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• If you’re a recent divorcee, you may find the urge to date again over-rides everything, even your children’s embarrassment at mum’s flirty behaviour. Marina Gask points out the pitfalls.

When a work colleague split with her husband in January, to everyone’s alarm and (ok, I confess) slight amusement, she turned into a bit of a sex vixen. Almost overnight this responsible 39-year-old mum of three ditched the comfy Boden-wear, rediscovered her cleavage, took to wearing thongs and acquired an assortment of boyfriends who she talked about incessantly. Thanks to internet dating and a rampant need to reassert her desirability, she flirted with any man she chanced upon, from waiter to postboy, and threw her pent-up rage into putting herself about like nobody’s business – then regaled us all with the details. Great for us – we were bored anyway, and delighted to see her rediscover her mojo – but not so great for her teenage kids. After all, who wants to see their mum flaunting her messy love life to all and sundry?
Spare a thought, then for  Brandon Thomas, 12, and Dylan Jagger, 10. While they must feel proud of the fact that their mum, Pamela Anderson, is a campaigner for PETA and a staunch defender of the Canadian seal population, they must be cringeing at the real cause of her making the headlines recently. For in the last couple of years Pammy, 41, has been far more famous for her party lifestyle, her rumoured pregnancies, her blink-and-you-miss-them marriages to Kid Rock and Rick Solomon, her many rekindlings with the boys’ father, Tommy Lee, and rumoured trysts with others. That’s when she’s not performing a strip on a Harley Davidson at the Crazy Horse strip club in Paris, or presenting a birthday cake to Hugh Hefner in the nude. While Pammy has described herself in the past as “a responsible, devoted mom,” and we have no cause to doubt her, the fact is, kids don’t want the embarrassment of knowing too much about their mum’s sexual escapades.
Of course we all know that 40 is the new 30 and that many British women approach ‘middle youth’ justifiably refusing to don a housecoat and slippers, but instead flaunt their gym-toned abs in their TopShop hotpants. Which is all well and good if it’s done with a genuine consciousness of what you can get away with, if it’s not overtly tits-out sexy – but if it screams “Look – I’ve still GOT IT” then it’s almost guaranteed to prove that you haven’t got it at all – you’ve lost it.  Kate Taylor, relationship expert at dating website, says: “If the last time you dated was in your teens or twenties, when you start dating again it’s inevitable that part of you will go back to what you did back then – perhaps drinking more like you used to, and wearing what you wore then”.
But there’s something a bit tragic, a bit desperate, about a former sexpot wearing exactly what she always used to wear – there’s a danger that, like Pammy in her cleavage-flashing mini-dresses, you’ll end up emphasising how you’ve changed physically in the intervening years and looking a bit “mutton”. Says Kate: “You need to redefine how you do sexy. Don’t start wearing thongs and balcony bras to try and prove you’re still desirable and vibrant. Instead go to a good underwear shop, like La Perla, and ask for advice on what will look really sexy on you now. Then get yourself down to a big department store that does a free personal shopper service, so you can redefine your look and get a whole new wardrobe.

As for dating, if you’ve been through a painful split and feel the need to remind yourself
and the world that you’re still attractive, try to avoid doing this in a very public way. Says Kate
“You need to go through that bravado stage, just to get it out of your system, but do it by
going away for a two-week holiday, leaving the kids with friends or family, so you can get all
the flirting and dating out of your system”.

Once home, by all means date, but hold off having sex if you can as you’re going to be quite
vulnerable and don’t want to go through rejection again. Avoid bringing men home and making
your children aware of your nocturnal activities. Online dating is fantastic as you don’t need
babysitters at the beginning and your kids don’t really have to know too much about it.
And if, like Pam, you’re over 40, don’t be surprised if you find once you get involved with a new man that you’re more sexually aggressive than before. Women have more testosterone after 40, which can neutralise oxytocin, the hormone that give us the urge to bond, meaning your attachments might be lively but brief. Which could explain Pam’s somewhat colourful love life in recent times. But hey, she’s famous, and her kids have no choice but to know exactly what she’s doing and with whom. Luckily you don’t have to make the same mistakes.

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