I have often wondered why America seems so at odds with its’ sexuality and aging. Europeans have always seemed to be more relaxed about nudity and sex even as they age.
When I was visiting the French Riviera as a young woman, I was in awe of the women walking topless along the boardwalk, many of whom not very young. They did not appear to have any concerns about not having youthful bodies. They even dare to put older women and men being romantic and sexy in their movies. We rarely do that and if we do it’s viewed as an anomaly.
When I saw “It’s Complicated” I loved the fact that they had finally made a movie that allowed the actors to look their age and still be sexy and seductive. We, on the other hand are always showcasing youth in almost every aspect of the media. Reality shows are rife with women and men that look like they’ve been botoxed from head to toe. Nothing moves.
Any advertisements I’ve seen for erectile dysfunction always has youthful looking partners. Where are the sixty, seventy, and eighty and ninety year olds? I guess their considered dead in that department. The irony is that research shows that older people actually have more sex than their younger counterparts. Probably because they have more time, or maybe they realize that it’s more important than returning e-mails, texting or talking on their blackberry’s. Years ago Time magazine had a couple sitting on a bed with a headline over it “DINK” (duel income no sex).
Oprah got on the bandwagon and had a show with a few young couples that complained they had no time for each other, because of jobs, children and other obligations. The Psychologist who was there to give advice told them they needed to put a date to “get it on” in their organizers. I found this to be so hilarious that it had me giggling for days. Now the overwhelmed couple could look forward to another “job” on Friday night. Maybe as we get older we recognize that sex is part of a larger picture. That it begins with how we treat each other through words, actions and deeds.
Tenderness, kindness, thoughtfulness, respect and compassion are part of feeling connected and wanting more. Great abs, a tight butt, and abundant cleavage without the aforementioned may be exciting for a while. But it gets old and so do we.
Whenever I felt frightened about a new venture, my mother would share her favorite quote by Franklin Roosevelt “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. That has stayed with me through many a scary time. It made so much sense but unfortunately I think the times have created a new metaphor around fear. Essentially, we are now in the midst of a culture that seems to love to dole out fear as if it were candy for the masses.
Not a day goes by without some news that informs us that we must avoid something that might be detrimental to our well being. If you watch any of the 24 hour news channels, you’re more than likely to discover something frightening every few minutes. Even if the anchor person is discussing a subject that is somewhat tepid, you can rest assured that they’ll be a scroll underneath them reporting on a murder or a new salmonella scare. Our bodies are programmed to help us to “fight or flee” if we are under siege. This mechanism is at the ready whether it is real or imagined.
If our perceptions are such that we feel under attack many times during the day, the constant flooding of cortisol throughout our systems will eventually damage our bodies ability to keep its’ immune system intact. It will also make us anxious and or depressed. In today’s world the media seems focused on scaring the living hell out of us as a form of entertainment. This segue ways into every nook and cranny of our lives. Eating a meal with friends or family has become riddled with dialogue about whether the ingredients are healthy or harmful. One day we hear blueberries could lead us to the promised land the next we are on the road to damnation.
Children are so protected that the days of seeing them running around outdoors is becoming practically extinct. It could make the national news if someone sights a group of kids playing kickball in the streets without helmets, kneepads and an emergency medical kit close at hand. Talking to a stranger in a line at the grocery store might kill you if they have the slightest sniffle and you had better reflect on your behavior if you talk too much, flush the toilet too many times or have a need to call your mother too often. Maybe it’s time to stop feeding the piranhas of fear. Information can be useful or useless. It’s up to you to sort it out. Use it wisely and don’t become its’ slave.