|Photo by Ruth Lefkowitz
I discover it’s not just single women: I had a conversation with a man about my age who is no longer having sex with his wife because she’s too embarrassed about her weight gain to be naked with him.
Other men tell me similar stories — that their wives hide their bodies, and the men miss the sex and the intimacy, but don’t know how to ease their wives past their distaste for their bodies.
I’d like to talk to both genders here:
Finally, after meeting so many frogs (and not even tempted to kiss any of them), you’ve met a man who makes your heart flutter big time. You’ve flirted, you’ve gone on a few dates, you’ve talked half the night, you’ve laughed at his jokes and he at yours. On your last date, you kissed… and kissed. His hands went exploring, so did yours, and you know that on the next date, more than your lipstick will come off. You’ve even had the Condom Conversation.
But, your inner worrier keeps asking you, what if he sees your body and heads for the hills?
You’ve got to trust me on this, he’s not going to say or even think any of the following:
- “Oh, gee, you have so many wrinkles!”
- “You’d be so pretty if you lost weight.”
- “Huh—I thought you looked younger with clothes on.”
- “I like firmer butts and perkier breasts.”
- “Uh, I gotta go now.”
No, whether or not he voices it out loud or conveys it with a smile or melting eyes, here’s what he’s thinking:
Partnered women: Does your husband have the same body as when you first dated? I doubt it. Realize that your man wants you, wants the bonding with you, wants the sexual pleasure with you. Instead of asking him, “Do I look fat?” try asking, “What do you find the sexiest part of my body?” His answer might surprise you, and I’ll bet he’ll be delighted that you asked.
Men: You may not realize how insecure we women are about our bodies. We need to hear from you that you find us sexy, alluring, beautiful. If you think our breasts are gorgeous, or our rear view turns you on, please tell us. Even an “I could gaze into your eyes forever” will make our hearts flutter. We need you to help us affirm our bodies. A hefty dose of romance does wonders for us, too!
We women are our own worst critics, always have been. Remember those teenage pimples? Those worries about our shape and smell? Let’s decide, once and for all, that our bodies are just right, capably of visually delighting a partner and of bringing us both great pleasure.
If we can’t do that at this time of life, when can we? Even if we don’t fully believe it, acting “as if” we’re proud of our bodies will help make it so.
So when it’s time for that get-naked date, prepare with some gorgeous lingerie, dim the lights if you feel the need, but don’t black out the view (candles are sexy and flattering), have lubricant handy, and enjoy.
I’d love to hear from both women and men about this topic! Please comment.
This post was originally published in a slightly different form 11/8/11. I expanded and updated it 11/20/2012.
1. Tell the truth (about age, build, marital status)
2. Post a current photo without sunglasses
3. If someone messages you and you’re not interested, give a courteous “no, thank you.”
I keep hearing, “Yeah, but what do you say if you’re not interested?” Don’t lie. Do be polite. Do answer. (Ignoring someone is much more hurtful than anything you might say. However, if the initial message from him/her is inappropriate, feel free to ignore.)
My usual advice is this: Make it clear, honest, and polite — something like, “Thank you for writing, and I enjoyed reading your profile… [Insert something complimentary about the person’s qualities/interests here.] However, I don’t think we’re a match. [No need to give reason, but you can if it’s something specific and doesn’t put the other person down.] Best wishes for finding what you seek.'”
Today I decided to expand the age range I was seeking to include age 50 to 73. (I’m 68, whatever that might mean to you.) Before, I had the lower limit at 55, but I don’t mind if the man is younger than that, as long as he is smart, fit, and interesting; matches my energy; and is attracted to older women.
A delightful, 51-year-old man came up in my search. We had much in common, and I found his photo very attractive. I wrote him a complimentary message, and ended with this: “…I know you say your upper age limit is 55 — is that firm? See my profile and current photos before you answer.”
He turned me down, but the way he said no prompted me to write this blog post. It’s the nicest rejection I’ve ever received, and it will become my new model of how to respond when not interested. He gave me permission to post it here, without identifying him in any way:
Thank you for writing, it’s nice to be approached on occasion instead of
doing all the outreach. (And I always respond, I can’t stand it when I
send an email and am not even afforded the courtesy of a “no”.) I’m
not absolutely firm on my age range, but honestly 68 is a bit beyond
what I will consider. You sound like a live wire and a wonderful lady
to get to know, and I wish you the best in finding someone who can match
your spirit and energy.
