SARAH VINE: Women my age should not feel pressure to be sexy

SARAH VINE: Women my age should not feel pressure to be sexy

Lock up your grandfathers! Dolly Parton, 74, is threatening to pose for the cover of Playboy Magazine — more than four decades since she last graced its pages. She even plans to wear the same bunny costume. ‘I could probably use it,’ she said. ‘Boobs are still the same.’

Next up is Amanda Redman, 62, star of the BBC’s New Tricks and the ITV drama The Good Karma Hospital, making an impassioned plea for more on-screen sex for the over-50s.

She adds that in Britain we view the idea of sexually confident older women as ‘repulsive’. ‘There’s ageism involved,’ she says.

And then there’s Tena (as in the incontinence pads), which launched a new advertising campaign this week featuring several mature women in various stages of undress, talking openly and honestly about their own sexual desires.

Lock up your grandfathers! Dolly Parton, 74, is threatening to pose for the cover of Playboy Magazine — more than four decades since she last graced its pages

‘Sex is just as much fun and sensual as it ever was,’ says one, caressing her own thigh as she writhes about on a bed.

‘It’s far less complicated: I know what I want,’ says another, undressing. ‘Too much?’ asks a third, gazing provocatively at the camera. ‘Well, it’s not about you. It’s about me.’

I must confess I fair spilled my glass of plonk when that one popped up on my telly. I just wasn’t expecting it. But I’m clearly hopelessly out of touch. Sex and the older woman is officially a phenomenon, and I for one am not quite sure how I feel about it.

Dolly even plans to wear the same bunny costume. ‘I could probably use it,’ she said. ‘Boobs are still the same.’ (She is pictured above in 1978)

As an older woman myself (52), I suppose I ought to be all in favour. After all, for years people like me have been going on about how society sees us as invisible, so I guess I should be grateful someone’s finally taking notice. I’m just not sure I want it packaged and hashtagged and served up to us in quite such a way.

More from Sarah Vine for the Daily Mail…

In particular I find this notion that ‘it’s all about me’ hard to process. 

Hurrah for empowerment, but I suspect I am not alone among women my age in feeling that’s an absurd suggestion.

Truth is, it’s almost never about women. It’s about the family, our partners, our children, in many cases our parents and, of course, our employers. 

Indeed, many of us end up so far down our own to-do lists that the idea of seeking any form of sexual gratification, any pleasure other than simply getting through the day intact, of sinking into any arms other than the sweet embrace of sleep, becomes impossible.

By encouraging us so vehemently to embrace our sensuality, there is a risk that it becomes yet another chore to which we must attend, another hoop to jump through.

There is a fine line between empowering women and hectoring them, holding them to unreachable standards. 

Or to put it another way, we don’t all want — or desire — to be Playboy centrefolds at the age of 74. And we shouldn’t be made to feel that is somehow a failing.

I don’t doubt the good intentions. But what if you’re not comfortable with your ageing body; what if you don’t look at yourself in the mirror and see a glorious goddess but a baggy old bag; what if you don’t find sex as pleasing as it once was?

Next up is Amanda Redman, 62, star of the BBC’s New Tricks and the ITV drama The Good Karma Hospital, making an impassioned plea for more on-screen sex for the over-50s. Sex and the older woman is officially a phenomenon, and I for one am not quite sure how I feel about it, says Sarah Vine

Now your own lack of self-esteem is just something else to feel inadequate about, your lack of desire yet another example of how you’re letting the side down by being insufficiently thrilled at the thought of stuffing your crinkly cleavage into some underwiring or hauling your sagging derriere into a pair of fishnet tights.

Female desire is a complex, delicate subject, bound up in many factors. It can be a painful, difficult subject for many women, especially as they grow old. It is not as simple as a well-preserved celebrity, or a glossy advert. It cannot be distilled into a slogan or a hashtag.

In this age of over-sharing, there are some conversations that should remain private. And this is one of them.

I’m no expert, but I have a theory as to why teenagers are less susceptible to coronavirus: they never leave their bedrooms. As to the 1 m separation rule, I find the smell usually takes care of that.

Try keeping mum, Keira

First Keira Knightley announced she would no longer do nude scenes now she’s a mother, jokingly pointing out that ‘the nipples droop’. 

Now, she’s asking why childcare is always left to mums (apropos of publicising her latest film, surprise, surprise). 

Well, there is one fairly obvious answer to that question: because we’re generally better at it. 

First Keira Knightley announced she would no longer do nude scenes now she’s a mother, jokingly pointing out that ‘the nipples droop’. Now, she’s asking why childcare is always left to mums (apropos of publicising her latest film, surprise, surprise)

A few weeks ago my mother, who lives in Turin, came down with a very nasty lurgy.

She spent the best part of a week in bed, feverish and barely able to move (of course, she didn’t tell me this until after she had recovered, on the grounds that she didn’t want to bother me).

For the record, Mother, if you are reading this, I always want to be bothered. Anyway, she swears blind it wasn’t Covid-19, but the timing is very suspicious.

Either way, she has now fully recovered. I mention this in the hope that it may offer some small degree of reassurance to those out there who are understandably very concerned about older relatives.

As my mother so wisely points out, there’s no point in worrying ourselves to death.

Keep Ma’am and carry on

If there’s one person who could be forgiven for losing her nerve during the current health crisis, it’s the Queen. 

At 93, she is very much in the high-risk group for Covid-19. 

And yet there she was on Monday, honouring the Commonwealth in her customary business-as-usual way, just a week after she was seen wearing gloves at an investiture in the barest nod to her own safety. 

At 93, the Queen is very much in the high-risk group for Covid-19. And yet there she was on Monday, honouring the Commonwealth in her customary business-as-usual way, just a week after she was seen wearing gloves at an investiture in the barest nod to her own safety

It’s at times like these that the monarchy comes into its own, as vital to public morale now as it was during the the Blitz, when the Queen Mother insisted on remaining in London despite the threat from the Luftwaffe.

In a world where fools are brawling over loo paper, it’s comforting to know that, in some quarters at least, decency, duty and dignity still exist.

It’s 007 in Moob-raker

One of the advantages of being a male actor is, surely, that no one expects you to adopt demeaning poses in your underwear.

So quite why Daniel Craig agreed to appear topless in GQ magazine is anyone’s guess, but one suspects narcissism over necessity. I mean, there’s no denying that he looks very good for 52 — but the unbuttoned jeans were just a tad too Magic Mike for my liking.

Also, there’s a fine line between well-defined pectorals, and man-boobs. I think he may just have crossed it.

Extraordinary scenes played out between the Sussexes and the Cambridges at the Commonwealth Service on Monday. 

They knew full well the world would be watching them like hawks, and even then the brothers barely nodded to each other. 

In fact, the only one who looked remotely happy was Meghan, whose determined smile never once wavered. 

But then, why would it? After all, she’s finally got what she wanted.

Extraordinary scenes played out between the Sussexes and the Cambridges at the Commonwealth Service on Monday. They knew full well the world would be watching them like hawks, and even then the brothers barely nodded to each other

Doom-laden plague novels are apparently flying off the shelves. Why pay to read mad conspiracy theories about the end of the world when you can just get it all on Twitter and Facebook for free?

Just when you thought 21st-century dating couldn’t get any daffier, along comes Dinky One, a new site for under-endowed men. It has 28,000 members — and growing. Stop sniggering at the back. 

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