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The Naked Truth

A Memoir

About The Book

Newly divorced and determined to reclaim her life, Leslie Morgan, bestselling author of Crazy Love and Mommy Wars, decided to spend a year searching for five new lovers in this “highly stimulating story of a midlife education” and “steamy, liberating tale of self-exploration and self-love” (Kirkus Reviews).

When Leslie Morgan divorced after a twenty-year marriage, both her self-esteem and romantic optimism were shattered. She was determined to avoid the cliché of the “lonely, middle-aged divorcée” lamenting her stretch marks and begging her kids to craft her online dating profile. Instead, Leslie celebrated her independence with an audacious plan: she would devote a year to seeking out five lovers in hopes of unearthing the erotic adventures and authentic connections long missing from her life.

Clumsy and clueless at first, she overcame mortifying early missteps, buoyed by friends and blind faith. And so she found men at yoga class, the airport, and high school reunions—all without the torture of dating websites. Along the way she uncovered new truths about sex, aging, men, self-confidence, and what it means to be a woman over fifty today.

Packed with fearless, evocative details, The Naked Truth is a rare, unexpected, and wildly entertaining memoir about a soccer mom who rediscovers the magic of sexual and emotional connection, and the lasting gifts of reveling in your femininity at every age.


The Naked Truth

I drove along the sweltering Pennsylvania highway like a demon, hoping to make it to the Philadelphia Airport in time. My flight took off in less than an hour, but suddenly, stopped cars littered the road like confetti. A summer traffic jam caused, I kid you not, by drivers slowing down to look at a couple walking two Jack Russell terriers. To have any chance of making my flight, I had to keep swerving my dented black minivan around idiotic drivers who did not have a plane to catch. And whose cars presumably had air-conditioning that still worked.

Despite the traffic and the heat, my heart felt light with joy, because for the first time in nearly twenty years, I was on a trip by myself, with no one in the car to fight with me. After ending an abusive marriage in my twenties, I’d just gotten divorced again. All I wanted now was to hang out with my two teenaged kids and our pets. Although it had been three years since I’d had sex, my wildest dream was to never get into a car, or sleep in a bed, with any man, ever again.

I pulled the van into the airport lot and parked in the first open space I found. I ran through security, my Rollaboard stuffed with books rattling behind me, checking the time on my iPhone as I went. I clattered past a Hudson News store and didn’t recognize myself in the plate glass window. I had on a stretchy black top and my favorite Lucky jeans. Not surprisingly, my forty-nine-year-old reflection looked stressed, my forehead wrinkled, as if I were a once-sexy T-shirt that had become faded and crumpled after being washed too often.

But somehow, I also looked thinner, younger, prettier, more myself than I’d looked in ten years. I’d gotten my hair streaked blonde and was wearing lipstick again on a daily basis for the first time in two decades. I’m never going to look like Gisele Bündchen, but I’d lost about twenty pounds since the split, via what my girlfriend KC called “the divorce diet.” All that anxiety about custody, legal bills, health insurance, and the leak in the bathroom ceiling had a silver lining after all: smaller jeans.

When I got to the gate for the flight to Long Island, in addition to sporting a layer of sweat, I was hyperventilating. I had ten minutes to spare until takeoff. I pulled the chrome handle on the industrial gray door leading to the jetway. It was locked.

“Fuck!” I yelled at the door. “Double fuck!”

The frosted-hair clerk at the gate spoke without looking up from her mauve fingernails flitting across the computer keyboard.

“Flight’s delayed. Thunderstorms.”

I looked quizzically at the jets parked outside the window behind her. The sky was blue and cloudless.

Feeling paradoxically pissed off and relieved, I whirled around, looking for an outlet to charge my phone, or at least an empty chair to collapse in after my Olympic sprint. To my horror, as if in slow motion, my purse knocked over someone’s coffee on the high top charging station behind me. Black liquid poured over the table. I watched as it slowly dripped onto the industrial airport carpeting.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry! Let me buy you another cup . . .”

My voice trailed off as I registered the man whose drink I’d knocked over.

Holy shit.

