Sex Shaming Has No Age Limits

Sex Shaming Has No Age Limits

nudity, authenticity, aging, sexuality Why is it that some women feel compelled to shame other women? To label their activities as slutty and dismiss their stories? It has happened to me and other women writers I know; it seems to occur when we choose to be open about our sex lives.  There will always be some self-appointed know-it-all ready to shame, judge or blame and then tell women what they “should” do.  There are no shoulds when it comes to sex…unless we’re talking about protection from disease and safety. And, even then, who invested me or you with the power to force our opinions on someone else?

I’m fuming this morning over some of the conversations spurred on by an article Robin Korth wrote about a dating encounter. Things were going well until they got to the sex part and then 55 yr old Dave (she doesn’t share what he looks like) became completely turned off by the body of the similarly aged woman he was about to have sex with. Dave clearly has issues. He wanted her hair to be longer, he wanted her to wear the little black dress, he had to have sex with her in the dark so he could pretend she was young. A man with issues. She chose not to give into his demands and her story has provoked many people. Some people were irritated by her description of her size 6 body. One older woman said that mature women should never show their naked bodies to a man…we’ll never have sex again (what Kool Aid is she drinking?).  And of course there was male-bashing.

We live in an ageist culture, surrounded by myths, put-downs and advertising promises all designed to make us feel dissatisfied with ourselves at a given age.  This is really on my mind as I approach 60 in a matter of days–single and on a dating site. I’m not going to lie about my age and I’m not going to reach out for pills and injections or surgery to try to erase the years. Admittedly it’s hard to look in the mirror sometimes and see the changes in my body but I consider myself blessed to have made it this far in life, relatively unscathed.

I don’t intend to let anyone dictate how I show up for sex or work or walking down the street. And, I hope you won’t either.

We bring ourselves to every situation, every relationship just as we are. And, we’re accepted for that or we’re not. Those who can’t see our true beauty aren’t worthy of being in our lives. Isn’t it that simple? If any one person is judging us or telling us what we have to wear, or how to ‘show up’ they aren’t really seeing us. And clearly that person isn’t the least bit interested in true engagement. That’s where we get to exercise our choice–to pursue a fuller life, to find a more compatible partner, to let go of a ‘friend’ who no longer supports us. We can choose who comes into our life.  We can invite or deny access to our bed.

One of the conversations that got under my skin had to do with letting men see our naked bodies. It was suggested that mature women shouldn’t let a man see them naked. Why on earth would a woman want to have sex with a man who couldn’t bear to see her body? Should she hide in the dark, keeping her beautiful, aging body cloaked as if it were a thing of shame?

The best sex you’ll ever have is Naked Sex.

Naked Sex is sex where both parties are willing to drop their protective armor and allow themselves to become fully immersed in the experience. There is no subjugating our own desires to make sure he’s happy. No hiding because you fear he/she won’t like your body. No manipulation, no coercion.

Naked Sex is about showing the real you. You can be naked or sensuously draped in lingerie that excites your senses. Both of you take ownership of your own desires and needs. You are able to communicate with each other and willingly enter into a moment of sexual pleasure.  It’s when we find each other to be equally engaged and desirous that we have the most satisfying experiences.

Feel free to share your thoughts in a civil, sex-positive manner. No sex shaming here!

Image: Naked by George Grosz

  • Elizabeth Flora Ross
    Posted at 08:38h, 16 July Reply

    So well said! Thank you for writing this. I was very bothered by the comments that a woman “of a certain age” should never get fully naked with a man. To me, that is such a dangerous and erroneous message. Love your point of view. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:54h, 16 July Reply

      Absolutely Elizabeth. It’s always disturbing to me to hear other women try and shame us or convince us to do things their way. I can’t imagine entering any relationship where the ‘game’ is to manipulate or win over the other person. As for naked? If we can’t get naked with a lover then we’ve got the wrong person in our bed-don’t you agree?

  • Julie Phelps
    Posted at 08:57h, 16 July Reply

    Great article – hopefully getting the attention of both sexes of all ages.
    Anyone who desires a true connection with a potential partner needs to embrace your words. Without honest acceptance and appreciation of the other person, there is no real connection. Why go through the hoops for a person who makes you feel there is something wrong with you as you are?

