“I’m the sexiest I’ve ever been. And when I say that, I mean I feel the most myself.” ~ Tracee Ellis Ross
For as long as I can remember, youth has been propped up on the highest of pedestals when it comes to beauty.
There’s no doubt that our skin is plumper and smoother. Our body more toned. For women, our breasts are perkier. It’s easier to get fit and stay fit. Our energy levels are usually at their peak.
We have been taught to always aspire to attain a youthful look. I mean the beauty, botox, and plastic surgery industries are booming, because youthful beauty sells. And it sells big.
Enter our middle age and beyond; things simply cannot be the same as they were when we were 20. Having kids and hormones tend to significantly change our bodies. Of course taking care of our skin, eating well, and keeping fit go a long way to make us feel good, but there’s no stopping the natural ageing process. This used to worry me when I was younger, but now that I am here, I actually feel pretty bloody good about myself.
Society is still judgmental when it comes to age and we definitely live in an ageist world. Women tend to be judged far more harshly than men as we grow older. Men are seen as distinguished and women are seen as past their used by date. Men who date younger are seen as virile and women who date younger are seen as desperate.
Men with grey hair are seen as handsome and women with grey hair are “encouraged” to dye it, to look more youthful. Men with “dad bodies” are seen as cute, women with “mum bodies” are pressured to get back in shape. Older male actors play the role of love interests for the younger woman and older female actresses play the mother or grandmother role. Older male journalists and reporters on TV become the anchors and older female TV reporters and journalists are replaced for younger women.
Of course I’m generalising and this is not the situation for everyone, but it is definitely the trend. And it’s incredibly hypocritical.
Whilst I wanted to highlight the judgement in society, I’m not here to talk about this. I’m here to say we don’t have to live according to these rules. Whilst we may not be able to fully escape it, we certainly do not need to conform to it.
I’m here to say, actually no, I’m here to shout from the rooftops, we mature women are f*cking hot. And not just because we are possibly menopausal with an increased body temperature, although yes, this can create an uncomfortable heat (may or may not be speaking from experience).
To me sexiness isn’t specifically about how you look, but how you carry yourself. It’s how you walk into a room with your head held high. It’s how you are so comfortable in your skin. It’s how you radiate a quiet confidence because you have finally learnt your worth. It’s your energy that exudes warmth. It’s your wisdom. Your compassion. It’s knowing who you are. And it’s loving the woman you have become.
Some people may see this as vanity for a woman to say she feels sexy. But like many women, I was raised in an era where we were conditioned to not feel especially good about ourselves. To not speak of our confidence in ourselves, as that was seen as “stuck up.” We were expected to be pretty but not think we were pretty. Loving yourself was a negative trait and it’s taken decades for me to change these self-beliefs.
So now at 55, I’m boldly admitting, from a place of self-love, that I’m bloody sexy. I feel sexy. In fact, I’ve felt more sexy since turning 50 than I ever have.
I recently did an over 45s photo shoot and podcast to celebrate middle-aged women and how our bodies change. It was an extraordinary experience, and although I was terribly nervous, I felt absolutely beautiful. I felt empowered. I felt as sexy as hell. Then I felt a little guilty for feeling these things, that old conditioning creeping back in reminding me I’m 55, no longer in my prime. My skin a little more creased and my belly a little wobbly. According to societal standards, I’m well past it. Dried up and shrivelled. With nothing to offer.
And then I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and thought, “Look how far you’ve come.” “Look at all you have learnt.” “Look at the depth in your eyes from all your life experience.” That’s sexy. That’s damn sexy.
We middle-aged women in 2024 are not tucked away at home. We can have careers. We can keep ourselves in shape. We can take care of our health. Many of us have raised or are raising kids, whilst taking care of or supporting elderly parents. We are intelligent, independent, and sovereign beings. We have travelled and experienced so much diversity, challenges, and lessons. We have wrestled with loss and grief. Many of us have focused on our healing and growth, inspired to do better and be better.
We know what we want and who we are. We understand pleasure and know how to give and receive it. We are openhearted and open-minded. We appreciate our bodies.
That saying “the older the grape, the sweeter the wine” can definitely have some validity.
Sexiness is taking care of yourself. Feeling secure in yourself. Having boundaries. Engaging in intelligent conversation. Having a sense of humour. Not taking life too seriously. Showing kindness and compassion. And feeling so damn good about yourself it exudes from your being.
There are many physically sexy people in the world who lose their sexiness as soon as they open their mouth, or display certain behaviours. Sexiness is not age-related and those who think it is and dismiss older women lack life experience and healthy beliefs. They are usually projecting their own insecurities.
This world where people are judged by age or their physical appearance is incredibly sad. There is so much more to us. To people in general. So busy splashing around in the shallow end of life, too many people never experience the depths of beauty that life and all people have within them. So many people only scratching the surface and will never understand that if they look underneath, they may discover so much more than they could have ever imagined.
Sexiness is so often exuded from deep within, but some people will never understand that.
And there’s something sexy in the fact that I don’t care if others think I’m sexy, because this is about how I feel about me, not about what others think about me. It’s not about validation from others, but rather my own self-belief. It’s not about me thinking I’m better than anyone else, because there is no comparison.
It’s about me removing myself from any bullsh*t cages society wishes to put me in. It’s about my journey to self-love and that doesn’t involve how anyone else feels about me. It’s about looking in the mirror and saying, “Does my ass look big in this?” and conceding, yeah it probably does, but I’m going to wear it anyway. It’s about wearing that new bikini and walking up the beach like a cast member from “Baywatch” (not really, but you get the drift).
It’s seeing a new line on my face and being reminded how much I have laughed in life. It’s feeling the softness of my belly with a now faded caesarian scar, remembering about my two beautiful children I carried so many years ago. It’s seeing my larger, less-than-perky breasts, grateful I was able to nourish my babies. It’s me doing me, no matter what that looks like to someone else.
It’s acknowledging how truly amazing us women are. How remarkable our bodies are to carry, birth, and feed our babies. How beautiful the softness of our skin is. The roundness of our curves. How exotic and erotic we can be. The ability to be the gentle and nurturing woman and mother, the intelligent professional, someone who can laugh hard and someone who knows how to play. A little bit of an enigma? Maybe so.
And that my middle-aged, menopausal hot friends is sexy as f*ck.