Aging: Women’s Sexuality

28 Mar

Women really seem to have it hard. The socially constructed ideas of beauty, sexism, and the unequal pay are all problems women have to face. There also seems to be one more: the decline of women’s sex appeal as we get older.

Older men are not as scrutinized as older women. Men seem to grow more attractive as they get older while women are criticized if they look their age. Oh no, they’re actually aging normally like human beings should. Whatever shall we do with ourselves?

Actresses often do not show their bodies on television after they reach a certain age unless they look like they’re still twenty years old. Men, however, are the opposite. They often pair older men with women who are significantly younger than them. For example, in As Good As it Gets (1997), Jack Nicholson (60 at the time of the movie) is paired with Helen Hunt (34 at time of movie). Another example: Autumn in New York where Richard Gere (51 then) is paired with Winona Ryder (29). Why is this so acceptable and yet older women cannot go after younger men and are labeled cougars?

Natasha Scripture, on The Huffington Post, addresses this issue in her article “At 34, Am I a Hard Sell?” [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natasha-scripture/fertility_b_1373588.html] She wonders why she must lower her standards because she has gotten a little older and the men her age are looking for younger women.

Women’s sexual appeal declines as they grow older because they no longer fit into socially constructed ideas of beauty. So many women work so hard to keep themselves looking young for just a bit longer, often depending on ridiculous amounts of anti-aging cream or anti-wrinkle creams. Then there are botox injections, plastic surgery, and all sorts of other ways to medically “fix” this one major problem – getting old.

Why does getting old have to be a problem? I think it’s just nature taking its course and if you’ve lived your life happily, then what does it matter, especially if you have someone special to share your long life with. I want to be one of those sickeningly cute couples who, even when they’re 70 years old, hold hands and are so obviously in love. I want to have shared so many years with someone that I know them better than I know myself. As long as that one person thinks you’re beautiful, why care what other people think?

Older women often dye their hair because they don’t want to show their white/grey hairs. I, however, think that grey/white hair is beautiful and gives an air of respectability because it means they’ve lived a long life and survived their hardships.

I think older women should be admired because they have reached maturity and many of the older women I know are confident and, in my opinion, very attractive. I feel, in fact, that surgery to make yourself look younger just makes you look stranger. That is my own opinion, however, and if it makes someone else happy, I will not judge them for their choice. In fact, if it makes them happy, go for it. I just don’t approve of it if it is just to try and seem attractive to other people. It’s your natural body – love it and appreciate it.

4 Responses to “Aging: Women’s Sexuality”

  1. dicipres 03/28/2012 at 3:48 pm #

    “Women’s sexual appeal declines as they grow older because they no longer fit into socially constructed ideas of beauty”

    Well, I am speaking from the other side, and I’m not sure if I’m wasting my time or not, but still I’ll try to give another perspective:

    Women’s sexual appeal declines as they grow older because their fertility declines with age. Older women are less attractive for men in every human culture and this is not a “socially constructed idea” but a biological agenda of men. Even when older women are attractive it is only since they still look like young women.

    I don’t write this in order to make you or other women feel bad, but because I believe it is a better description of reality compared with holding on to victim status and blaming society for the painful loss of beauty every person goes through eventually.

    All the best

    • parklena 03/29/2012 at 4:03 pm #

      First, thank you for your opinion. However, I have to disagree with you. While I agree that biology does play a part in it, there are too many other factors to only think biology plays a part. Beauty is subjective. You said that women hold onto victim status and blame society for the loss of beauty people go through. But the fact that you say that, I think, shows that the idea of beauty is social and cultural. I feel that we grow older, not less beautiful. I hope you understand my point of view.

  2. Arnold Kahn 03/28/2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Right on!

  3. Mary-Kate 03/29/2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Awesome! I completely agree- beauty shouldn’t be based on how young one is/looks.

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