My current boyfriend was shocked when, after we first made love, I told him that all I wanted in a relationship (at the time) was a "friends with benefits" situation. After he died in 2013, I figured I was done with sex.

It had been a year and eight months since my husband had died; my sex drive had recovered, but my heart was still hibernating. He'd been my high school sweetheart, my first and only.

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I'd been my husband George's caregiver as he'd succumbed to cancer. If you'd asked me then, I would have said that I'm fifty, I have 32 years of memories, I'm not interested in sex. I thought I might get a cat, once I was ready to take care of anything again.

What I got instead was an unlikely best friend who'd helped me look after George.

When I told one of my girlfriends about my new sex life, she said, "Good for you for getting back on the horse!

"Another friend said something I took to heart: that as women, we can claim our pleasure without shame, that our sexuality is a gift to be proud of.

I went from expecting to be done with sex, to having an intense physical relationship, to experimenting in a way I never had when I was younger, and finally, to being with someone I love.

I was tired of having experiences for their own sake.

Within a week I'd stopped dating anyone but my boyfriend. My reawakening since my husband died really surprised me.

The idea that we "should" only have sex within the context of a serious relationship was an antiquated judgment to be disregarded.

And I agree, despite being raised conservatively by a widowed father who taught me that nice girls say "no."I eventually ended things with my friend. Fourteen months after George died, I decided I was ready to date. I did what I felt like regardless of any potential for a relationship. His opinions on sex apparently varied greatly when speaking to a 50-year-old widow as opposed to his teenaged daughter.

My friend was a movie buff, belonging to several film societies. He'd stop by my house some evenings "to avoid rush hour." A few months after George's death, things between us became physical.

My brain was still deep in mourning, but other parts of me were in overdrive, reminding me that I was still alive, healthy and up for fun.