This blog was conceived at my dining room table on the eve of the demise of my almost decade-long marriage. I was near 40, and I was preparing myself as best I could to start my life all over again. This time with a child in tow. I remember being on the phone with Nikki and saying, “there have to be other 40-ish women like us who want to have active and fulfilling sex, and there have to be other people like us who want to read about sex, kink, and the real life that goes with it.” Age was a main theme in our writing before we published our first post. It was a theme that ran through our sexual evolution as we created and discovered our sexual identities again and again, and through this blog and the many other sex blogs out there, we confirmed that women “of a certain age” are still getting it on. Let me state for the record, hot and dirty sex didn’t stop at 40. Hell, it doesn’t have to stop until you choose to. According to a New York Time’s article in January of this year, “between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia infections among Americans 65 and over increased by 31 percent, and syphilis by 52 percent.” There are lots of people choosing to have sex (gasp!) as they get older. The saying is true, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. But women over 40 aren’t the focus of porn or the media when it comes to sex or desirability. We’re shown images that equate good sex with youth even though many of us acknowledge that better sex comes with age and experience. (Need evidence of that? Read this blog.)
Sometimes it feels like according to society at large, a woman goes through menopause and her sexual self simply falls off the map, as if her sexy, desirable self becomes invisible as her hair grays and wrinkles appear. The older you become, the more invisible you become in some ways. And I think that’s utter bullshit. If men are generally viewed as more distinguished as they age, then why can’t we recognize that women are too? Recently I’ve become more and more aware of older women in the media, because some day not that far away, I’m going to be her. What is dating going to be like in my 60’s? What is sex going to feel like after menopause? How am I going to adapt as my body ages? They’re questions I’m unable to answer until I’m having the experience, but one thing I know for certain. I want to feel healthy and at home in my skin, and I want to have a fulfilling sex life, even with wrinkles.
The other day I read this blog post by Robin Korth, a 59-year-old author and professional, about her dating life. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Reading the words, “your body is too wrinkly,” uttered by her 55-year-old love interest made me aware of the double-standard between older men and older women all over again. Do you think Metallica is getting that sort of dating feedback? I sincerely doubt it.
In case I thought the Korth experience was a fluke, the Universe pushed this Esquire article, In Praise of 42-Year Old Women, into my mailbox. I thought, I’m only 41, I should be psyched about this! And then I read: “There is simply no one as unclothed as a forty-two-year-old woman in a summer dress. For all her toughness, and humor, and smarts, you know exactly what she looks like, without the advantage of knowing who she is.” In other words, we can see your body, but we can’t get past the wrinkles unless we know how great your personality is so that we can pretend your body isn’t, um… old. <headdesk> Obviously the author thinks he’s complimenting women in my age bracket, but he’s actually delivering a slap in the face. (And not the kind I enjoy)
Thankfully, Ann Brenoff penned this response to the Esquire article in the Huffington Post, and I wanted to give her a standing ovation. She articulated many of my instinctive reactions to the piece. “You are wrong when you suggest that it was the women’s liberation movement that made it possible to find a 42-year-old woman appealing, or that 42-year-old women flock to yoga and pilates classes to be appealing to men. It isn’t that at all. We’ve been beautiful and smart and ambitious forever. You just can’t see it.”
I’m more than a 41-year-old woman in a sundress. I’m a fucking awesome woman in a sundress. To those people who choose only to see the physical signs of a woman’s time on this planet and count them against her, I feel sorry for you. You’re missing out, because we’re “beautiful and smart and ambitious forever.”
Sex and the Single Senior. New York Times. 18 of Jan 2014. web.