See why I love this message? It’s extremely complimentary — he read my profile, he thinks I’m cool — and he’s honest about why he’s saying no. Perfect. Thank you, not-to-be-identified man who inspired this post.
I welcome comments, especially if you have a nice way of saying, “No, thank you.”
“Chemistry,” he said. “I searched through Naked at Our Age and I didn’t find that you discussed it at all. What are your thoughts?”
We were on a second date. Interesting question. What is chemistry, and how does it affect our choices of dating, pursuing a relationship, having sex?
I found myself discussing the importance and wonder of attraction /chemistry in generalities at first. We agreed that although attraction can grow through friendship, usually it’s either there or it’s not right from the beginning. We can think, this is an interesting, accomplished, fabulous person, and I really should feel attracted to him/her, but I’m not!
Then I went for complete candor: “For example,” I told him, “You’re an amazing person. But I just don’t feel any chemistry here.”
To my relief, he responded, “I feel the same way.”
Whew! We continued our conversation with gusto and interest, and agreed to see each other once in a while — as friends.
What determines whether there’s chemistry for us as seniors, specifically? I would guess that during childbearing years it serves a biological purpose — our biology is matching us with some people and not with others. But if we’re not looking for a mate to propagate the species but for other reasons entirely, why isn’t it easier to find that elusive chemistry? What purpose does the “no chemistry” warning serve at our age?
We discussed how you tell someone that the chemistry isn’t there. I think my friend’s approach (intentional or not) was excellent — ask the question first: “What is chemistry to you? Tell me your thoughts.” From there, it’s an easy transition to the admission that there isn’t chemistry between you.
What are your thoughts about chemistry, what purpose it serves at our age, and how you tell someone in a kind way that it isn’t there for you?
(I started this topic on my Naked at Our Age Facebook page, where we discuss all sorts of news and views about senior sex — I hope you’ll read and “like” that page and comment there on topics of interest to you.)
You’d think that a lively movie about elders dating and having sex (or wanting to) would be just the kind of film I’d applaud. I did applaud the idea of Play the Game when I first heard about it — until I actually viewed it. Maybe I’m just too sensitive about senior sex, but I found this film neither funny nor instructive. In fact, I found it cringe-worthy for these reasons:
1. The whole premise of the movie is that widowed Grandpa Joe(Andy Griffith), living in a retirement community, is lonely but doesn’t know how to play dating games, while surrounded by women, one of whom (Doris Roberts) he’d like to date, and another (Liz Sheridan) who wants to seduce him. Grandson David (Paul Campbell) takes the old man under his wing and teaches him to manipulate women.
We’re led to think that Grandpa will end up reversing roles and educating Grandson about how to stop playing games and communicate honestly, respect women, and create meaningful relationships — something Grandson has been unable to do in his own life. But (spoiler alert:) the opposite happens. We learn that the object of Grandson’s affections (Marla Sokoloff) has been manipulating him more than he’s been manipulating her, and has taught her grandmother (Roberts) to do the same. There, I’ve ruined the ending for you and you don’t have to go see it.
The characters all deserve each other.
2. One of the so-called hilarious incidents is Liz Sheridan as an elder seductress crushing Viagra into a glass, adding wine, and giving it to her seductee without telling him what’s in the glass. This is such a horrible, dangerous idea that I couldn’t suspend my reality check long enough to laugh at the predictible results.
“It’s a miracle!” exclaims our re-energized and rising hero. It wouldn’t have been a miracle if he had been on heart medicine — it would have been a death scene. How funny is that? (This scene used to be online, but seems to have disappeared.)
If you must see this (and I don’t recommend it, unless you want to see if you agree with me), please take a teenager with you and plan a long talk afterwards to debunk everything you saw. Otherwise, your teen might see it on his/her own and believe the dating advice aimed at both young folks and seniors.
My verdict: Ick, skip it. Here’s the trailer, but it doesn’t show how bad it is or how insulting to seniors.