Art of Woman

Older age sexuality

In "The Canberra Times" today, page B5, Virginia Haussegger wrote an article about older women showing cleavages - or not. She makes the observation that older women do not usually show their cleavages. When they do, they are often criticised. It seems women over 40 are not supposed to be sexy!

Virginia Haussagger links women's display of sexual power as a measure of her confidence. That is until she becomes about 40. Why should society be afraid and affronted with female sexuality when that female is past her fertility? What is so threatening about older female sexual power?

Many older women seem to be happy to become immersed in their grandchildren or enjoying a quiet life on their own. However, there are also a significant number of older women (and men) who do not fit this mold and simply refuse to give up their sexuality simply because they are considered by others to be too old.

Take my mother for example. She fell in love at 70 and got married at 71! Yes married. A full wedding. Bride's maids, flower girl, minister, lots of guests and yummy food. The works. Their marriage is an obviously affectionate one and it has given both of them a whole new lease of life. They still hug and enjoy each other's company more than ten years on. I congratulate them.

My family is not the only example of older age sexuality. "The Canberra Times" today, on page B11 under "Adult services" there is an advertisement, "GROANING GRANNY Sixty+." Then a mobile phone number and rates charged.

I wonder what she talks about!!!! I'm glad that she is bold enough to be sexy in her sixties and even advertise the fact! Many older folk have good health and feel just like the rest of us inside. It is terrible loss that older sexuality is so ignored. Many aged care homes do not have double beds for example, or even double rooms. Yet human touch and contact, especially hugs are very soothing and healing. The comfort of a loved and special person can literally mean the difference between life and death when older people are suffering isolation and stress. I would like to encourage any loving relationship, no matter how old the participants are.

Men and women equality

On a recent trip to New Zealand, I read the Dominion Post newspaper. 19 July, had a story on its front page about a sexist backlash. New Zealand has a woman Prime Minister and Chief Justice. This gives the impression that women are equal to men right up to the top levels of society. Unfortunately recent figures show that women's pay parity has lost ground in recent years. More disturbing is the figure that shows an increase in domestic violence and violence against women by men.

What does this mean? Have women lost power and some men are taking advantage of that? Are some men angry with women for making progress and desiring parity with them? Do some men feel that the only way they will have a woman as a companion is by exerting power over her?

Surely relationships are more rewarding when both the man and woman know they are both happy to be in the relationship, that both parties are willingly staying and enjoying the relationship. A true friendship and meeting of minds, spirit, and emotions creates an intimacy that is extremely rewarding for both the man and woman. A bond built on trust, love and free will is more joyous than one built on coercion and power struggles.

It would be good if men could back off on the domination and power games with women. Women also could put more effort into articulating their affection and appreciation of their favourite man, noticing the efforts he does and appreciating the resources that he shares.

Men and women have the potential to bring out the best in each other. Unfortunately, when fear of pain or rejection sets in, then men and women can hurt each other very badly indeed. Both men and women loose out on the potential joys of the partnership.

Work relationships are not the same as personal relationships. And women, all people, deserve equal pay for equal work. Pay parity is a justice issue. To pay any group in society less than any other for the same work, is exploitation. In Australia, the jobs where women tend to dominate, also tend to have lower pay structures. Most notable is Motherhood, where there is no pay at all for many women, and, for many women, no maternity leave, so no security. A close second lowest is baby-sitting, then child care workers. Yet rearing the next generation of children is one of the most responsible tasks that builds a strong and caring society.

There is still plenty of work to do to before women truly have equal opportunity within the workplace or their careers.