Monica Sundberg is a passionate woman with the ability to create an intimate atmosphere of sensuality and through her openness has become a source of inspiration for many women. Through her warm smile, she took the Swedish people by storm with her participation in the first dating TV program in Sweden for seniors. In this interview, Monica talks openly about how you can enrich your sex life all through life and explore the world of desire where pleasure is an important part of well-being.
WHAT DOES DESIRE MEAN TO YOU?
Desire for me is very important because it's a desire for life! You can also have desire for many other things such as exercise, food and travel, but the strongest desire is the sexual desire. After all, it's the strongest drive we have!
HAS YOUR SEXUAL DESIRE ALWAYS BEEN STRONG?
Yes, my desire for everything has actually been there since I was young. Desire for me is also curiosity about life, which I have always had, and then desire has also come along with it. During the years I had small children, I was of course very tired, but I still had an exciting life and have always enjoyed meeting new people. I was a flight attendant, so I got to travel a lot and got a lot of pleasure from my fun job. The sexual desire I had to try to get in between. But yes, the desire has always been there. The disadvantage during these years was that I lost some contact with my body when I was tired and worn out and worked at night. I didn't always eat so healthily and gained some weight and wasn't as comfortable in my body. But my approach to desire today is about the same as when I was 25 years old.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY TODAY?
Actually, there is not much difference, but what is important is that you feel good and I do. It is also so important that the body gets some endorphins. I think that's very important!
HOW DO YOU GET ENDORPHINS?
You can get it through exercise or by meeting wonderful friends who provide a lot of positive energy and then, of course, if you meet a man that you feel attracted to, then it just becomes WOW! I like this excitement. And making out a lot! I have always said that I love making out a lot. It's so damn wonderful. And dancing! I think that's absolutely fantastic. All those things give you lots of endorphins that make you feel good.
HAS YOUR DESIRE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
No, not really that much. I've been quite free as a young person too. I met a guy when I was 16 and he was two years younger than me (laughs) and we hung out for five years but we were very...well, we didn't know anything about sex or our bodies. But we were still pretty wise because we got a book on sex positions (laughs) and it was a thick book with drawings of positions and I remember that his mother had to buy that book. We went through that book quite fast, until we were all sweaty, because we were both equally curious and we weren't at all shy of each other. I think I got such a good start in life with that. It has actually followed me throughout my life and has made me feel liberated and able to love my body. I think having a positive first sexual experience has shaped me. Throughout my life, my sexual experiences have been positive. I've never been subjected to anything I didn't want, and maybe that's unusual? I think I have also chosen the right men and maybe even had some luck of course. My desire hasn't changed; I've had it throughout my life.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR SEXUAL DESIRE ALIVE?
In a relationship, you actually have to work on that! Getting close, doing things together and surprising each other, and if you're short of time then you have to book a day a week or whenever possible. Some may need to watch porn and you can also try out sex toys or watch romantic movies. Trying to keep the sex drive alive is really important. If you're single, you have to take responsibility for feeling good in different ways. You can go out and dance and flirt and make out (laughs). You have to help yourself to keep the sex drive going and you can't lose it because then you get away from it in some way and then the desire disappears more and more and it can be difficult to get it back. Therefore, I think you should keep your sex life going with yourself. Try a dildo and sex toys. Also dare to tell your partner how you want it. The less sex you have, the less you actually want. You can almost get used to sex.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU HAVE SEX IN A RELATIONSHIP?
It varies how often you have sex and what your needs are. Some think once a week but I've had men who want to have sex 2-3 times a week but that would be too much for me (laughs). I can think 1-2 times a week, but it depends a bit. But it can't be once a month, that's too rare for me. Sleeping naked together is also very rewarding. It shouldn't just be sex. You also have to be able to have intimacy and lie naked together without always having sex.
HAVE YOU EVER LOST YOUR SEX DRIVE?
No, I actually don't think so. If I haven't had a partner, I have made sure to do it myself and have thus kept the sex drive alive. I've also been lucky or whatever, because I've always been quite wooed. It keeps the sex drive alive and also provides lots of endorphins in the body, which is very pleasurable and also keeps you young (laughs).
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO LUST AFTER YOUR DIVORCE?
