Have you been on the singles scene as a woman over 50? There are all sorts of ways you can go about it. But even if you are happily married, you may find the book Fifty First Dates After 50: A Memoir by author Carolyn Lee Arnold revealing as she describes her journey in alternative lifestyle dating to find a deep connection with a future life partner.
I interviewed Carolyn in the video below
Please watch it to learn more about her perspective on love and her preference for open relationship dating.
Open relationship dating may be completely the opposite of what you have experienced and definitely isn’t for everyone. However, if you have an open mind, you will learn relationship-building tips that could help you find romance in later life or spark the long-lasting relationship you are currently in.
What is open relationship dating?
Carolyn is a free-spirited woman from the Bay area in Northern California who, like many Baby Boomer women, experimented with sex as a young woman. At one point, her conservative parents sent her back East to a boarding school because they were concerned that California’s lifestyle was too “wild.” Little did they realize that during the late 60s and 70s sex, drugs, and alternative lifestyle living were everywhere.
She became involved in the feminist movement and took part in rallies for women’s rights. For 18 years she identified as a lesbian because she thought the men during that time period weren’t very exciting or evolved.
But years later, as men became more enlightened. she began to find them interesting again. She now identifies as bisexual.
The Bay Area has always been a hotbed for alternative lifestyle living and it was there that Carolyn became involved with the Human Awareness Institute (HAI) which leads workshops in love, intimacy, and sexuality. It’s a global self-growth organization that teaches self-acceptance and how to see the good in others as well as spiritual practices to create deeper connections between people.
Many of the workshops are clothing optional to help people feel more accepting of each other’s bodies and to fully embrace their inner beauty. They hold events and parties where like-minded people can meet up with each other and connect in whatever way they feel comfortable, including sexually.
Carolyn has also been involved with Tantra groups and other relationship-oriented workshops.
Why fifty first dates?
If you met Carolyn in her ordinary life when she was working as a statistician and researcher for a community college, you probably wouldn’t have had an idea she was involved with alternative lifestyle dating. She kept her two lives separate.
After ending a seven-year relationship with a man she met at HAI who she called her Buddhist Beachboy she decided to embark on a project to go on fifty dates to find someone who would be her life partner.
In statistics terms, the number 50 is considered a good sampling number.
Her book describes her encounters that consisted mainly of men she met at HAI. And, just so you know, much of it is explicit. Even though you may not want to approach dating in the same way as she does, Carolyn recommends finding men who have taken a relationship course of some sort. They are more likely to respect your boundaries and be more sensitive to your needs.
Is monogamy for everyone?
Many of the men Carolyn dated for her project were HAI members who embraced alternative lifestyle dating which promotes open relationships. Sometimes she would borrow men who were married or had girlfriends to “sample” with their partner’s enthusiastic permission. It was a way to help her find the type of man who would be an ideal primary partner.
In the interview, Carolyn mentions that her years as a lesbian gave her tools to complete her project. She had learned it was important to be financially independent and on her own no matter what kind of relationship she was in. Although she was seeking a life partner, she wanted someone who had other things to do and other interests. That way she could go back to her space if she wanted to, or sleep with her partner when she chose to.
If either partner wanted to “play” with a friend, that was okay too.
At one point during her project, she felt like she had exhausted the men from HAI to date and put out a personal ad describing herself as someone seeking monogamy. One of her lovers read her ad copy and told her, “You’re not monogamous.” Monogamy isn’t necessarily a natural state in humans.
Her fifty dates journey took place from 2008-2010 starting when she was 58 years old. She is now in her late 60s.
I won’t tell you how the book ends but even if living an alternative lifestyle like Carolyn’s isn’t for you, you can learn more about open relationship rules and how people who embrace it enjoy their sexuality in later life.
Please watch our video interview here to learn more of Carolyn’s insights and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.