    Keep searching.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:41h, 16 July Reply

      Julie, yes! I think many of us know that. But sometimes we act out of fear or need or something else that keeps us from making good choices.

  • Brian Buchbinder
    Posted at 09:08h, 16 July Reply

    Thanks, Walker,

    Naked is the way I like to have sex. If my beloved likes lingerie for herself, that’s fine, but I don’t need it. My body has its share of the marks of maturity, and I’m not put off that my partners’ bodies do as well. Lucky me.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:44h, 16 July Reply

      Lingerie is fun, I enjoy it as part of the flirtation and play that lends a little spice to sex. Putting it on is fun; having him take it off is more fun. But, if I can’t feel comfortable naked with a man then I’ve probably not made the best choice. It’s funny, I’ve found in my online dating experiences that (some) men have rigid expectations about what their woman should look like while they aren’t necessarily in such great shape themselves. We all bring our marks and scars with us and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Donna
    Posted at 09:31h, 16 July Reply

    Thank you, just thank you. I have been so self destructive in my attitude about myself. I feel better, and I will remember what you said here. Thank you

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:45h, 16 July Reply

      Donna, we have all have those moments–it’s easy to feel self-doubt in a culture that shoves ‘fake’ perfection down our throats. Don’t feel bad about what you’ve done…just find a new way to move forward.

  • virginia sullivan
    Posted at 09:45h, 16 July Reply

    Wonderful post Walker. You are my idol and I turn to you when the media makes me think that sex is only between beautiful young people or people who have been together so long that they don’t even look at each other. Congratulations on the upcoming birthday- you’re amazing!

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:07h, 16 July Reply

      Virginia, that is one of kindest things anyone has ever said to, or about, m. Thank you so much. So glad that you’re finding the beauty of being older!

  • Kathy @ SMART Living
    Posted at 10:30h, 16 July Reply

    Hi Walker! Yes I was bothered by that post and the responses too…but then I feel very fortunate to be in a long term relationship and not have to get naked in front of someone new. But still, I can’t even imagine trying to hide who I am and what I look like. What would be the point in that? As I have often thought and said to others, it is better to be alone that be in a relationship where you can’t be who your REALLY are (naked) warts and all.~Kathy

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:10h, 16 July Reply

      Kathy, I agree—giving up or denying who we are is not the way to approach anything in life. I think we all want to be embraced for all we bring, in every adventure. I’ve gotten naked in front of someone new and have found, in the right relationship, that the physical warts/baggage disappears in the presence of intimacy and sexual pleasure.

  • Rosie Battista
    Posted at 10:59h, 16 July Reply

    “The best sex you’ll ever have is Naked Sex.” profound words Walker and I couldn’t agree more.

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:07h, 16 July Reply

      Rosie, I felt a little guilty taking ‘your’ term but it so applies to the literal and figurative approach to meaningful sex! I know you’d agree.

  • Lisa Froman
    Posted at 11:06h, 16 July Reply

    Well-said. I read the article you referred to and was dismayed by the man’s immaturity. But that is another story. I think everyone gets to decide how to express themselves sexually ….and it is ridiculous for anyone to shame another. That man actually tried to shame the woman, but thankfully, she was having no part of it. We should all take our cues from her. Really, there are so many big things we could be using our energy on…..

    • Walker
      Posted at 19:37h, 16 July Reply

      I couldn’t agree more Lisa. When we get clear on our priorities and learn to take care of ourselves fully, with intention, it becomes easier to steer clear of people like this guy. Right? Thanks for your input.

  • Joan Stommen
    Posted at 11:07h, 16 July Reply

    Absolutely Walker….nothing on but the radio! As your Graham Green quote above states….if it’s mutual desire and response, visuals don’t matter. Some women prefer only in the dark….but there’s no darkness in daytime! Age is no problem, my friend…trust me! Great post…I was expecting you to write given the lively conversation the other day! Well done.

    • Walker
      Posted at 12:20h, 16 July Reply

      Ha ha Joan, I was just waiting for clarity and to be rational! “Age is no problem.” That’s the kind of attitude we all should adopt! Thanks so much for your friendship and your support.