The drink’s owner was, quite possibly, the best-looking man I’d ever seen. Cropped dark hair. Deep blue eyes. Two decades younger than me. A chill zigzagged through me as my eyes met his.

To my surprise, instead of being annoyed, he offered me a lazy smile. His eyes held mine, replacing my shiver with the warm cloak of a cashmere sweater. No man had smiled at me like that in years. Entire decades had passed during which I thought a man would never look at me like that again.

“You don’t need to buy me another coffee,” he protested, mildly, faint smile lines creasing his tanned cheeks.

The man had to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked like an executive dressed for business-casual Friday, a blue button-down shirt tucked into dark Levi’s. However, his hands were bare and brown, rough and calloused, and he wore scuffed construction boots, as if he worked outdoors.

“Please? I feel terrible.”

Did I sound like the mom who wanted to make everyone’s skinned knee better? I tried talking again, willing myself to say something normal, clever even.

“Are you also on the flight to Long Island?”

Not the wittiest repartee, I know. But it worked, because it kept the conversation flowing.

“Yeah, I take it all the time for work.” Mr. Blue Eyes sighed. “I’m based in Richmond, so I change planes here. This afternoon flight is always delayed.”

He had a lovely baritone voice. He’d be good on the radio. Or a sex chat line. How would it feel to be naked in front of him? Why was I thinking about taking off my clothes in the middle of an airport? With a stranger half my age? When I never wanted to have sex again as long as I lived?

“Can I please take you to Starbucks? I would feel better getting you another coffee,” I explained, squeezing my suitcase handle from sudden, excess adrenaline. I badly wanted him to say yes.

He looked at me, raising his eyebrows in assent. The repressed grin on his face reminded me of the expression my grandmother called “a cat with a canary in its mouth.”

“Of course,” he said politely. “Very nice of you.”

We mopped up the spilled coffee with napkins from my purse and then I looked around for the green Starbucks mermaid. Fortuitously, there she was, only one gate away. I carried two iced Americanos to a wrought iron table we’d snagged, squeezed between the pastry display and a concrete pillar. We were so close, I could smell him. And boy, he smelled good, like wood chips mixed with clean laundry hanging in the sun to dry.

We sat across from each other, awkwardly holding our cold plastic cups. The people in line for lattes and macchiatos snaked around us. A voice came over the airport loudspeaker announcing another flight delay, this one bound for Florida. A passenger in a pin-striped wool suit standing behind me groaned and shut his eyes in frustration.

“So what are you doing on Long Island?” he asked. His soft southern drawl sounded polite. And still amused. By my airport rush? By the coffee fiasco? By . . . me? I felt almost giddy that I’d entertained this man, whose name I still didn’t know.

I smiled at him. Was I flirting? Did I still even know how? I hadn’t had coffee with a man besides my ex-husband in twenty years. I hadn’t even had coffee with him in at least ten.

“I have a beach house there . . . I just dropped my daughter off at camp so I’m going there to work.”

I took a pull on my straw out of nervousness. Iced coffee flooded my mouth. I swallowed as quickly as I could.

“I’m a writer,” I continued, racing to head off an embarrassing silence.

“Wow.” He grinned again. He had straight white teeth with one slightly crooked bottom tooth. “That must be pretty amazing to work at something creative.”

Was it possible that he was flirting with me? That seemed improbable. But he did sound curious. As if he wanted to know more about me. Something I also couldn’t remember sensing from any man since I’d started having kids in my early thirties. My stomach fluttered. I was curious about him, too.

“What’s your work?”

He looked back at me, his gaze softening as he met mine. God, he had beautiful eyes.

“I run a construction company, kind of. It’s a small business my granddad started that we expanded together.”

He glanced sympathetically at a frazzled woman carrying a screaming, squirming, red-faced baby. Her face looked as if she wanted to scream, too. I wondered if he had kids.

“Hey, that sounds kind of creative. In a different way. What kind of business?”

His looks and his voice morphed into the perfect combination of Abercrombie & Fitch model and every country singer on my Apple Music playlist.

“Um, it’s unusual. Not your typical day job. I work in quarries. I guess the best way to describe it is that I’m in explosives.”

I furrowed my brow at that one. Explosives?

