We are still having sex , falling in love , and working out relationships with each other. However, the culture one is born into and experiences as a young child in, can leave a lingering imprint — and my generation still retains some of those old ideas. And as a woman who predominately dates straight, cisgender men, so far, I notice that these old ideas pop up more commonly, or at least more overtly, for people in my age group than they do for women 30 years younger than me.
While this idea unfortunately remains in TV programs, music videos, print and media advertisements, and so on till this day, I often feel like women my age struggle with this more than the younger women I know because the culture promoted this competition more fiercely when I was young. Girls were programmed to try desperately to be the most attractive girl around; we were taught that this made us more desirable to men, supposedly, and thus to society.
In addition, the very concept of what was attractive was also drilled into our young brains, and unfortunately, what was considered attractive was informed by racism , ableism , ageism , and cis-gendered heterosexuality. Even more unfortunate, the competition increased as girls became women. I entered college in the fall of and graduated spring of During that time, although I no longer felt pressured to solely care about appearance and dating, meeting a man to marry was still just as expected as finishing college and finding a career.
I believe actually stems way back to the prevailing attitudes during Medieval times, which instilled in every woman that her sacred duty was to be obedient to her husband and bear children. It does not serve anyone to cling to tired old misogynistic patriarchal patterns, and dating later in life is a great time free yourself from those old patterns.
It is fine to also date hoping to marry or remarry, but my point is to not make that the focal point of dating, right away. Many people over 50 finally are more present in their lives, perhaps because they really understand how none of us know how long we will be on this beautiful spinning world.
Dating can be a way to revel in the moment; I encourage it to be viewed that way, at least initially. And since I am mostly heterosexual and know it more thoroughly than queerness, I will focus on that type of dating here. The idea that your date is straight, cisgender, and dates the same is informed by heteronormative and cisgender-normative values.
It is what we were raised with. But those messages were deeply sexist, erasing, and validated a lot of violence against women and non-binary people.
It is time to let them go! Rather than project outdated, oppressive and very boring rules on her, embrace the beauty of a woman telling you exactly who she is and how she would like to be treated. Besides, who knows what sort of new, unexpected things you might learn about yourself and your own desire. This attitude also has an underlying assumption that much younger women are more desirable, and therefore the man feels, since he is entitled, that he must be with a much younger woman.
I distinctly remember, even as a girl, assuming I would marry an older man, since media and TV was saturated with those images. This was instilled in girls of my generation, as soon as we could comprehend the idea of marriage. Whatever you are doing, a woman your age can do it just as well. We all age, and as we age our bodies and desires change. I applaud a woman who pursues her own sense of joy — be that on a cruise ship, at the bingo night, or climbing a mountain. Personally, I ask for that simply because I really enjoy shared generational experiences.
That matters to me. So when a man 20 years older approaches me with a sense of entitlement and expectation that I do the opposite of what I set out to do, simply to please his appearance expectations, I find that irritating and invalidating to older women.
I find myself wondering why he is not enjoying a wonderful woman closer to his age. And why he is not respecting what I have specified, almost like what I spell out is of absolutely no merit, and can be ignored. I have had men tell me that although I did not have big boobs, I did have long legs, and they preferred that anyway. Telling me that is insulting me and all women. Please be prepared to learn that most women over 50 are fairly secure in themselves and are able to appreciate beauty in its many many different human forms.
How about we enjoy noticing beautiful people around us, together, as well as beautiful dogs, cats, trees, and clouds! That is much more interesting than perpetuating misogynistic body part contests. Certainly go ahead and bring up those lifestyle choices. We may want to discuss shared interests, politics, spirituality, and other topics, before diving into intimacy discussions. Sadly, even young women have implied such misconceptions to me, which especially hurts to hear.
That prevailing assumption about women over 50 is informed by entrenched youth privilege in this country, as well as misogyny, and internalized misogyny.
The flip side of that is similar to the slut-shaming that sexually active younger women can face. Most sexual women over 50 are practicing whatever genital self-care works for them, so they can enjoy, really enjoy, many years of sexual activity. Men over 50 can also practice self-care for their genital area. We will work with you. If you take Viagra, or a more natural equivalent, do not think we will think any less of you.
It is not something to hide in horror about; just do something about it. If you need to pause for 15 more minutes of foreplay so the blue pill will kick in, do you really think we are going to mind?
No, we will enjoy those 15 minutes, so much!!!! We may have a parent who is dying, or a close friend who is sick; we may need to take off for 2 months to be with them. The same thing may happen to you, and we will not bail on you, or make any negative assumptions. How about you send us cheerful emails while we are away, or call us, and even ask if there is anything you can do while we support our loved ones in their time of need?
Many of us also have reached a pinnacle in our careers, and all of a sudden may be engrossed in the project of a lifetime. We still value you, we may even treasure you, but we want to achieve this very important goal. Be understanding about our periodic lack of time; show excitement and support for our achievements.
There will be other times when we are much more available. Again, most women over 50 have a secure sense of themselves. It is not that we are ruling out a serious long-term relationship — it is that we often do not have that as a clearly defined goal. How about we enjoy each other, and this big beautiful world we live in!
But it is a relief for many women over 50 to not have any specific relationship goal, but to just enjoy every moment with our new-found friend. What enjoyment looks like to each person is different, and can be discussed and explored as time moves on. But I hope it is a start. I will close by saying I have enjoyed and still enjoy getting to know men at this stage of my life. I still am attracted to them, and I still want to get to know them. I also enjoy the fluidity of having no specific partnership goal in mind — except to simply enjoy my romantic connections and to let them enrich my life.
I have recently undergone a big relocation, and as I settle into my new home, I am starting to meet and enjoy conversations with local men. Found this article helpful? Help us keep publishing more like it by becoming a member! Articles , Posts Tagged With: