Confused and upset by the shock of their relationship falling apart, particularly if they hadn't wanted or expected it, they embark, initially at least, on a self-destructive pattern of seeking solace through sex with near-strangers.'I certainly hadn't ever expected to be single again at the age of 47,' says Judy. He was my first love and I never imagined a time when we wouldn't be together.' Judy felt her world had collapsed and spent most of her time in tears.In fact, she's 51 and the educated, successful director of a blue-chip company - with a 21-year-old daughter.Her story is an illustration in microcosm of why sexually transmitted diseases among the over-45s are on the increase.By her own admission, Judy Hollis's behaviour was thoughtlessly promiscuous.
'He didn't stay the night, but he did send an email the following day thanking me for a "fun evening".And these soaring figures are set to surge still further in the decade ahead, as women, in particular, feel less inclined to put up with flagging relationships. In my own social circle, I've witnessed at least a dozen marriage breakdowns in the past two years - including the demise of my own relationship after 25 years.In two instances among my acquaintances, the men, both in their early 60s, have departed to a much younger woman beckoning from a warm bed.Although the idea of a passionate affair filled my fantasies, my sexual confidence was at rock bottom. After a few disastrous dates with men who were introduced by friends, I met a man I liked. After the massive build-up of nerves and anticipation, I was surprised at how simple and natural it all was - I had forgotten that sex is about how we connect, not whether we have perfect bodies.Judy Hollis agrees that taking those first few steps is very daunting.