“My specialty”—he paused and looked at me with unruffled blue eyes—“is drilling and blasting.”

I coughed involuntarily, more like a gasp, trapping a half sip of cold coffee in my throat. I tried to swallow but couldn’t. Then, against my will, I spit out the coffee, as well as a chunk of ice. It skittered across the wrought iron tabletop toward him.

I blurted out the first words that entered my head.

“I could use some of both!”

I blushed. I cannot believe you said that! a voice in my head shrieked. He looked like he was going to spit out his coffee.

Luckily, right then our flight was called over the loudspeaker directly above our table. I stood up as quickly as I could, hoping to disguise my mortification, and grabbed my Rollaboard handle. He stood up, too. Lost in the throng of passengers rushing the gate, neither of us even said good-bye. We boarded the plane separately.

I thought about Mr. Blue Eyes for the hour it took to fly to Islip. Did I have the guts to ask for his name, or give him mine? Once we landed at the tiny, almost deserted Long Island airport, I walked as slowly as I could to the rental car counter, looking for him, hoping he might be waiting for me.

He wasn’t.

But before I tell you how I tracked down the twenty-nine-year-old explosives expert I met in the Philadelphia Airport, and how we blew up two decades of marriage and thirty-six months of celibacy, first I have to go back in time and tell you about getting rid of my husband, Marty.

Please, don’t think I’m being callous.

Trust me, my husband wanted to get rid of me, too.

About The Author

Joy Asico

Leslie Morgan is the New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Love and The Naked Truth and former columnist for The Washington Post. Her TED talk, “From the Ivy League to a Gun at My Head,” has over 5 million views and has been translated into over thirty languages. She has appeared on Anderson Cooper 360, NPR, the Today show, MSNBC, and Fox News. She holds a BA in English from Harvard University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Why We Love It

“Through the lens of her personal experience Leslie Morgan explores and drives the conversation when it comes to some very hot-button and fascinating topics like sexual politics, modern relationship dynamics, sex and ageing, and empowerment. Leslie is a real woman, a real mom of teenagers—who I hope, by the way, NEVER read this book. And to my mind that makes it even more enticing.” —Priscilla P., Executive Editor, on The Naked Truth

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 21, 2020)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501174124

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Raves and Reviews

"Leslie Morgan lays herself bare on every page and in every single way in this book. You will read it with your mouth on the floor, unable to budge until you turn the last page." —Cathi Hanauer, New York Times-bestselling author of The Bitch is Back and Gone

"Leslie Morgan invites us along on her fearless post-divorce ride, from the euphoria of rejuvenating sex to the thrills, confusion, and heartache of new love. This is a wise memoir (and a hot read!) for women seeking a new way to think about starting over in midlife with a sense of self-determination and adventure.”—Julie Metz, author of Perfection

"Good news for women! Leslie Morgan tells us how women in their 50’s can have adventurous sex—divorced from the need for money, children or security—that is based on pure pleasure and fun. With her characteristic candor and clarity, Morgan describes her own experience as a divorced mother, and explores the dazzling ways that men and women can delight each other when social conventions and cultural needs are left behind.”— Susan Cheever, author of Drinking in America: Our Secret History

"This book is a manifesto for smart middle-aged women who are done with this tired notion that we’re supposed to be invisible when, in fact, we’ve never been sexier in our lives." —Kerry Cohen, author of Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Lush: A Memoir

"A funny and charming memoir about second acts in the life of the American female.”— Molly Jong-Fast, author of Normal Girl, The Social Climber's Handbook, and the memoir, Girl [Maladjusted]

"A formidable, addictive storyteller, Morgan provides a highly stimulating story of a midlife education in the messiness of modern sex and love. A steamy, liberating tale of self-exploration and self-love that encourages readers to 'revel in your sexuality.'" Kirkus Reviews

"This raunchy memoir is both funny and poignant." Booklist

"The Naked Truth is proof of an experienced writer. ... an easy and compelling read." New York Journal of Books

"It’s a modern-day update to the classic Helen Gurley Brown book Sex and The Single Girl ...It’s chatty and wry and funny, a Nancy Meyers movie in print, complete with an aspirational shingled beach house in Southampton." The Washington Post

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