Author of post Walker Thornton

Aging: Spinning Wisdom Into Gold

09.29.2015

kintsukuroiWhich is more beautiful? The unblemished, untested, shiny new product or the slightly ‘broken’, delicately marred vessel we become with age? Which offers us greater richness and value?

I love the metaphor of gold, the most precious of metals, delicately filling our cracks–solidifying our parts together with strength and lustrous beauty.

And yet we live in a culture that worships youth and creates a false image of the “sexy woman”. Just think about all the young stars in the news talking about or acting out their sexuality. This proliferation of ‘sexy’ in the media has shaped our impression of what sexy should look like.

And, that’s where the problem arises, this definition is extremely limited and based on male driven, male-created (presuming that most ad agencies are still run by men), oversexualized characteristics. Scantily clad, big boobs or big pouty lips may fit the current cultural definition of sexy, but it’s purely subjective, not to mention superficial. The Victoria’s Secret models look to be about 14 years old–they’ve already had breast implants and are stick-figure thin. They have been taught to pout and thrust as they strut across the stage. They are ‘actresses’ portraying sensuous women.

Do you really think that any one of those young women understands the power of her body, beyond the visual appeal? Can she fully relate to a partner in intimate moments and show up as a woman who is comfortable in her sexuality? Probably not. Yet we are told that’s what men crave. We are encouraged to distort our bodies and deny our age to reflect these images.

We get so hung up on someone else’s definition of sexy or handsome or powerful. And, we forget that it’s not all about good photography and makeup, stylists and push-up bras.

The Cinderella of “Sexy”. All an illusion.

If you spend much time in front of a television, movie, magazine or billboard you’ve seen these sexualized images. And, you’ve probably had a moment or two of envy–quickly followed by shame, sorrow or frustration that your own body doesn’t look that way. Followed by concerns that your partner will judge you in comparison.

I’ve been there. And, I’ve seen men notice those women, men who are entranced by the firm curve of breasts, the thrusting pelvis. And, then I think about my own aging body and soft breasts. I see the alluring photos of ultra-thin girl-women posing in thongs, high-heels and pearls. I used to judge my body by theirs. Now, I know where my strength lies and it’s not, necessarily, in how my body looks. It’s about how I inhabit my body and my knowledge of my sexual self.

Beauty always promises, but never gives anything. – Simone Weil

You can find hundreds of ‘sexy’ quotes on Pinterest–all paired with impossibly thin, sexy-looking bodies. No faces, no heads, just torsos. Youthful torsos. You may have noticed that I don’t use many images of women. I made a vow to only show real women over the age of 50. And, I try not to use sexualized photos of women because they don’t really reflect who we are–even if we are in great physical form we are more than our bodies.

You and I are over 45, I’m approaching 60. We are aging. We are no longer young in years. Our bodies are no longer taut and glistening. Yet our beauty is like that of heirloom silver—possessing a beautiful shine and patina. Burnished, polished, gently marked by time in a way that increases our worth. We feel good to the touch and our time on the planet has given us a depth of knowledge not seen by the naked eye.

An 82-year-old man paid me a huge compliment on Facebook the other day, “btw…looking thru your page, I do so love the gray hair and soft cleavage, this picture is so much more sexy, a pure sex, than pinups with their phony bodies…I do love the soft body of an older woman.” This is the kind of appreciation of older women we need to see and hear more of.

We cannot be defined by our age or the size of our breasts. we are unique sexual individuals. Each of us approaches our body, our relationships, our pursuit of pleasure in our own individual way. We look inward for validation of our worth as sexual beings, not outward. And, we are rewarded when we tap into our own wisdom. Those who seek us out are rewarded with a richness that goes far beyond the superficial. Even if we are melded together with the finest of gold.



Walker Thornton

Walker J. Thornton is a freelance writer specializing in midlife issues; sexuality, caregiving, aging and women's health. She is the Sex Expert at Better After 50, writes for Huffington Post 50 Blogs and Senior Planet. She has a Masters degree in Educational Pyschology and has worked in the field of violence against women for over 10 years. SHe did a brief stint in social media for Senior Helpers and is currently the designated caregiver for her aging mother. She provided care for her husband for over 10 years, during and after their marriage, as he struggled with Multiple Sclerosis. You can connect with Walker on her website (www.walkerthornton.com), on Twitter, @WalkerThornton, (https://twitter.com/#!/WalkerThornton) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/walkerthornton/ )