Stephanie Theobald, 52, is a writer and sex rebel. The Times once described her as ‘One of London’s most celebrated literary lesbians’ but that was before she started having a bi-sexual relationship with novelist, Jake Arnott. Interestingly, she says in her AoA Q & A that she seems to be at her most attractive right now to both men and women. Her latest non-fiction book Sex Drive – On The Road To A Pleasure Revolution is her fascinating road trip across the USA using self-pleasure to find her lost libido. BBC Arts described it as ‘Part Jack Kerouac, part Joan Didion’. It’s out on Oct 18th.
Age (in years)
Where do you live?
Between London and LA
What do you do?
I’m a writer: journalism, corporate – whatever pays the rent and allows me to do what I really want such as write a book about female masturbation.
Tell us what it’s like to be your age?
People joke about it but turning 50 does actually feel like walking through a ring of fire. But now I’m 52 I can honestly say that I’m confident about the second half of my life. Having seen a big love of my life die of breast cancer, I’m seeing this stretch of life as icing on the cake and what brilliant icing it is. I don’t care so much about what people think of me. I’m like, I’ll write a book about female masturbation because I don’t want to spend the next 50 years writing about the latest trendy restaurant in a swivel chair in a newspaper. It’s like that line from The Wild One: What are you rebelling against and Brando goes, “What have you got?”
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What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?
More confidence, better orgasms
What about sex?
See above. Weirdly, I seem to be more attractive to men and women at the age of 52. I’ve never had such a great lingerie collection. Cheap, “dirty whore” lingerie because that turns me on the most.
Just evolving from a 10 year relationship with a bisexual man. Still lots of deep love there but sexually, we both realised we needed to open it up. Mainly having booty calls with women right now.
How free do you feel?
Ludicrously free, but freedom’s not always an easy one. Joseph Campbell encouraged people to “follow your bliss” but then he later added that he should have said, “follow your blisters” because bliss can be a roller coaster ride too.
What are you proud of?
Having slept on sofas for the past 3 years and sacrificed the safe and prestigious road of having a proper swivel chair job in order to write a book about honest female sexuality that none of the mainstream publishing houses would touch but which has since been endorsed by the likes of Emma Thompson, Baroness Helena Kennedy and punk poet John Cooper Clarke
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What keeps you inspired?
Masturbation, hanging out with the under-30s, nature
When are you happiest?
When I’m hugging a tree or scudding along on my bicycle
And where does your creativity go?
Sometimes I dream of being a bricklayer. I look out of my flat window in London and I see the guy on the building site making a regular £200 a day creating a wall and I think, That’s the kind of creativity I’d like because creating a world on a piece of paper can be exhausting. But all ways of making money are a nightmare in the end. The best creativity is when you are not aware you are being ‘creative’ so it’s not a strain. Coming up with a masturbation fantasy is a good example of this. Sexual fantasies make Marquis de Sades and JK Rowlings of us all.
What’s your philosophy of living? Stay in the moment.
And dying? A Mexican once told me that people in his culture “flirt with death” and I can see that. I think death pervades everything. In a good orgasm, there is always a taste of the infinite and ergo a taste of death. I think death and sex are definitely on the same spectrum. My experience of watching a beloved former love die before my eyes was the most terrible, most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The experience will live with me forever and ultimately it inspired me to write Sex Drive which is about loss as well as sex.
Are you still dreaming?
Always dreaming. My regular dreams revolve around Sex Drive being made into a movie. My masturbation dreams revolve around a spaceship and a woman with big breasts and a voice like Brigitte Bardot.
What was a recent outrageous action of yours?
Masturbating in front of 40 people during a “Fifty Shades of Kink” sex symposium in San Francisco.
Sex Drive is out on 18th October. You can purchase a copy here.