What I learned from sleeping with eight men in a year after my messy divorce
Laura Williams was living her dream life — three children, a devoted husband, a Manhattan apartment and a country house — when her husband dropped the bomb that he was having an affair. The confession came out of left field. The pair had known each other since college, and had been married for 22 years.
“Our sex life wasn’t great anymore. There wasn’t really any passion between us. But I had expected that,” says Williams, who adds that she had anticipated growing old beside her ex.
She promptly ordered him out of the house, began divorce proceedings — and five months later, was dating again, making up for lost time.
“I was 47 years old and I expected to be with the same man for the rest of my life,” recalls Williams, now 51 and living in downtown Manhattan.
As she began picking up the pieces of her shattered life, she saw an opportunity. Because she had never really dated in her 20s, she wanted to make up for lost time. She downloaded Tinder, accepted blind dates, and uncovered a part of her personality she had hidden for decades.
“You now have the freedom to do whatever you want,” Williams told The Post about her revelation. “If you want to sleep with two men on the same day, you can. If you want to have a tryst in the middle of the day, you’re free. The only person who can judge you is yourself. And if you’re fine with it, screw everyone else.”
And for a year, that’s what she did, hopping in bed with eight men, which she chronicles in her memoir, “Available,” newly out in paperback release. Some of her trysts were afternoons of toe-curling lust on high-thread-count hotel sheets. There was a midnight booty call where she headed to a man’s apartment wearing only a silk robe under an oversize puffer jacket. An older man obsessed with oral sex. The well-endowed paramour who invited her for a Wednesday afternoon lunch, followed by a quickie.
But she also had a few misses. She recalls one date where a man invited her to come to Brooklyn for a midday cafe meetup. He met her at the subway and invited her back to his place for a cup of coffee. After a round of Folgers, the pair fell into bed together. After round one, the man quickly requested round two, which she accepted. While the sex was sober and consensual, Williams realized she had sex with him because she had been fitting into the “nice, PTA mom” version of herself: the woman who would always say yes, even if she wasn’t entirely into the idea.
“[The question was] do I feel like sleeping with you now?” recalls Williams. “And it’s a literal yes or no. I don’t really care about anything else. You don’t even have to be a good person. It doesn’t matter.”
Williams also found time in bed with men to be a great crash course in understanding what makes guys tick. Pillow talk for Williams would be a rapid-fire slew of questions. “What do you like about this? How do you feel about that? Because I missed out on knowing that. And I wanted to understand adult men.”
She also felt dating at midlife was, for her, a superpower.
“I didn’t buy into the theory that because I was older, I was less desirable. Men were very attracted to the fact I was a strong woman who didn’t want anything from them and was calling the shots,” explains Williams.
But being a middle-aged mom also meant balancing orgasms with baby-sitter schedules. “If I was having a good date and a man would kiss me goodbye, I would tell them, okay, I have two hours. Let’s go back to your place,” recalls Williams. She says some men were surprised by her forthrightness, but many appreciated her no-BS approach to love and lust.
Today, Williams has found herself in a relationship — but she is reluctant to label it as such. “I’ve gotten attached to someone. But I still hold out the openness to say, ‘If I wanted to have a one-night stand with someone, I could still do that.’”
She also wants other women to realize just how much pleasure is out there — and how sex can be a powerful tool for moving past heartbreak. “The sex was important to me. It made me alive when I felt dead inside,” she says. “I found strength that I didn’t know I had,” she adds. “And I also found openness and sexual curiosity that I didn’t ever in a million years imagine I was capable of.”