I love this! A group of women in their 70s and 80s decided to pose nearly nude for a calendar to raise money for their historical society in Monongahela, a small community near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Associated Press picked up the story, which is why you’ll read it in your newspaper and hear it on the radio. The most interesting part of this story is the reactions from the media. Just what you’d expect — the newspapers label it “weird news” and newspeople comment, “I don’t think I’ll want to look at that.”
Why not? At what age does a woman cease to be sexy or attractive? 39? 45? 50? Personally, I think we get sexier and more attractive as we age, because we radiate who we are, our vigor and experience, our self-knowledge, our capacity for loving and living. We “earn” our wrinkles — they are our badges of experience. Anyone who would dismiss the twinkle in our eye because of the wrinkles in our neck deserves to miss out on what we can offer!
I haven’t seen the calendar, but I understand the props — poinsettia, umbrella, piano — are strategically placed so that nothing shows except face, neck, and maybe a bare shoulder. But it’s still cool that these women had the gumption and self-confidence to say, hey, let’s shake things up a bit!
Help launch me & my cleavage into the blogosphere…” writes Sue Katz in her first post on her blog, Consenting Adult: Rants & Reviews on Lust, Kink and Culture. Sue, approaching age 60, indeed bares her cleavage in her photo as well as her words on this provocative blog. I interviewed Sue, former professional martial artist and world traveller, and now a writer living in Boston.
JP: Your blog is called “Consenting Adult.” What’s the focus?
SK: I’m working on a book about kink and older people, so the blog is a place to explore many of those ideas. I focus on people over 45 and all things sexual – especially alternative sexualities. I write about culture – everything from books (bondage and beyond) and movies (I hated “Notes on a Scandal”). I also react to current events, such my recent piece about National Secretary’s Week. I have written about Jane Austen, reported on recent surveys (“Solo Play More Orgasmic than Partner Sex”) and compared partner dancing to kinky sex.
JP: How do you define “alternative sexualities”?
SK: I know from my own life that human sexuality is as elastic as the pants I wear to work out in. I was a butch lesbian until my 50s and now I’m in a relationship with a man. I believe people can get turned on in more ways than they might suspect – whether it’s kinky play or intimacy with someone of the same sex. Some people organize their love-life differently – such as those into swinging and polyamory. Other people explore fetishes – specific images or activities that curl their toes.
JP: What’s the connection with age?
SK: After a wild young adulthood, my sex life was pretty muted in my 40s. Like many women, after menopause I had this rush of horniness and since I met my boyfriend it has been extremely passionate. I started noticing that in many ways alternative practices suited aging lovers. For example, bondage or spanking don’t require hardness or wetness. There’s a whole body out there – beyond traditional intercourse – and many sweet sensations. I also started noticing that lots of older people are stepping out of old sexual habits into brave new thrills.
JP: Your final word?
SK: It’s not a coincidence that so many writers are looking at the heat our generation is generating – as we always have. I love your work, Joan, and am glad that so many of us are talking about our adventures openly. Thanks for inviting me!
That’s expecially true as we get older. Women who have been in long term, joyful, sexy relationships with partners who knew exactly how to please them sometimes tell me that they just aren’t responding the way they used to, even when a partner is doing exactly what used to send them into orbit. They worry that maybe they aren’t interested in sex any more, and perhaps they should settle into a comfortable but sexless love life.
That might be fine, if both partners would be happy with that (ah, there’s the rub!). But many women and men who talk me express that they really miss the heightened connection with their partner, the electrified responses they used to feel to his or her touch, and the crashing waves of release. And they miss the eager joy of anticipating sex. As one woman told me, “I want my sweet tooth back.”
I know I’ve just brushed the surface of this topic. We’ll keep talking about this.
Hey, this is so cool! I just received the “Best of the North Bay 2007” award for “Best and Mightiest Aphrodite” AKA “wrinkly sex kitten” by the North Bay Bohemian newspaper ! I love it!
This happened the same week I had cataract surgery. It all fits together, doesn’t it? 😉 Here’s the article:
Best and Mightiest Aphrodite
If gaining entrance to the love-ins of the ’60s was contingent upon being mortal, Aphrodite would likely have traded in her spot on Mt. Olympus for a ticket. Some 40-odd years later, would this goddess-turned-mortal still be sexy? Somewhere after menopause, she’d probably have traded in her Botticelli curls for a Diane Sawyer coif. Popping Viagra, suitors would still come knocking to woo this now mature and wrinkly sex kitten.
Wrinkly sex kitten? Yeah, why not. Enter the world of Joan Price, who at 63 is pshawing the way that pop culture ridicules older people who still have sex. The Sebastopol resident has written Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, which has become something of a bible for sextua-, septua- and octogenarians wanting to restore their sex lives. She’s packed the book with exercises to keep love muscles tuned up, testimonials by older women doing it and her own story about falling for the love of her life at age 57. This author-cheerleader has been touring throughout the country, giving workshops to women–and sometimes men–who are 50-plus and want to keep their sex drive alive. “When I do a workshop,” she says giggling, “it’s sort of an ice breaker the first time I say ‘lubricant’ or ‘vaginal tissue’ or ‘clitoris’ or ‘sex toy.'”
To Price, mature desire is not an oxymoron. In fact, she and her husband don’t see any reason why wisdom shouldn’t be sexy. “[My husband] sees wrinkles as sexy,” she says. “He sees an aging body and face, certainly, as extremely attractive, because they reflect what a woman has experienced and learned and given to the world and brought back to herself. Someone without them is sort of suspect.”
Price also has a popular blog, www.betterthanieverexpected.blogspot.com, where she and her readers discuss issues surrounding aging. In one recent post, Price brainstorms about different terms to describe older people: senior, elderly, mature, etc. She was prompted to write this post after reading a newspaper article that referred to a political conference attendee as a “little old lady.” Although the article wasn’t talking about her, per se, she took it as an affront to her demographic as a whole. On her blog, she quipped, “Don’t call me a little old lady . . . Call me Joan.” Whatever you call her, she’s our mighty, middle-aged Aphrodite.