Why Elderly Women Are Not Allowed To Explore Sexuality?
We perceive elderly women to live like nuns and without any sexual desires. Why do we restrict women in 60s and 70s to wearing a belt of celibacy? Let’s find out.
When we think of elderly women, be it our mothers and grandmothers, we can never imagine that they can ever indulge in sexual acts. We are under the assumption that elderly women live like nuns, a simple life devoted to family and religious customs with no desires. However, science has claimed that with age women’s sexual desires increase
We are almost grossed out to think about our parents having sex or them having any desires. Society also perceives elderly women to live with chastity. But thankfully, Indian pop culture and mainstream cinema are breaking the mold of this notion we have towards elderly women and their sexual desires. ‘Buaji’ from Lipstick Under My Burkha and Neena Gupta in Badhai Ho gave us goals to break this taboo that elderly women cannot have sex.
But why did it start in the first place? Let us look at the reasons
1) Lack of knowledge about the female anatomy
The majority of women, not only in India but also globally lack knowledge about their own bodies. They think that after menopause, the hormones of sexual desires reduce libido. With childbirth, many of them think that vaginal elasticity is gone for a toss or their genitals will not be aroused when stimulated. All of this is a myth. Vaginal elasticity is present at any age, and with proper stimulation, clitoral orgasm also can be achieved even in menopausal women. Take a look at the Sex Education series on Netflix which articulately breaks the myth.
2) Taboo of going solo
In Sex and The City series, Samantha Jones gave us women in their 50s the goals to be unapologetic about their bodies and libido. She was not shy to pursue sex with partners or even masturbate when needed. She even worried about her libido and was not scared to take hormones to increase the same. Elderly women are scared to explore their sexual desires as the taboo of masturbation is there. This prohibits their mindset to pleasure themselves.
3) Dependence on a partner
Elderly women often depend on their partners to engage in sexual acts. For divorced or widowed elderly women, it is taboo to go on dates or try finding love in old age. Many elderly women find it even bizarre to pursue any romantic or sexual relationship even if they are spouses or partners. Well, at least technology can help them here with dating apps for elderly single women.
Many women live in the closet for their whole life. They be asexual or homosexual, but under societal pressure had to engage in heterosexual acts in their marriages. The homophobia is so much conditioned inside them when they realize their sexual orientation they fear ostracization and do not proceed ahead.
5) Societal obligations
Elderly women are expected to indulge only in living a pious life and taking care of the family. She is expected to set the rules in the family and the hegemony of moral behaviour. As an example of virtue, she is put on a pedestal which stops her from doing anything unconventional like engaging in a sexual act. But some women have broken this as we see from Julia Child. She found her passion in middle age and had pretty much active sex and romantic life with her husband Paul.
Sexuality and sexual desires are normal in any age. We should let middle-aged and elderly women explore their sexuality with consent without the judgment of society.
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