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Sometimes, to be a woman over 50 is to feel invisible. Ask a middle-aged woman, and she might say these slights have whittled away at her self-confidence, tricking her into believing the best years are behind her.
We live in a culture that often equates beauty and energy with youth. A few are cancer survivors. A few are grandmothers. A few are single and a few are married. But what they all have in common is that not one is a shrinking violet. They feel better about themselves today than they ever have. We asked each woman to wear whatever makes them feel sexy, and to talk about what being sexy means to them now compared to when they were, say, Sheryl Roberts, 48 -- "I know I am perfectly imperfect, flaws and all.
I had no identity. I wore whatever was trendy, did what other girls my age did and really tried to be well liked. I had no concept of my own power or sexuality. Other people's perception is not my reality. I don't want to blend and fit in. That is why I love selling vintage through my business IndigoStyle Vintage. It is the ultimate in personal style and expression. Sexiness exudes from my confidence, smile and acceptance of myself.
Not being fearful of exploring, I know I am perfectly imperfect, flaws and all. I was focused on academics and the rest of my time was filled with riding my horse and doing barn work. My standard attire was a flannel shirt, overalls and boots. It seemed as though sexuality was for others. I was sort of a 'neuter' and whatever feelings burned deep within had to stay there.
For me now, sexy is alluring and creative. After turning 50 I felt much sexier than I did in my 20s. That's a lot of pressure! With maturity comes confidence and the knowledge that our brain is our sexiest organ, not our body!
No one but me dictates my sexiness. The journey in getting here shaped how I feel. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and breast cancer survivor including a mastectomy. This self-awareness of being sexy in my 50s is a gift and one I will cherish in every decade going forward! Wheeeeee -- I'm free to be me!!! I also felt I should've been better at orgasms. And strength is sexy. It's being comfortable in your own skin. It's looking in the mirror and liking what I see. Someone once told me that older women can't have long hair.
And most women don't at my age. But I like long and flowing hair and, to me, it's sexy. You must have a feeling that says 'I like what I see and I'm doing great. Now I've lost my husband and had cancer. I'm so much stronger now. I was scared to be seen. Now that I am in my 50s, I dare you not to look!
I'm not frightened of being seen as sexy anymore, because sexy has gone from fear to empowerment and delight! In my 50s I trust my own 'yes' and my own 'no. I had a clear idea of what a sexy woman would do, say, look, and feel, and I spent so much of my energy trying to project that image to others. But now, in my 50s, I have a whole different perspective; namely, I don't feel like I need to act likable and sexy and desirable and free because I know that I already am all of those things.
Romantic and sexual partners come and go. It's just how life works. What stays constant, though, is me, which means that my sexuality, my identity, and my sense of self-worth and belonging need to come from inside me first. Realizing this allowed me to let go of so much anxiety about my sexuality because I no longer needed to worry about all the unknown variables that other people brought into the equation.
Instead, I can now focus on what makes me feel happy, whole, and loving, and when I find other people who are attracted to these positive qualities, it leads to really fun and life-affirming experiences. Being caring, loving, good, considerate. These things create an attraction which makes your inner beauty show as outer beauty. In my 20s, being sexy was dressing a certain way to attract the opposite sex and was about what I thought they thought was sexy.
Being sexy now in my 50s is a feeling I make the clothes. Me feeling sexy is to please me and make me happy. Happiness rubs off on others! What a great way to spread happiness in the world! To me, sexy at 50 is peeling those shades back and blasting the light we all have. I was always taught that you could be a lady and 'sexy' with your clothes on. All those silly things you worried about when you were young -- things related to looks -- are indeed just silly.
For awhile there, in my early 50s, it was hard for me to feel sexy. The changes in your body hit you all of a sudden. But now I know that sex is actually fun and that you shouldn't worry about all the minutiae of what you look like. It has been an adjustment to be OK with the fact that my body may never be the same as it used to be. But I'm sort of over all that now.