Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Sexuality is an important part of health and identity in every stage of a woman’s life. However, in western societies sexuality is often considered the domain of the young. The idea of mature women having and enjoying sex sits uncomfortably with many people. It is still the case today that it is more acceptable for older men than older women to be sexual.
Today, ideas of older women's sexuality often stem from traditional Christian values, where the woman was passive in her sex life, and sex was mainly for reproductive purposes. The early Christian system of belief, that declared women unclean by nature, inherently sinful and dangerous, stifled and subdued all expressions of female sexuality and creativity. The creative wisdom of mature women, were seen by the Church, as especially dangerous and the Inquisition prosecuted women healers, seers, herbalists, midwives for centuries, burning them as witches.
In sharp contrast, many “primitive societies” view menopausal women as embodiments of wisdom and creative sexuality as the Native American saying illustrates: “At menarche a young woman enters her power, throughout her menstruating years she practices her power, and at menopause she becomes her power.” Many women-centered writers in the last few decades celebrate the menopause and subsequent years as a time of positive change and a time to find new fulfillment - including sexual satisfaction.
Sex is linked to youthfulness, and a woman is often portrayed as desirable and desiring only if she has a slim and youthful body. It follows that older women whose bodies have changed are often perceived as not having sex at all! However, research has shown that many older women have sex as often as they used to in their thirties-forties and for many different reasons, sex often gets better in later life and feels more fulfilling for women.
In many indigenous societies, this is far more recognised, and older women often play the role of sexual initiator or instructor for young men.
In fact over a third of women report an increase in their libido, during and after the menopause. Sadly, when this happens, many women think, that there is something wrong with them. Often religious and social conditioning forces women to suppress sexual desire subconsciously and this can often lead to chronic depression.
Because of the physical changes that occur, some women may feel less satisfied with their body image. In fact research, published in the Journal of Sex Research, suggests that women’s lack of desire is more to do with their changing body image, not their hormone levels. If stress and psychological illnesses such as depression or anxiety develop, they (and medications given: anti-depressants and tranquillisers) can also interfere with libido and sexual desire.
Women going through the life-changing forces of the menopause can find the oft-needed reassurance of strength, beauty and femininity in Tantric Massage. It offers both a time for support and inner thought, as well as a chance to attend solely to her body and spirit. Open discussion with regard to sexual needs, desires, and expectations will also improve sexual confidence and allow older women to express their sexuality with much more freedom. Overall, mature women are said to be much more likely to have fulfilling sex lives and achieve multiple orgasms than women half their age.