  • Kathy
    Posted at 11:13h, 16 July Reply

    Beautifully written Walker! I agree whole-heartedly. It’s important to free yourself from those in your life that are negative, both in a sexual way and in everyday life. Sexual freedom is attained when you love yourself and enjoy your body as well as your partners. Thank you for sharing!

    • Walker
      Posted at 12:05h, 16 July Reply

      Kathy, thank you and thanks for visiting my website. Loving ourselves and our bodies is key, I agree.

  • Carol Cassara
    Posted at 11:19h, 16 July Reply

    Naked is the only way to be–and I don’t mean just nude. I would’ve kissed that guy off in a heartbeat. There are PLENTY of guys who are affirming and loving. The guy was an ass. As far as shaming is concerned, no one can shame you without you being complicit. Say what they will, if your sense of your self is strong you are able to shake your head and laugh it off. My body is so far from perfect it laughable but when I pointed out to my husband that we hadn’t seen each other in 27 years, his response was not “what do you look like” but “what, you don’t think I know who you are?” Now THAT’s a man worth having. Which is why I have him again after all those years!

    • Walker
      Posted at 12:06h, 16 July Reply

      Carol, as always your comments are to the point and pack a punch. Your husband’s response was just perfect! I can see why you reconnected.

  • Shannon Bradley-Colleary
    Posted at 18:08h, 16 July Reply

    Hey Walker –thanks for writing about this. I was particularly moved by the story you referred to. I thought the authoress was so loving and tender with herself in the aftermath of body shaming she endured. I think she’s a beacon.

    • Walker
      Posted at 19:04h, 16 July Reply

      Thank you Shannon. I agree that her honesty and willingness to reveal the shame she experienced will help women. Thanks so much for adding your voice.

  • Sharon Greenthal
    Posted at 19:12h, 16 July Reply

    I was infuriated by the man’s response to her, but I also understood it…men are such visual creatures, and if he was as big a jerk as I assume he was, he would never be able to get past his idealized image of women to appreciate the gift of sharing intimacy with a woman who clearly is intelligent and available.

    I do wonder how she could possibly not have noticed the lack of sexual attraction on his part before the conversation about he body took place. Maybe you can shed some light on that? From what I remember, that was always the first thing that happened when a man and a woman found each other interesting – that spark.

    I found her article touching and genuine and I hope that guy has learned a lesson from her.

    • Walker
      Posted at 19:23h, 16 July Reply

      Sharon, you pose a fascinating question. I can usually tell if there is sexual chemistry…it’s rare for that to develop naturally if some level of physical attraction isn’t present early on. But, there may be people for whom familiarity and comfort leads to sexual chemistry. And, having been there myself, when we meet a really nice guy…one who seems attentive, who (in her case) plays with our dog and cooks for us–we get caught up in the desire to think we’ve found Mr. Right….and we fail to really see what’s going on! If this guy was as ‘youth-oriented’ as she portrays him then he wasn’t throwing off those vibes early on. My guess.
      It’s hard to find the guy who has all the things we think we want. Sometimes we don’t tune in to the vibes we’re getting.
      I doubt that ‘Dave’ learned any lesson–not without therapy. He seems pretty entrenched in his quest for youth and his skilled manipulation. Sadly. And, it’s his loss–I’ve had similar experiences, mostly before we even got to the first date and I’ve often thought these men were going to miss out on wonderful, complex relationships just by going for the taut tummy and perky tits! Ms. Korth won that round!

  • Bobbie Morgan
    Posted at 19:54h, 16 July Reply

    As if we need to be told that naked sex is the best sex you’ll ever have??? Aside from the liberation in revealing our whole physical selves to each other, so much of the joy of sex is about touch, contact, and the beauty of seeing each other in the purest and most intimate exchanges a couple can experience. I am by no means a knockout, but the verbal and visual expressions I get from my lover when we are making love are the sweetest compliments he or anyone have ever given me.

    And at 69, he’s rather hot himself and really rocks a pair of bike shorts!

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:50h, 17 July Reply

      Bobbie, your relationship with Parrot is a wonderful example of the kind of connections we can make as we age…or at any age. It should never be about ‘the body’–that’s not who we are or where our real allure, intellect or strengths lie.

