more drink and I was full of myself, convinced I was in love. She took me back to her tent and we spent the night together and I thought we’d at least spend the rest of the weekend together but she moved on to someone else and I was shattered. I still think about her and no sexual experience has ever lived up to that hot sweaty night in her little tent – if I ever meet another woman who makes me feel like that, I’ll marry her.
Heather Brown, 60
When I had breast cancer 15 years ago my husband couldn’t cope. He left me for a younger woman a year later and my self-esteem was rock bottom as I’d put on weight and didn’t care how I looked, especially as I retired early due to ill health and just sat around doing nothing. Five years ago, my best friend had had enough and yelled at me to get a grip and get sorted. I was so stunned I obeyed her, losing three stones and taking up jogging in a big way. I started seeing a lovely man and I was so nervous as I’d only ever slept with my husband, but my first sex in 10 years was wonderful and we saw each other for a while. I’ve had a couple of relationships since then and never lost my confidence in sex again.
Grant Earl, 38
I was desperate to take my girlfriend on a cycling tour of the Outer Hebrides as I’d done it before and the weather was spectacular. She had to be talked into it and when it started raining and didn’t stop I felt guilty and she was totally fed up. We were pitching our tent in sand dunes in a brief spell of no rain and I was wittering about how beautiful it was with the sun shining when there was a crack of thunder and the heavens opened. She started laughing, stripped off her clothes and boots, threw them into the tent and stood there naked with the rain bouncing off her. My mouth was hanging open in shock until she said “Get your kit off now!” and we didn’t even make the tent. The sand got everywhere and she chucked me when we got back, but that’s still my best sex ever.
Thomas Ryan, 57
I’d known I was gay since I was very young but was paralysed by the thought of telling my parents as they are devout Irish Catholics. For years they actually thought being gay was an illness and I just couldn’t tell them – it made me feel ill when I thought of their reaction. All my friends at university knew I was gay and I was madly promiscuous but always felt so guilty. I was in my late 30s before I finally told my parents and they were amazing, totally accepting. It was like having my whole life smoothed out. The next time I had sex it was with the man who’s still my partner and I’m sure feeling so comfortable with myself at last played a huge part in finally enjoying sex and being ready for a relationship.
Lorrae Bradbury, 26
Sex was always a performance to me. An interactive, contrived production inspired by women’s magazines that told me to “unleash my inner sex kitten”, learned from porn’s exaggerated movements and sounds, and practised during sex that lacked connection. Until I slept with him. He said, “You don’t have to do that just because I like it. Do what you like.” I realised “what I like” never occurred to me. It only occurred to me to be someone else’s fantasy. To be the hot story they told their friends and the memory they recall when they are alone. At first, his words sounded like just a sweet, gentlemanly gesture designed to make me comfortable. But as he looked at me deeply, I eventually saw that the porn-star persona I’d so carefully constructed had never been necessary. I could be me. Just me. Intimate, imperfect and genuinely present with him.
Emily Yates, 24
I’m a travel writer, so spend a lot of time away from home. It’s often hard to keep the romance alive without it involving jet lag, time-delayed Skypes and heavily filtered “wish you were here” photos. I’m also a wheelchair user and it took me a while to accept myself, flaws and all. I’m single now, but whenever I landed back on UK soil was when we’d have our best sex. The anticipation would have me grinning on the flight home, and the long drive back up north from Heathrow would give us time to debrief on our months apart and get to know each other again, almost like it was the first time. There’s nothing quite like “I’ve missed you” sex (as long as you mind the sunburn).
Our teenage daughters are patronisingly rude about how boring we are, especially as I’m a minister. Twenty years ago we were at a church camp in the US and spent our last night with another minister and his wife. Apparently she never drank but we had two bottles of wine between us and she got really amorous with him in front of us and they stripped off and had sex, so we did the same. It wasn’t a foursome, just in the same room. We couldn’t look at them the next morning as they drove us to the airport. But every time the girls go on about how boring we are, Liz and I have a snigger because we both have the same memory and the girls know we’re hiding something. But we’ll never ever share that one with them.
As told to Joan McFadden