It can be difficult to establish a loving relationship with our aging bodies. We are surrounded by images of the ideal woman—photoshopped, young, unrealistically thin. We don’t see many older women shown in a positive light, much less as sexual beings. We are often portrayed as in need of some medication or struggling to overcome the effects of aging. It’s no wonder we focus on every little wrinkle and jiggle.
I still have challenges with my body from time to time. I’m carrying extra weight, no longer baby fat since “baby” just turned 28. My breasts are attractive in a nice underwire bra; naked they’re a bit droopy. There are stretch marks. I have the body of a woman who’s approaching 60.
That is my body. This is who I am: Attractive, smart, funny and sexy. I can carry on a good conversation; I listen well. I make others feel good about themselves.
You have a similar list of fabulous qualities that make up the real you. Those things matter far more than how your body looks naked. Though, admittedly I have been known to get distracted wondering what I look like lying flat on my back, naked in broad daylight. Are the boobs drooping under my armpits?
We are not our bodies.
Talking with Ande Lyons last week on the Bring Back Desire radio show, we touched on the topic of body image as it relates to having sex after age 50. It’s a concern that many of us express.
Women worry about being judged for their bodies, at every age. It may be easier for women in long-term relationships or marriages, but those of us who are single and dating often show anxiety about getting naked with a new guy. I know I do. I worry about fat and that funky skin tag on the left side of my neck. I know that being over 50 has changed my body and how it looks.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think the man in my life cares about those things. I doubt he actually sees them. He is drawn to me for other reasons. He relishes our conversation and our sex life. He is not judging my body—he appreciates all it represents. Part of our appeal as older women is our life experience and that comes with physical markers of the journey.
Ladies, when you meet a man who judges you on your looks or your body, don’t be upset. He’s shallow. He fails to understand the complexity of relationships. Please realize he’s not seeing the real you, he’s thinking about a woman as an accessory for his midlife crisis car.
Sometimes I want to tell those guys what they’re missing out on.
The first step to conquering this fear is to accept and love the body you have. It can be daunting to imagine yourself naked with a new guy. It is perfectly fine to acknowledge these fears and to fret a little about your body.
We are more than just our bodies and we deserve to be recognized as wise, beautiful women, at any age, any shape, and any size.
Next week: Q&A with The Sex Expert
Walker Thornton is a 62-year-old author and public speaker on a mission to help older women discover and enhance their sexuality. She specializes in women’s issues: sex, aging, and relationships. Her book, Inviting Desire is written for the older woman seeking to bring more enjoyment into her life. You can find her at www.walkerthornton, on Instagram as wjt62, on Twitter: http://twitter.com/WalkerThornton and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WalkerJThornton/