Several mature women have said to me that now in their twilight years they’ve become celibate and disinterested in the physical part of romance. They have had enough sex in their more youthful years to last a lifetime. Hearing that got my antennae up in no time, and I found the radar waves flapping listlessly in the wind.
I had to think carefully about that concept because I don’t believe anyone who has had a fair amount of sex in the past should stop because they are older. Losing interest in making love does not necessarily come with aging, but more often it can come from predetermined concepts of appropriateness.
Sex/orgasms are like wine. You don’t stop imbibing a glass of wine with dinner as you age because you did it in your younger days. I don’t think I can say that I drank enough wine to last a lifetime and now I’ll stop. Sex, like wine, should be an ongoing pleasurable event.
So, ladies, listen up! You don’t have to think you have become sexless and indifferent to romance. It’s an old wives tale that has been placed in our brain from early childhood that it is inappropriate for mature women to have or desire sex. And sexual activity does not always require a partner. It is nice to be involved with someone, but masturbation is also a means to keep the juices flowing. And keeping those juices flowing is the objective here.
Jeannine Schenewerk, a freelance writer in the US, who deals with mature women and … “maintains an inspirational, informative, upbeat website for mature women” had this to say in an online article dated 1/15/09:“It’s vitally important, today, for we mature women to begin realizing our very real value, and setting an example for our daughters, and granddaughters. We must chart a course for them, that they may realize that women over thirty do not fade away, and just disappear! It must be taught that youth is a convenient mask we wear for awhile, concealing the unformed ‘self’. They must realize that as we mature, and ‘self’ forms, the mask of youth fades away, revealing who we are, and what we have become, as human beings. We must demonstrate that mature women, who have developed interests, who have continually striven to enlighten and enrich themselves intellectually, and spiritually, and who possess a genuine love of life, and living, are incredibly attractive.”
Liking yourself at any age, especially the mature years, can be a powerful aphrodisiac. But if you allow your persona to fade away as you get older, passion dies and you disappear into the background.
Schenewerk goes on to say, “In our modern society the mature woman seems to be non-existent, as far as the visual media is concerned. Anyone watching television, viewing films, or thumbing through popular magazines, can easily verify this fact. Women over a certain age are just not represented. In the rare instances they are seen, it is usually not in the role of a feminine, desirable, woman. Most advertisers hawking products in the woman-relate categories of cosmetics, fashion and intimate apparel, completely ignore women past the age of thirty. It’s quite amusing to see ‘anti-aging’ beauty product ads, trumpeting ‘fantastic’ results in the company of much younger women. We women have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed. We have been programmed, consistently, to base our self-worth, our sexuality, our ‘womanliness’, on youthful, physical looks alone. When I read of women in their late twenties, early thirties, opting for surgical cosmetic enhancements in attempts to save off the natural effects of the aging process, I’m appalled!”
There is no doubt that from an early age we have been programmed to think that older women are throwaways and annoying. They are generally required to behave appropriately, dress appropriately and step back out of the paths of the younger people on the move.
From Senior Women Web, an online article entitled, Sexual Desire Beyond 50, by Deborah Nedelman PhD and Leah Kliger, MHA, said this:“Regardless of your relationship status, we encourage you to take a peek over the top of your bifocals and focus on the bigger picture. Legend has it that an older woman with diminished desire will never again experience an increase. We want you to know that, as conveyed to us by many an aging woman, nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Many recent studies have demonstrated that older people are almost as sexually active as their younger counterparts (see earlier Blog that quotes studies). Don’t fall into the societal trap that tries to limit how you should behave at different ages. Listen to your gut instinct, allow yourself to flourish and don’t fear the sexual stirring within. Welcome it.
To you young folks, bite the dust created by mature women as we beat a path to adventure!
Are empty nesters necessarily unhappy? When children leave home interesting dynamics can occur. In my own experiences at observing people over the years, I find that one of two things generally happens when children leave home. A couple may realize that they have nothing in common and split up. Or, they find they still like one another. In that instance, they now have more time to spend together and can reinvent their lives.
In The New York Times, January 20, 2009, Tara Parker-Pope wrote an article entitled, Your Nest Is Empty? Enjoy Each Other. In it she said, “But a growing body of research suggests that the phenomenon has been misunderstood. While most parents clearly miss children who have left home for college, jobs or marriage, they also enjoy the greater freedom and relaxed responsibility.”
Tara Parker-Pope goes on to say later on in the article, “Indeed, one of the more uncomfortable findings of the scientific study of marriage is the negative effect children can have on previously happy relationships. Despite the popular notion that children bring couples closer, several studies have shown that marital satisfaction and happiness typically plummet with the arrival of the first baby.”
