I really struggled to find the most appropriate title for this article.
I needed a title that will not take away from the serious content of the subject matter or give the initial impression of this being an amusing and titillating piece. In the end I simply decided to say exactly what I needed to say.
When I was younger like many people my age, anyone over the age of 30 was considered old. And if they are over 40, they might as well be locked up in a geriatric home and the key thrown away.. I look back now and think of people I knew that are the same age I am now and marvel at the naivety of youth.
Twenty years ago when my mom was 50, I used to see her as an old woman. Recently however, I found some old pictures of her from around the time I got married and it dawned on me how young, pretty and how stylish she was then – not much older than me right now.
Thing is many folks even other women tend to look at 50 year old ladies and see old women. I was recently discussing my desire to remarry with some of my family members and my 40 year old sister in law goes “No sis, you’re 50! you don’t need a man” like being 50 makes me past it.
My sis is not alone in thinking this way. Many ladies in their early 40s view their over 49 year old counterparts as old dried up sexless being and not still-with-it, sexy desirable women .
Over the years I’ve had chats with many of my older male friends who have wives that are in their 50s. A lot of these guys no longer see their wives as sexual partners and would rather go out and find much younger women to have fun and sex with. The rigor of having been in a long term relationship means some men get bored of having sex with the same woman for 20 years. Others simply lose sexual interest in their wives when the signs of aging such as a bit more flesh, expanding waistline, sagging bosoms and, grey hair both on the head and on the pubes start to show. This matter admittedly isn’t often helped by some 50 something year old women who give up and let themselves go once they reach the golden milestone.
Many researches have shown that women generally reach their sexual peak between the years of 40 and 55 and many can remain sexually active long after these years. In other words there is no biological or physical reason whatsoever why a woman in her mid 50 or even 60s cannot have and enjoy a good sex life.
But in and within the African/Nigerian community, a woman in her 60 or even 50s having sex is strangely seen as an anormally or even an abomination. Many simply assume that a woman in that age group should simply take their minds off such things and leave sex to the younger ones. Surprisingly however, this opinion is not just held by the African menfolk. I have seen many younger Nigerian women smirk with disgust and derision at the mention or thought of an older woman having sex.
But why is the notion of older women having or even enjoying sex still so much of a big deal to us? In as much as all other basic human urges and needs such as hunger, thirst, sleep, etc are satisfiable with no one questioning anyone seeking to satisfy those needs regardless of age or gender, why then do we castigate women seeking to satisfy their sexual needs which is also a very basic natural need particularly if such women are still willing and able to?
In this day and age, people are living healthier and longer and the age of the celebrity means many are taking more care to look after their looks and wardrobe more than ever before. The result is that women today look much younger, more elegant and much sexier than our parents did at the same age. 20 years ago you won’t have seen many 50 or 60 year olds with make up, short fitted dresses and plunging necklines. In those days many even stopped wearing dresses and bras and resigned their dressing to the traditional Iro & Buba. As for trousers – that was simply a BIG NO-NO!
But even our mothers and grand mothers never gave up on their sexuality even if they did on their appearance.
I spent my last year in secondary school living with my grandparents. My grandfather was known for 3 things: his great love for Awolowo, for writing and for women. Many times I happened upon quite traumatising rows between himself and my grandmother (the first of his numerous wives and concubines) mainly starting with her complaining of neglect and dereliction of spousal duties…… my grandma was in her 60s at the time and I still remember thinking “what does this very old woman still need sex for??”
But I am not very far from that age and looking to the future, I hope I will still be able to have and enjoy many of the good things of life including sex, within a wholly acceptable relationship of marriage, of course.
My mother recently celebrated her 70th birthday and seeing her for the first time in over 3 years, I couldn’t help but think “My God she doesn’t look anywhere close to 70! Even without make up” I also naughtily thought that she could still have a man and get married – if she wanted to (my dad passed on 13 years ago) She is still quite pretty and much younger looking.
Nigerian men have been given a limitless shelf life for sex even from birth. While growing up as a teenager in Nigeria, I remember it was us girls who got told off or flogged for playing with boys (quite understandably) while the boys got a free pass or even a pat on the back and called “ekun” (tiger) when caught “playing” with the neighbour’s daughter or house girl.
Nigerian men including some men of God – married or unmarried will take up and enjoy the pleasure of the company of the opposite sex no matter what age they are and no one bats an eyelid even when the companion is young enough to be their granddaughter.
Many married blokes my age spend much quality time with their girlfriends while moaning that wifely at home is too old to enjoy sex. Meanwhile wifely at home is seriously burning with loneliness and desire. But our society that has brainwashed us for many generations to believe women who enjoy sex must be loose whores, is the same one that says a woman over a certain age should not be having sex at all and as a result, older married men stop desiring their wives and cease to see them as sexual mates.
While I’m not advocating promiscuity or non marital sex, I am strongly making a case for and standing by my assertion that women over 50 are still very much sexually alive and perhaps can be much better sexual partners with their years of practice and experience – providing they are willing to and have kept themselves well conditioned and fit enough to be an exciting partner. But once these factors are in place, any woman regardless of age should be seen as as much of a sexual being as their male counterpart.
Women are capable of giving great pleasure to their husbands and also in need to receive the same – many of them well into their 70s.
Denying a 50 year old woman the great pleasures of sex based purely on her age is wicked, mean, callous and inhumane.
What is good for the goose is also really good for the gander.
By Jummy Ariyo