The big news in my life is that I became a Grandma last Friday six weeks earlier than expected but the baby is doing great and should be home in a few weeks. Saturday night I had a date and was in a very celebratory mood. So I put on a really sexy dress and then got inspired to create a 30 second Instagram video. You can see it here.
I didn’t think much of it when I posted the video. It was just me being my authentic self at the moment. I was excited about my date, feeling sexy, and also happy to be a grandma. End of story right?
Not so much. While I got lots of positive feedback from other women and men, there was also a backlash from unexpected people and places. This came in the form of phone calls, private emails and being unfriended and unfollowed.
I was shocked to say the least! How could a little fun video of me expressing my sexy self, in a completely appropriate way, trigger so many people? Then I realized what was going on.
Shame. The word in my new book, Living an Orgasmic Life, that I call “the nastiest five letter word in the universe. Shame. Rearing it’s ugly head once again. Discomfort with the idea that someone who is a grandmother can also have a sex life.
This apparently was far worse than watching a 20 minute video of me vulnerably sharing about a sexual experience that I had with my dog Lucky when I was seven years old. That was understandable. I was young, innocent and didn’t know better.
But proclaiming to the world that a 58 year old grandmother can be fully sexually in her power. Apparently I went over the line.
In truth there were multiple triggers here. Despite the fact that sex is talked about frankly and broadcast blatantly in popular culture, sexual shame is rampant in our society. It is multi-generational. Millenials are having less sex than any generation in the last 60 years.
Shame runs deep in our psyche. It is programmed into us from very early on. “Don’t touch yourself”, “Cover your eyes”, “Keep your legs shut” are messages that we’ve all heard. Then there are the unconscious messages from parents who do not model healthy intimacy, as well as cultural and religious sex-negative messages.
Ageism and role delineation was also in play. I had the distinct sense that had I not referred to myself as a grandmother, no one would have taken notice of this video. But the caption read “In the Hot Gramma Club”.
While we talk a good game about embracing healthy sexuality in mature adults, this still goes against the societal norm. Every picture I’ve ever seen in the media of an older adult couple being intimate is vanilla and boring. It’s like our passion and desire is supposed to die out as we age.
I’m certainly not going down that path. I didn’t even sexually blossom until I hit my 50’s and I am not alone. There are many women, and gramma’s, in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s who are more sexually alive and vibrant than ever before.
So for those who I have made uncomfortable, I make no apologies. Rather I invite you to look at your own issues around shame and preconceived notions about aging and sexuality. For the rest of you, come join the “Hot Gramma Club” and let’s show the world our true colors.