As a parent, one is never totally freed of parental responsibility. But unwinding from the intensity of constantly monitoring a child is liberating. Children are wonderful but can test a marriage and many break up when children arrive. Over the years, I’ve heard numerous husbands complain about the time their wives spend with children and, feeling neglected, begin to look elsewhere for the attention they crave. Of course, the women complain about having the huge amount of domestic responsibilities dumped on them – especially if they are working as well. Sadly, with that scenario the seeds are planted to begin a maddening cycle of relationship deterioration.
Here is an abstract of a paper published in Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 18, Number 3, March, 1993, by P.L. Dalgas-Pelish, pp. 437-441, and it is entitled: The Impact of the First Child on Marital Happiness, Blackwell Publishing.
“The effects of the first child on parent’s marital happiness were studied using a sample of 185 subjects. Marital happiness scores were found to be lower in the subjects who were pregnant, those with 5-month-old children, and those with 24-month old children than the childless couples. This study suggests trends indicating that the first children may influence marital happiness in a negative manner. These finding will assist nurses in the preparation of families for childbearing and the potential changes that may result.”
Perhaps if couples know in advance what they will be up against – instead of buying into the prevailing myth that children automatically bring sunshine into marital lives – there can be some productive preparation. They can have kids with a new perspective, fully armed to face the problems they’ll surely come up against. It will help couples to know the tasks at hand so they can be divided equally and the responsibility fully shared. They will know they should make time to be alone as well. Couples who do that cement their relationship much better during the trying times, and it is suggested that they even have better sex lives than those who don’t.
We’ve all heard the term, finding yourself, many times over the years. I assume that to mean going on an internal excursion to identify
your inner voice and examining your behavior and motivation for acting the way
you do. Self-exploration is another expression that gets you to the
same place. The cumulative effect of attempting this journey is to become more
comfortable in your own skin, become a best friend to yourself.
But the reality is that only a small percentage of people
decide to take that passage in order to achieve a more content and scrutinized life.
The inward exploration can be painful as you rip away, layer by layer, unconscious
defenses built up over many years. It is difficult to engage in scrutinizing the
behavior that our unconscious has designed as a defense mechanism against
rejection and perceived failure.
There is a huge downside to continuing behavioral patterns that are often very stressing,
and have been formed to convince ourselves that we are totally in control of our emotions
and lives. Suppressing the real you can cause bizarre effects – perhaps compulsive/obsessive
neurosis, shaky relationships or acting out. I feel we all must face the ugly
demons we have been running from in order to mentally survive.
More often, I find that people prefer reinventing themselves. It is far more common to take this path and
avoid the profound ache of delving into oneself. But there are consequences to
constructing an aura that is a pretense and not facing the underlying issues
that motivate us. The image you present to the world that is not really you can
be toppled when the tenuous pins holding it together rust out due to excessive tension.
To create a persona that is not you can be an enormous emotional and energy drain.
Trying to maintain the mask you’ve created, you must be aware of every sentence you
utter, keep watch over every body movement you make in order to sustain an
emotionally depleting role that is who you think you are, not really who you
are. Think of it in terms of doing a play and being onstage 24/7 for years on end. Most times, people are hardly aware they are doing this
because it has become it has become an unconscious knee-jerk reaction.
Sometimes it is done to appear cool, sophisticated and confident.
We all have insecurities. I ask, why worry? Face these fears and conserve your
energy to truly know yourself better. Let the humor flow, let your flaws be
seen. We are all pretty much in the same boat. I happened to see a segment on Larry
King that showed Oprah talking about her most recent weight gain. She seemed angry
with herself. In essence (loosely paraphrasing what she said), it doesn’t matter how
much money and fame you have when you are still fighting demons, in her case, weight
control. But the wonderful thing about her was that she put it all out there
and made herself vulnerable. She was willing to expose herself and share her anguish with millions of viewers. For myself, years ago I learned that we’re all living with similar insecurities. It was then I began to relax and
open myself up.
Information drawn from Social
Psychology (7th edition) David G. Myers. “Looking-glass self – we use what we believe others
think of us to build perceptions of ourselves in comparison. False uniqueness-tendency
to serve self-image by believing our talents and moral judgments uniquely
There is a price to pay for this disguise. When you hide the
real you, it tends to diminish spontaneous emotion and humor because those
elements have a tendency to reveal the real inner person. One rip in the tight
wrapping of a false personality in which we have cocooned may bring the person
down. We live with trepidation that if we can’t maintain the defenses, we will
be out of control and our lives miserable. Actually, if you’re willing to face the
consequences of self-discovery, I believe your life will benefit as will your
relationships, be they family, spouse, partner or parent.