  • Tammy
    Posted at 20:02h, 16 July Reply

    I read the piece you speak of. Disturbing. One of things that came to mind was how she didn’t know this about the man she was with. At the risk of sounding ‘fuddy-duddy’, I’ve never had sex with a man I didn’t take my damn time to really know. Know what he stood for, what he was about, his likes, dislikes, opinions, appreciations, etc. How could you not know that your man isn’t aroused by you? It rang strange. As far as nudity goes, I struggle being friends with my body. However, I never feel anything but sexy when my man holds and touches me…everywhere. I have no compulsion to hide from love, receive it and share it. Thank God for small favors!

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:56h, 17 July Reply

      Tammy–I struggle with my body too, many of us do. And, with my most recent partner it wasn’t an issue. I want a man who looks beyond my body to see all the assets I bring along–that’s one of my criteria for dating.
      I have tumbled into bed too quickly, many of us have as singles–and that’s OK, as long as we are aware of the risks. If the goal is a longer term, more meaningful kind of intimacy then taking your time to sort out what’s really at play and discovering your mutual compatibility makes more sense. I have also learned that I’m going to have more satisfying sex when I’ve taken time to get to know my partner. But, I will know early on if the ‘sexual attraction’ is mutual–I wonder about that one as well!
      Thanks for sharing; I don’t see you as a fuddy-duddy just a woman expressing her preferences and thoughts.

  • Barbara
    Posted at 16:53h, 17 July Reply

    Hi Walker, this conversation is challenging, given the culture we live in. How women shame themselves and other women saddens me.
    Now 62 and suddenly single, I am confounded by feeling very hot and sexy and not being objectified any longer. There’s part of that that’s a big relief, and parts that I miss. And my experience has nothing to do with the package my sexiness is wrapped in. I will soon be on a dating site and see how that unfolds.
    My work is with women with cancer and how that impacts their sense of beauty, self-esteem, desirability and their intimate and sexual lives. Many of them with breast cancer are challenged to love their changed bodies, especially if they’ve had breast surgery or removal. Some with partners won’t allow their partners to see them naked. Some partners are turned off. This is a big opportunity for tenderness, love, forgiveness and communication. Part of that process is about we women defining beauty and sexiness on our terms, not the narrow cultural mores. My personal experience is that when I experience my own beauty, I radiate that to the world. Oddly I often hear “you don’t look like 62…” as if that’s a compliment and 62 should look a certain way.
    What a wonderful journey for us to be on together, even when it’s painful. The more we can connect with ourselves and our beauty as women, the more love we’ll experience for ourselves and with others.

    • Walker
      Posted at 17:01h, 17 July Reply

      Barbara, what a wonderful thing you do, with and for women. Yes, ‘beauty’ is self-defined and often a challenge as you’ve noted in American culture. Isn’t it fascinating how our own feelings radiate out into the world-an experience I have had as well.
      So pleased to have you reading. I look forward to more interactions.

  • Kim Jorgensen Gane
    Posted at 11:23h, 03 August Reply

    Here! Here! I wouldn’t want to share my life or my bed with someone who didn’t appreciate all of me, inside and out. A big F U comes to mind. Rejection & judgment like that comes from a sad empty place inside Dave and those like him, male or female. I think it also comes from a need to look away from one’s own aging, perhaps even so far as self-loathing. Our minds have been twisted by Victoria’s Secret and Play Boy and perhaps even leading man images of *should,* like you pointed out, Walker. Which is just so sad, especially because so much of it is airbrushed and fake. Yet it’s something I feel within my marriage sometimes. Maybe it comes as much from my own insecurities as I age. If I find myself single someday (a scary thought for a 5′ aging chubby girl), the point is perhaps to hold out for that one special like-minded individual who deserves my company. And in the meantime, to work on being better than OK alone.

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:37h, 03 August Reply

      Kim, it’s easy when you’re in the game to forget that what’s happening isn’t about us but about the men and the attitudes they carry. I know my worth and I know I make a great dating and sex partner, friend, companion, etc…. So, I’ll just have to keep wading in the swampy waters, amuse myself, have adventures, read more books and be open…and one day maybe I’ll come across “that” guy.
      And yes, I think it’s a bit about fear of aging, of playing to fantasies, flawed character and any number of factors. Culture and perception play a huge role. And, there is in the online dating game a bit of the kid in a candy shop searching for the perfect piece of candy.

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