Sex came with an element of shame, especially for women, and especially for women over forty. But that was then. Now, thankfully, gone is that sense of shame, replaced by something far more liberating for women of all ages.
At every turn, it seems, women are wearing their sexuality every bit as confidently as men. For every Don Draper ticking off like a grocery list a string of conquests on Mad Men, you have Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones devouring her way through the show’s menu of men like a carnivore kept for too long on a diet of veggie burgers and couscous.
The music scene is chock-full of female artists eager and unafraid to follow Madonna’s lead and dig deep into their sexuality to entertain. They prove how, if you’re a woman who in your bedroom likes the snug fit of latex and the sight of your partner blindfolded and handcuffed, there’s nothing wrong with recreating that scenario on stage in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans.
But it’s not just the younger generation who get to enjoy the fruits of this new age of sexual exploration. Suddenly, women who were once expected to give up sex in order to let their hair grow grey, buy a few cats and live out a nun-like existence, are now given a second lease on life.
And I’m not talking about a Golden Girls, sex-with-your-bra-on type of awaking – I’m talking about the sort of awakening that comes with access to the same sexual freedoms women half their age are enjoying.
From Joan Collins to Jane Fonda, a whole slew of glamorous grannies are leading the charge to demonstrate that a birthdate before 1965 needn’t be an obstacle to owning the kind of body confidence that comes with having a red-hot libido. Just look at the rise of the “Cougar.”
Age gaps in relationships used to be almost exclusively the domain of the daddy-school girl variety. Now, single moms everywhere are skipping down through the generations for a sexual partner as ever-ready as they still are.
Today’s is a great age to live in if you’re a woman who enjoys sex, and it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come since the corseted days of the not so long ago.
For those who think otherwise, go back through the archives and try finding a public comment similar to the one Jane Fonda recently made: “At 74, I have never had such a fulfilling sex life.”