I lived in suburban areas all through my
marriage. Out of necessity for my husband’s work we had to attend many social
events and parties. But I always felt out of step with the suburban mentality
that demanded conformity. Of course, I had a few friends who were brave enough
to be themselves, but they were scorned and avoided, like they had some
contagious disease. I’m not sure why but, as a general rule, the suburbs are
not welcoming to those who march to a different drummer. Worst of all, I refused to belong to any religious
institution. The gasps were audible. That was my
experience. You find some of this in the city, but differences between people seem somewhat more welcoming.
I am using a fictionalized couple as an example because it best exemplifies
what I’m talking about. I admit, they are a bit off the charts – but not by
much. Here’s the scenario: Over the years, we sometimes met up with a particular couple at social
events. We got thrown together because we have friends in common. From the time
we met, it was clear we didn’t hit it off. The wife had adopted an image of how
she wanted to appear to the world and everyone else was supposed to fit the
mold. Motherhood consumed all of her conversation and I mean all, and the lives of her children got handed to us from the time they awoke in the morning until bedtime, day in and day out. It was painfully boring. I might add, she
never questioned what went on in my life. This couple, especially the wife,
thought they’d given birth to intellectual and athletic geniuses like no other
that ever existed in the world.
To give you an idea of how extremely narrow their view of the
world encompassed, I had occasion to overhear a conversation they had with
another couple who had no children. This woman had no compunctions about
telling the childless couple they were selfish. Living in the suburbs required
a family and in her head a family
meant a man and a woman and children. Oddly, the wife/husband relationship of
this brazen couple was not all that wonderful. They barely acknowledged one
another in social situations and affection seemed to have been stored the freezer.
Still, they allowed no deviation from what they deemed appropriate behavior. It is hard to
imagine how circumscribed and microscopic their world view is. Ants might have
a broader concept of humanity.
There’s more. At another function we all attended a classical
pianist provided the entertainment for a group of about 50 people. This same
woman walked next door to the sports bar and watched a football game during the
I believe, that at the underbelly
of their lives is a desperate need to invent a perfect life to present to the
outside world. Obsessed criticizing of differences in others appears to me as a maniacal
self-absorption and a psychological device used to pump up personal wounded
egos and insecurities.
For myself, I did find an enormous amount of competitiveness in
the ‘burbs that went through the pecking order starting at the top all the way down to family pets. After
all, everyone’s kid in the suburbs was in line to win a sports scholarship or
wind up a top professional or business person and the intensity for the race
for number one was enough to shatter windows in a radius of ten miles. I call
it, Competition Rage! I believe some parents would have killed anyone who stood
in their way as they tore toward the finish line – if they knew they could get
away with it.
Another time, and at another event, again we were seated
next to this couple (people sometimes flipped a coin so as not to sit next to
them and I lost). I searched my brain for a topic we could possibly both relate to and to try to shut her up for two minutes. So,
I told her my husband and I planned a weekend at one of those sexy hotels
designed for romance. Our children were relatively young and we’d hired a reliable babysitter we could trust for overnight. In my mind,
this excursion had universal appeal for couples. It was cutesy, I thought. After
all, my husband and I had the sanctity of marriage as protection against
sinning. It was just a weekend of frolic for a married couple seeking to have
more alone time.
couples we knew had gone there, and I assumed this woman would find it amusing. Wrong. She was appalled and told me she could
never do anything like that. After all, she was a family person. Strange, but I’m
a family person, too, and keeping the spark of romance in a marital
relationship was important to me. Becoming a mother doesn’t mean you become
asexual. Well, maybe it did for her, but if true, I find that very sad.
Fortunately, my husband and I lived close to Philadelphia. We went to CenterCity
for intellectual stimulation and major entertainment like readings, theater and
dance. I served my prison term out in the suburbs and when my children became adults
and moved out of the house, we began to consider Center City.
Now, I am freed of that. Hooray! There are some good things
about being older.
The Sexy G for comments: email@example.com
All of my characters are fictional, born out of certain
I once had a bunch of married friends back when I, too, was
married. We had much in common – raising kids, blossoming careers, decorating
houses and the joys of suburbia. I was never sure what those suburban joys were
except for being able to raise children in a somewhat safe environment.
