Tomorrow I turn 40. Today feels like New Years Eve at the millennia – I’m ready to leave my past behind me and journey into a brave new future. I know that things will change, and inevitably some things will also stay the same. The past decade has already been a time of intense change and action for me. I’m ready to settle down and enjoy the fruits of my labors.
40 feels so final somehow. The end of my youth. I am wading through an internal dialog I didn’t know I had. Things like, sex ends at 40, which I consciously know to be untrue. I have internalized a bunch of societal messages that say I should try to minimize the lines around my eyes, stop wearing bikinis, lose weight, wear sensible clothes, and stop dying my hair purple. I try to ignore any thought that starts with “I should…”
Looking at my 40’s, if I buy into how our culture tends to handle sex after 40, I’ve only got a few options. I can start lying about my age, perhaps pose as my 21 year old’s sister rather than her mother. I can start trying to seduce her friends. This option involves wearing a lot of makeup and tight clothes, saving up for plastic surgery. Or, I can lapse into obscurity – say farewell to my sexual self and devote my energies to something real, like volunteering at school events, where I channel my bitterness and frustration into backstabbing the other moms.
I like to think that there are other options. Infinite options. Where people get to be who they are and want to be, regardless of age. Regardless of any identity that might seem to limit expression.
I started writing publicly about sex and publishing sexy images of myself at the age of 32, after having four children. At that point, although I was following my heart, I felt that I was probably too far past my prime for anyone to be interested. I decided not to worry about it. I’ve always written from my soul though. I’ve shown myself as I am, with all of my flaws.
This is how I try to change the world – just by being me. We need enough people to stand up and say, I am a mom and I’m sexy. I am fat and I’m sexy. I have stretch marks and I’m sexy. I’m naked and I’m not wearing makeup and I am still sexy. I am who I am and that’s sexy! I’m over 40 and I’m sexy!
Not everyone is going to find me sexy. Even if I fit my idea of perfect, not everyone would be attracted to me. The important thing is that I feel sexy. Being confident and secure in my sexuality will give others permission to connect with me on a sexual level. This is one of those things that being another year older isn’t going to change.
Being sexual after 40 isn’t tasteless, embarrassi
If there is anything that I am taking away from this birthday, it’s that turning 40 is helping me to free myself from a bunch of myths and limitations that I didn’t even know I was carrying. I see this next decade as a time of personal depth and security for me. A time where I will very much enjoy sexual freedom with elegance and grace. Or fishnets and butterfly knives. Whatever.