I was 63 years old when I got divorced and immediately after the separation I thought that I had to do something fun. I went to Cuba with a friend and danced salsa and was there for 5 weeks and just gave it my all; this is my new life! It was salsa school during the day, then it was the beach and then it was salsa club in the evening. We shared a bottle of rum and sparkling water in the taxi to the salsa club and then we danced. We were completely crazy and it was so much fun! I was over 60 years old at the time and my friend was only a little over 20 years old and had a mother who was born in Cuba. In Cuba there is no age. No one asks about your age, it's all about your butt. We were out as two friends and we were both kind of crazy (laughs). I could write a book about that. When I came home, I moved straight into my new single apartment in Uppsala. I didn't know anyone in Uppsala but started going to a salsa school and there was a salsa club and fun parties, age doesn't really matter! Salsa is fantastic. It is sensual when you wiggle your hips and it is romantic music (laughs). I love to dance. In Stockholm, I go dancing at the club Soul Train.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR SEX DRIVE DISAPPEARS?
It may be that you want to have sex but your body doesn't, for example if you have dry mucous membranes. Then there is VagiVital AktivGel, which is absolutely fantastic for dry and fragile mucous membranes. Because if you have dry mucous membranes, you also lose pleasure. I use the gel regularly and have done a whole cure and now I run it once a week which is enough for me. You have to maintain the genitals as well so that it doesn't hurt and then the sex is so much better.
You can find VagiVital AktivGel for dry mucous membranes here
If you have difficulty getting an orgasm, as it sometimes takes a little longer as you get older, it's important to have fantasies. I always think that helps a lot. Maybe you don't always have to have an orgasm either, but I think this pleasure before when you make out is also wonderful and much of the desire is also in the brain. I think that if you have difficulty reaching orgasm, you need to tell your partner how you want it. You might also need to help yourself during sex, but I think that can be perceived as shameful for many women who feel that it is the man who should ensure that they have an orgasm. From the man's side, I think some may think that they can't manage to give her an orgasm without her having to help and then it becomes uncomfortable for him. This is so sensitive in some way. You need to talk about how difficult it can be for women to have an orgasm sometimes, and then you need to show how you can do it and what you enjoy. All women are also different and are satisfied in different ways and it can be difficult for the man to know how his particular woman orgasms. It's an interplay all the time. You have to dare to talk about it and also show how you want it. Take his hand, show him what to do and communicate a lot, but it's not always easy. Older men can sometimes have a harder time with that. You can also become very shy yourself because you notice that the man is awkward. Then you get inhibited yourself. It's difficult to get the interaction right. But when you notice that the man loves having sex and also loves the woman's body - then everything becomes much easier. If you've been in a long relationship, you can lose some of the desire for sex and then you can also feel guilty about not wanting to. The man may want it more often. The woman takes on the practicalities and everything that needs to be done. You can get tired and it's important to talk about that too. That you have an understanding husband who doesn't get angry or upset.
HAS STRESS BEEN ABLE TO AFFECT YOUR SEX DRIVE?
I felt stress during my childhood when we both flew, my ex-husband as a pilot and me as a flight attendant. It was very difficult to balance everything with life and children. Occasionally we worked nights on a flight and when we came home we couldn't always sleep because we had the children. But we plowed through that somehow. If you're positive, it's still possible. Make the best of the situation. You can't see only the negative. We still had jobs that we liked and children that we loved and it actually worked out. That's not what made us separate. We also both had a sense of humor. I think humor is very important in a relationship. That you can laugh under stress.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SHAME LINKED TO SEX?
Female sexuality can be shamed and women themselves feel ashamed of their gender or their desire. One genitalia smells a certain way and some men actually get turned on by it too (laughs). I think it should be pointed out. You shouldn't feel any shame about that. As long as you keep yourself clean and fresh. Then you don't need to feel any shame. And you should also not feel any shame about how you look, as all genders actually look different. I think we are throwing that out the window. I've realized that many young women have a lot of shame about their body and sexuality as many young women have contacted me and asked how I could be so liberated when I, for example, bathed naked in a waterfall on TV. That I dare to show my body. I think and hope that I have actually changed the mindset of many young women there and inspired them. What I am most happy about after this series is that I have inspired so many people to be free in their bodies. Love your body, how it looks and love yourself too!
DO YOU TALK TO FRIENDS ABOUT LUST & SEX?
I have friends with whom I talk a lot about sex and relationships. We all think it's a very interesting topic and I have a few that I can do it with. I often get others to be very open and talk about sex because I am so outspoken. I think it's a fantastically exciting topic. It is rewarding and interesting and you learn from each other as well. It's fun to discuss sex. It's part of life.
BY: Fanny Falkman Grinndal
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