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Sexiness in the older woman – not related to age, sex or good looks!

Before my middle age I was a woman who, like many of my friends, measured being worthwhile and popular by how many men were attracted to me. My idea of sexiness was how high my skirt was, or how see-through my top was.

Sex was never called making love and it only involved prowess and physical fitness; it was definitely not about a quality of being. And intimacy? Well that was something I thought came to me only when I was with someone between the sheets. I was young, I had lots of energy, I had an enormous social life and I was very interested in having a lot of sex. Then I got ‘older’.

A modern Australian middle-aged woman has come to expect many things in her ‘elder’ life – things based on personal experience or things our culture has impressed upon us along the way from early childhood... things such as:

  • Invisibility around Australian men
  • Deep appreciation from Italian and Turkish men (but only if you’re blonde)
  • Inability to carry heavy objects
  • Straighter hair
  • Noticeably bleeding lipstick lines
  • Cessation of menstrual cycle
  • Sudden body heat at most inappropriate times
  • Greater need for lists to combat the ever increasing forgetfulness
  • Disrespect from youth on the streets or when reverse parking cars
  • Fewer late nights socialising
  • Increasing grandparental duties
  • A tendency to want to eat earlier in the evenings (training for aged care facilities no doubt)
  • Less sex and more time spent worrying about, organising care for, or just being with, dependent aged parents.

I discovered there is an unwritten code of behaviour for this ‘invisible woman’ and it goes something like this:

Her duty is to the family first and when she does have spare time, after she has knitted booties for the third grandchild, made cumquat marmalade for the extended family and trained the sixth family dog, shouldn’t she spend that time swotting over percentages and trends so she can keep up with the young things in the office and not drag the company backwards to the dark ages?

So as ‘old’ age started to creep in, my question became, where in all this is it expected and/or acceptable for an older woman to express her sexiness? And quite frankly, now that I have all this spare time, I got to finally ask myself – What is sexiness?... or intimacy?... or making love? And where is the time and/or opportunity for an older woman to develop a deep connection with her partner, to truly meet each other in the embrace of intimacy?

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Intimacy comes from the heart

Intimacy is not about touch, it is an expression from the heart.

Young people squirm at the idea of an over 50-year-old getting turned on... or a grandparent making love with another grandparent.

There is a sort of simplistic image that at that age sex is a bit of a stiff, awkward grope fest with a familiar beginning and an even more familiar ending. And I have to say, when I was young I thought along similar lines. I decided, from what my mama said, that older women didn’t get turned on... I thought they just withdrew into themselves and suddenly only enjoyed a sense of purpose and/or self-fulfilment at the hands of a group of other older women who dropped by to play bridge and have lunch.

This notion was fast being confirmed as I started to creep up in age. Going into my 40’s, I had female friends who were in their late 50’s and they were all bragging about how they were no longer driven by their sexuality and how free it made them feel etc... but I detected a note of sadness in them when they were talking, because really what they were saying was – men were no longer sexually interested in them, and that made them sad.

Ok, so say you are now 50... you’ve grown up being a sexually active woman, you’ve been inundated with all the images and beliefs about older women and sexiness, now you’re in menopause and you’re a little bit worried about what is ahead as you’ve been told that you will dry up, your vagina will shut down, and that you will no longer have any sexual desire.

What do you do?

As an experienced ‘older’ woman, I suggest that first of all you don’t take on anything that anyone tells you.

A woman’s sexuality from her 50’s onward is particular to her and how she has lived her previous 50 or so years. I personally, although having recently hit 61, have come to an understanding of what true sexiness is and I definitely have not lost my sexiness – it is one of the things that keeps me young and vibrant.

Making love is an opportunity to bring stillness into an often misunderstood exchange between two people who share a deeply intimate relationship. My ex-partner had always thought that the difference between making love and sex was the fact that we loved each other, but this is not the whole picture for me. Now, when I make love within an intimate relationship my body is completely in connection with the one, the all, in what I’d call divine connection. In that state, my body offers to my partner the opportunity to completely surrender to that and once he surrenders – KAPOW! Not that it is like firecrackers or excitably hanging from the chandelier – what occurs is a depth between the two people making love that I can only describe as ‘true union’. This feeling of total union with the all is something that was very new for me and it didn’t happen until I was well over 50! When I was younger, having sex felt to me like an exchange between two very intense, busy and frantic rabbits – running round and round the bedroom without any time to pause and feel, certainly without any time to surrender to what was really going on between the two bodies, no ability to feel any deep intimacy that could be occurring and certainly no time to allow the body to come into a deep quality of being – a quality that can only be surrendered to when it is felt as it is sooooo delicious, who would want to avoid that?? Clearly, holding stillness is by no means an area that is exclusive to the young: on the contrary, stillness in an older woman’s body is an awesome thing to behold, and is what I would call true sexiness.

The deepening that a woman’s body is capable of is quite extraordinary and is a beautiful experience to live. Obviously my mother knew nothing about it, ‘cause in all the little ‘mother-daughter’ chats we had, she never expressed one positive thing around her body, her sexuality or her sacredness. I’m pretty sure my mother didn’t know the word ‘sacredness’... and if she did I’m pretty sure she hadn’t heard it from her mother.

No, it’s true, most of us come from a long line of motherly misunderstood, misconceived and misconstrued ideas around the sexuality of women today. It makes no difference if you are young and being hounded by men, or if you are old and being ignored by men – the truth of the matter is that we are all capable of expressing our true sexiness, which is very much about our sacredness and our innate ability to hold stillness in our bodies. This does not require partners to be present or to validate it in any way – it just is. It is as much a natural part of us as is our ability to light up a room with our natural beauty when we walk in.

As ‘older’ women, we can embrace the notion that our sexiness is a part of our expression and change what our culture has fed us since we were girls. The world will benefit greatly from more of us feeling able to fully express our sacredness , our stillness, our true sexiness – be it in bed with an intimate partner or at a lunch party where a couple of old friends are playing bridge. It is a quality within for us to share with all, not an external action to share with a few.

It is also important to emphasize that it is possible to get to the place of feeling truly sexy whilst being single. It is available for all of us to so enjoy being ourselves and developing that sense of self, that we end up developing an intimacy with ourselves that can later, if that is what happens, be taken into a relationship with another. For me, at the time I was developing this intimacy with myself I didn’t know if there would ever be ‘another’ and I wasn’t living like I had earlier in my life, i.e. eternally looking for ‘another’ – I got myself to a place where I was completely at ease with what my life was, with myself and with my relationships as they were. It was not devoid of intimacy… I had amazing relationships with people – men and women – I hung out with women my age or women who were 20 years younger than me, I worked long hours, I attended to my aged parents needs and I dressed my body in a way that took into account my stillness, my sacredness and my sexiness.

Personally, living this quality is what I want to reflect right through my ‘elder’ life, because we are all amazing and with this level of vibrancy we can each ensure that no cumquat marmalade will ever be made again by an ‘older’ woman for family at the expense of her true sexiness.

Filed under

Self-worthSexinessEldersMaking loveAging

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    By Deborah McBride, Communications Director

    Deborah is a living example of the joy of self responsibility and awareness. Her professional and personal interests are united by the desire to support people to reconnect with their inner being and to claim their unique expression in this world.