Friday, March 12, 2010

Bringing Sexy Back

It could be argued that one of the most common hallmarks of growing older is how your perception of “sexy” changes. Not a slight alteration here and there, but rather an upside-down, inside-out, shake-up-my-world kind of shift in experience, where every time you look back, you can’t believe how off the mark you were.

I refer here not to the qualities we are drawn to in others – for some of us, this is determined by what is intrinsic to our nature, and remains pretty constant through our lifetime. No, what I’m talking about here are the things we have trouble pinning down; that “something about them” feeling that we can’t put our finger on. Though we may point to specifics now and again – a woman’s walk or the nape of her neck; the cadence in a man’s speech or the way he fills a room – it always just seems to flirt with the real essence of it. But no matter. Because whatever the “it” is, we’re finally feeling it. With age comes a deeper relationship to the senses; the capacity to see or feel in a thing so much more than we had ever seen or felt before.

When I was in my early 30s, I was totally caught up in appearances. I thought sexy meant jean shorts, fishnet stockings and doc martens, topped off with a biker jacket and John Lennon-esque sunglasses. Hip looking, perhaps – for the times. But it was never enough. I was always missing the glove, or the guy, or the cleavage, or whatever. I was hanging on to sexy by a very thin thread indeed, and I was searching for the same kind of sexy in others, too. For everyone I knew, it was all about image, and personality – and whether or not these met the criteria set by your peers. Quadruple this when you’re in your 20s.

Now, roughly 20 years later, what I experience as sexy is much more real and far more reliable. It’s a vibe that doesn’t depend on a passing trend or approval from others, because it is intricately woven with my values and the woman I have grown to become. The more I focus on how I want to feel over how I want to appear, the stronger I feel its presence. In the movie It’s Complicated, Alec Baldwin’s character – after a bout of passionate lovemaking with his ex-wife (played by Meryl Streep) – sighs, “why is it that it’s so much sexier than it used to be?” ….to which she muses, “I don’t know……”

The implication is clear. Sex over 50 is hot. And like a good bottle of wine, our relationship with “sexy” gets better with age if we can just learn to relax and go with it. As many of us have found, when we stop wasting time on how things were, we discover that “sexy” can actually have real substance. We abandon the need to prove ourselves and focus instead on relating to others.

It’s refreshing, invigorating and liberating. It’s bringing sexy back to the place it was meant to be.


Debra L. Schubert said...

Fabulous post! I agree completely. Sex, along with everything that matters, gets better with age. In many ways, it's like you're finally coming to life.

Jesse Mendes said...

That is my experience precisely, Debra. Very well put. Personally, life didn't really even start for me until I got into my 40s. "Finally coming into life", indeed. Thanks for the comment!


MacD said...

Funny but it wasn't until I gave up sex entirely and stopped worrying all together about "sexiness" (appearances) that my life became so much more full and rich. I'm able to focus on what I want/need without all those "distractions." Actually, it's almost as if my life didn't really begin until sex was no longer a part of it.

Jesse Mendes said...

Interesting comment, MacD. I fully appreciate what it is like to experience a more rewarding life because you are not put off by all these "distractions", or superficial values (that so influence us when we are young). But I venture to say that your life is vibrant not because sex is no longer a part of it; rather, it is vibrant because you have gotten in touch with, and live by, the things that really matter. Congratulations, and all the best to you. Jesse

Janni Aragon said...

Yes, sexy is a state of mind and not just the clothing. Great post!

Jesse Mendes said...

Thanks, Janni! Stay in touch! Jesse