Miley Cyrus is stirring things up again with a comment she recently made to Matt Lauer on the "Today" Show. She said that it was her understanding that people in their 40s don't have sex. Of course her naivety is unbelievable but it did have an interesting follow up.
CNN reporter Lisa Respers went on to refute her claim with a reminder that "Hey Miley, Somers is having lots of sex". She continued, in colorful detail, about how Suzanne Somers and a host of other older women celebrities were having great sex, well into their sixties. Her list of usual suspects included Suzanne Somers, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, Cher, Jessica Lange, Helen Mirren, Pam Grier, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jane Seymour, Phylicia Rashad, Susan Lucci, Susan Sarandon and Jaclyn Smith.
So, Are Celebrities Really the Only Ones Enjoying Sex in Later Life?
First, let me say that I genuinely appreciate and admire the women that Lisa Respers mentioned in her rebuttal. They have all worked incredibly hard to maintain their beauty and represent older women in a positive way. The problem is that most women simply do not have the means or the motivation to look like a celebrity after 40. This does not mean that they have lost interest in sex. On the contrary, most women over 40 are still sensual and enjoy loving relationships of all kinds. In fact, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), 70% of women aged 40-49, 51% of women aged 50-59, and 42% of women aged 60-69 reported having sex in the past year.
Are We Comparing Ourselves to the Wrong People?
Linking a person's physical appearance or social position with their desire and ability to have a fulfilling sexual relationship seems questionable at any age. But, even setting aside accuracy, the claim that "women over 60 are having lots of sex," followed by a list of celebrities, creates a deep sense of inadequacy in the average woman over 60. I manage a community of 35,000 women over 60 called Sixty and Me and all of them are beautiful in their own unique way. Most don't live in Los Angeles or New York. They are not performers. They are nurses, shop attendants, teachers, accountants, artists, business women and writers. Many are retired or doing volunteer work. All of them have acquired six decades of experience and show a vitality that is inspiring. They are embracing life and enjoying their passions. They are all beautiful in their own way.
Let's Embrace Natural Beauty at Every Age
In recent years, we have started to show a concern for the many ways in which younger people are exposed to unrealistic images of beauty. Normal people do not have perfect skin, teeth and hair -- and they can still be beautiful. I would like to see a similar understanding emerge for people of all ages. We need to stop holding celebrities up as examples of people who are still sexy, despite their age. Instead, I would love to see the media tell the story of the beautiful, "ordinary" women in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are in great relationships and enjoying every aspect of their lives, including sex.
Do you think that we unfairly compare ourselves to celebrities as we age? Please share your thoughts below or in the Sixty and Me Forum.