But there was another powerful factor in suburbia USA (it happens
across the country, but especially in the ‘burbs). It was the demand for
conformity. Stepping out of the box, even if it wasn’t your fault, created
havoc. Here is one of the ways it works. Becoming a widow put me in another
category and excluded me from many of the previous coupled activities I engaged in before. Also, this applies to
those divorced and never-married. BEING SINGLE, IN THE MINDS OF MANY, IS A
Actually, many friends of long-standing began backing away
from me when my husband became ill. The fear that I might become single down
the line seemed to disturb them – especially being a woman. Single men are
treated much more kindly. They are can be fixed up with sisters, sister-in-laws
or aunts. When my husband passed away, I practically heard the thoughts
buzzing. It goes something like, dear God, what will we do if she’s alone?
Isn’t that a burden for us? We have nothing in common with her. Do we have to
pay for her dinner if we go out? She might offer, but do we say no? Too much
Not all my married friends dumped me, but most did. I
attribute that to what I call neurotic coupling. I was kept on the fringe by a
handful of couples, but just the fringe. That was okay, I guess, because I did
have to start a new life, after all. But being sent adrift by long-time friends
deeply impacted on me. When I met up with other women who were single I heard a
Then things got really irksome. Once widowed, a couple of
married friends would greet me by first asking if I were dating someone. If I
happened to have a man in my life at the time, they wanted to know is he the one? When I said it would be nice to
have a special guy, but it wasn’t necessary, they just didn’t believe me. I
would go on to say I was perfectly happy without a relationship. In their eyes,
I was being defensive and digging myself deeper into denial. One could almost
hear the snickers. I have no doubt they thought it was sour grapes. Not true! I
did and do like my life. Finally, I had to ask them to stop probing on that
subject and I’d let them know when it happened.
Once I became widowed, a woman actually told me to my face
that I’d better not take her husband. Actually, I didn’t want him. My
relationship with her ended rather quickly. What do people have this awful
concept that people who are alone are miserable and unhappy. Nonsense.
In a book entitled, Singled
Out – How Singles Are Stereotyped, stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D says, “To be stereotyped is to be prejudged.
Tell new acquaintances that you are single and often they think they already
know quite a lot about you. They understand your emotions. You are miserable
and lonely and envious of couples. They know what motivates you: More than
anything else in the world, you want to be coupled. You are commitment-phobic,
or too picky, or have baggage. Or maybe they figure you are gay and they think
that’s a problem, too.”
A man once said to me single people are selfish, but married
people are nicer because they are committed. He himself was half in and half
out of his marriage. His child needed emotional help and he chose to repudiate
her plight by saying, “She can afford to be depressed. I can pay for a doctor.”
Who in this world can afford the emotional drain, the unrelenting sadness that
comes with depression? Mental illness cuts across economic lines and is classic
in symptoms no matter what color, race, sex or class. As an educated man, he
should know that. Look at all the wealthy celebrities who have been in the
revolving door of rehab with all their fame and fortune. I suspect some or most are self-medicating for
Let me tell you how this same man who extolled the virtues
of marriage behaved when he experienced business reverses. He nearly walked out
on his family, blaming his responsibilities and stress as a father/husband for
his bad commercial decisions. He came very, very close to saying goodbye. Is
that what he calls commitment? Why marry and have kids if you negate those
closest to you when the chips are down?
Do most people have this skewed idea that if you pledge to someone for
better or worse with a license it somehow gives you a superior position? In
many cases that I’ve seen, this couple bonding is in name only and not how the
relationship functions in actuality. I suspect many people live dark lives
behind closed doors while under the societal protection of a family. Marriage gives an aura of so-called respectability that covers a
multitude of sins, including infidelity. Just eyeballing the situation, I’d
have to say that commitment in marriages does not appear to be the dominant
quality. So why the discrimination against singles?
DePaulo continues, “Now I can explain what single means: You
don’t have a serious partner. The simple distinction – you either have a
serious partner or you don’t – maps onto the golden rule of singlism, the way
of thinking that has become the conventional wisdom of our time: You have a
serious partner, or you lose. If you are single, then you lose by definition.
No matter what you can point to on your own behalf – spectacular
accomplishments, a lifelong and caring convoy of relatives and friends,
extraordinary altruism – none of it redeems you if you have no soulmate. Others
will forever be scratching their heads and wondering what’s wrong with you and
comparing notes (he’s always been a bit strange; she’s so neurotic; I think
he’s gay). It is like having a gymnastics routine lacking a key element to
qualify for a perfect score; no matter how skillfully and gracefully you
perform your routine, it will always be judged as deficient.”
Hey, for the first time in census taking history, singles
outnumbered married people. We need to rethink being single – not to mention
what is commitment.