Older Women Wear Lingerie Revisited

  I wrote “Older Women Wear Lingerie” in 2009 about my photo shoot at age 65 with photographer Ruth Lefkowitz. It was a liberating experience, both during the shoot — I had no idea how much fun it would be to disrobe and flaunt my underwear in front of a camera! — and afterwards, when I viewed the photos.

Two years later, I knew I looked older. Grief ages us, and I could see it in my face. I had stopped coloring my hair. My skin was looser, more wrinkly. My thighs and fanny were bigger.

But I felt beautiful, because I’ve really internalized the message I keep communicating to you:

We don’t have to buy into our youth-obsessed society’s view that only young, firm, fertile bodies are sexy and alluring. We are beautiful, handsome, sexy at our age.

That statement is true for you, too, no matter how many wrinkles or extra pounds you see in the mirror. It doesn’t matter.

If you accept yourself, enjoy yourself, and feel sexy within, it will show. 

Ready to walk my talk (or pose my talk, more accurately),  I approached Ruth about doing a repeat of our photo shoot, with new lingerie, a new attitude, and two more years under my belt — I mean camisole.

She said yes. We did it two weeks ago.

Again, I loved the experience. We laughed, we romped, I posed, she clicked the camera.

 I am delighted to share our photos with you today, on my 68th birthday.

If you live in Sonoma County, CA, and would like to talk to Ruth about doing your own lingerie photo shoot, please email me and I’ll forward your email to her.

As always, I welcome your comments! How would you feel about posing in lingerie?

Ruth Lefkowitz is fascinated by how the camera captures spirit, beauty and style in a magical instant. She especially enjoys photographing the female figure–a subject of art through the ages–to create images that capture and preserve a bit of a woman’s inner life. In her day job, Ruth is the chef and owner of Ruthy’s Real Meals, a high quality, organic and locally sourced meal delivery service in Sonoma County, CA.

Older women wear lingerie

11/10/2011 update: I did a second lingerie shoot, as I was about to turn 68. See it here.

10/23/2011 update: My goodness, two years after I originally wrote this post on 10/11/09, it continues to be the most often read! Hmmm. Ruth and I are actually planning an update — a new photo shoot this week, results to be posted as soon as they’re ready. My reasons are maybe the opposite of what you might think: No, I’m not fixing to show off a youthful body. Rather, I’ve aged a lot in the past two years, have stopped coloring my hair, and want to celebrate my authentic self by re-doing this photo shoot. Yes, I’m nervous. Of course I am. But if I keep insisting that we should stand up for what’s real at this age and celebrate our aging process, then I have to walk (or pose) my talk . 

“I’m photographing real women in lingerie,” Ruth Lefkowitz of Ruthy’s Real Meals told me. “Would you be willing to model?”
Wow. A “real woman” I am, all 65 years of me, and I do love lingerie, but I’ve only worn it for intimate hours, not a photography session.

I’m not shy, I just don’t think my 65-year-old body looks as good as it used to. But whose does? And if you can’t do something new and outrageous as an older person, when can you do it? “Sure, Ruth!” I said. “And if I love the experience, I’ll blog about it.”
I loved the experience.
The wonderful people at HerRoom were happy to provide some lovely garments and were enthusiastic about a woman my age modeling them.
We met in a garage converted (roughly) into a photography studio. Ruth made me feel comfortable with her relaxed, matter-of-fact approach to posing me and complimenting me. We had many giggles, too.
Ruth was exuberant about what she called my “curves,” and when I expressed alarm that the sags, folds, and puckers would come to light, she reassured me that she was there to capture the beauty in real women.
By golly, I think she did it.
Photos by Ruth Lefkowitz. If you live in or near Santa Rosa, CA, and would like to be photographed by Ruth, please email me and I’ll put you in touch.

HerRoom 125 x125HerRoom-Huge Clearance Sale

Lingerie provided by HerRoom Lingerie We Buy For Ourselves

Can Men be Attracted to Gravity-Challenged Breasts?

I was interviewed recently by Sarah Hampson about Boomer sex and dating for Canada’s Globe and Mail. The article, “Boomers, it’s a brave new sexual world,” appeared 1/15/09 and has attracted many reader comments, mostly people objecting to the tone or examples in the article, and several exhibiting the “ick factor,” as I call it — such as these examples:

  • I don’t really want to hear about people my parents age having sex.
  • Geriatric sex is just nasty. Back in the closet Woodstock.
  • Please go have your “old-person” sex somewhere else, but for everyone’s sake do it quietly.
  • I am now canceling my subscription to the Globe and Mail.
A quote from me in the article, “A man is attracted to you because he is attracted to you, not the shape of your breasts,” led to this comment from a reader:

This woman expert is clearly out to lunch on this one … discounts the physical part of attraction altogether, which for man is probably at least 50/50 with personality. The shape of a woman’s breasts are definitely part of the attraction package.

I had to respond:

Actually, I’m not discounting the physical part of attraction at all. What I am discounting is the notion that only a youthful appearance can be attractive. We ARE attractive and sexy even if our breasts are susceptible to gravity over time. My wonderful husband always exclaimed that he was stunned by the beauty of my far-from-perky breasts. Let’s just get over the youth orientation of what our society and the media label beautiful and/or sexy….

Then I had to laugh at the follow-up comment from another reader:

Your husband is also biased. Do you honestly think a husband is going to tell his wife he prefers the firm, perky breasts of a 20 y/o. No…he just dreams about them.

This amused me because as much as “the firm, perky breasts of a 20 y/o” fit society’s image as beautiful, and I never begrudged Robert any pleasure or fantasy he might have enjoyed when seeing (or imagining) a young woman’s cleavage, Robert was not wishing that I had breasts (or face, or feet, or hair) that were anything other than reality. He was an authentic man, and he valued authenticity in the woman he loved. He told me so, and proved it with his words, his caresses, and the delight in his eyes.

A Love Letter to Aging Bodies and Faces

Do you think aging has made you less attractive? Do you have difficulty seeing yourself or your partner as sexy and desirable?

Then it’s time to challenge your own as well as society’s perception that only young bodies and unlined faces are sexy and beautiful. We need to accept – no, celebrate! – our wrinkles and rejoice in all the pleasure these bodies can still give us.

Let’s join together and practice rejecting society’s youth-oriented view of beauty, keeping ourselves fit so that we feel happy with our bodies, and keeping a loud, buoyant sense of humor!

I love my 71-year-old husband Robert’s face and body. I look into his vibrant blue eyes and I see the young man as well as the older man. The older man is no less sexy than the younger man must have been (I didn’t know him then). In fact, he’s more sexy, because he has learned how to live joyfully and love completely in ways that a young man can’t know until he has lived a full life.

I look in the mirror, where new wrinkles seem to appear weekly. I try to walk my own talk, accepting my own face as I accept Robert’s, telling myself these wrinkles are badges of living, laughing, and loving. I tell myself, this is the youngest I’ll ever be from now on!

I asked my 103-year-old great aunt what it felt like to be more than a hundred. She said, “I’m the same person I always was.”

So are we. Rather than trying to deny our aging — which is futile anyway — let’s celebrate it.

(Photos by Mitch Rice, Robert’s son, on Robert’s 71st birthday)