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Solitaire: The Intimate Lives of Single Women

From the Diary of a Single Woman: It is 15 months since I have had sex. I go for days, weeks, not even aware of this hollow in my life. I think of my hormones as dust motes lying around in the corners of my body. Then suddenly desire and irritation, and heavy erotic dreams. I awaken one morning soaked in sweat, the mirage of sexual encounter fading even as I grope for it with my eyes shut. I will stop at the sex shop tomorrow and get a vibrator. Or a dildo - there, I've said it.

Beata: "The biggest problem I have with being single is other people's problem with my being single"

Trudy: "The day I got married, I knew I would not stay married. It sounds so cruel now, but back then, I just thought, Well. I want to have children. That was the priority. The children were much more central to me than the husbands were."

Marie-Claire: "There is not a single Mr. Right. There are people I can relate to, and it's up to me and him to create the relationship. I haven't fallen in love with my current boyfriend. I am happy to be in the relationship, I'm happy to have a man in my life. He's not the man for me though..

I feel very nourished by various relationships in my life - either with women or men - who are friends, who are sustaining me, allowing me to feel connected."

Fran: "I always had affairs with married men. I enjoyed sex for the sake of sex. I always had one for tennis, one for sex, one for this, one for that. I never had sex with married men whose wives I knew. It was through the classified ads, and I have no qualms with it. I probably helped their marriages more than anything."

Karen: In her late 30's, she had a love affair with a woman. It lasted 5 years. They were on the same basketball team and shared the same interests in photography and music. Then came the sex, which she told me she did not want at all. She felt at the time that it was wrong , and that she was very naïve, that she was coerced into it. She spoke of it with shame rather than joy.

Sharon: "A lot of my women friends are in similar circumstances. We went to university to improve ourselves, and the student loans were the only way to do it. Some have declared bankruptcy on their student loans. Others have children from previous marriages, so they have support. Women in my situation are basically invisible."

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