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Understanding our Sexuality as we Age

Well, I think, much the same as a lot of women of my vintage, and despite Ms Greer’s presence, and the burning of the bra era, I didn’t really understand a great deal about my sexuality when I was younger. It just wasn’t discussed in my orbit.

So, has the aging process corrected this? Let’s just say, that after 68 years and the discussion on this subject the other night, I have learnt a thing or two.

Mind you, considering the centuries and centuries, even to this day, that women’s sexuality has been misunderstood and ignored by men, AND women, a mere 68 years is not too bad I suppose.

Our EWP evening commenced, with Jenny, a long-time and committed member, giving us a wonderfully open and honest account of her sexual life in her aging years and how very different it is now, to what it was during her 40 plus years of faithful marriage.

Jenny has a good circle of female friends, who she socialises with regularly. Like a lot of women, however, she also enjoys the company of men sometimes. A little bit of flirting, and the proffered assurance, that she is still appealing to the opposite gender, is a wonderful emotional tonic she told us.

Jenny is enjoying her sexuality more in her present phase of life; she is not looking for a new life-partner; there’s no danger of her falling pregnant and giving birth to a 30 year old; she is not seeking the security some people feeling they need from a relationship; she is not naive – so she is cautious not to be used; she believes in being true to herself, and she enjoys being appreciated as an independent, mature woman. Good on her, I say.

Following on from Jenny’s engaging and candid talk, we decided to unpack the subject further, and we determined that to understand our sexuality, we first need to be able to identify who we are to ourselves. Yes, society plays a big role in the way we identify and define ourselves, but if we don’t know our core values, and what makes us tick, we have no way of knowing our sexual preferences, nor how to nourish and maintain that relationship, with ourselves. We need to identify this part of ourselves to our-self before we can begin to share, in a healthy way, this beautiful part of who we are, with anyone else. It helps us maintain our inner equilibrium, which is vital for the whole of our well-being. Sexual, emotional and physical, it’s all wrapped up in the little you, little me package. All connected.

So, when I heard the other night, that over half of the female population quietly suffer from some sexual dysfunction, I was surprised, not surprised. Shocked, not shocked!

Really? Yes, because for all our talk, females talk very little about sex. Women, far more than men, still feel ashamed about discussing sex. Millions of women wouldn’t even know what their own genitalia looks like. Whereas, I imagine it would be almost impossible, to find one man in this whole wide world, who doesn’t know what his looks like. And a lot of his friends, from school and workmates, and strangers to boot!

Like the wage gap, there’s an orgasm gap (wouldn’t you know it), with heterosexual women having an orgasm less than 60% of the time they have sex. For men, of course, they climax 90% of the time. Funny how they always come out on top, so to speak.

Could some sort of tablet fix female dysfunction? No, because it’s not broken! Female sexuality needs to be understood, not misunderstood, as it has been since the beginning of time. We, females and males, need a far clearer understanding of how women actually work. Sex, for women, is not just an act. A destination. Orgasm or bust! Orgasm or failure! For years we’ve been led to believe that if we didn’t have an orgasm, we’d failed, or worse still, there must be something wrong with us!

Fortunately, women today, are at last, asking themselves what we should have been asking way back in the Garden of Eden ‘what is sex, for me?’ FOR ME – My one-of- a- kind body. WHAT DO I LIKE? And the way women are finding that answer is by understanding and accepting themselves, and their own unique experience.

Sex is about our relationship to our senses. And in order to have that relationship, we women need to slow down and listen to our bodies. Be in the present moment. Be in touch with how we like to be touched. Define to ourselves what it is that gives us pleasure, and satisfaction, and dispose of the guilt for feeling so delicious.

Sex is a three-letter word, not a four letter one. Far from being dirty, it is sacred and about honouring our whole health and well- being. And if we are serious about empowering women and girls to fully own their lives, teaching them these lessons, which we have pioneered by the way, is crucial for the next step on the ladder of equality.

Which means, ladies, it is time for us to dispose of the blinkers imposed on us by that other gender, and to see, and respect ourselves as the unique and beautiful creatures we really are, and to pay homage to the whole of ourselves, as we should have always been doing. The time has come, and that time is another three-letter word called NOW.

Bella H.

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