The Aging Slut

It’s not just about clothes.

Although a lot of it is about clothes.

Here’s what I want to know: How do you dress like, act like, be like, a sexy slut, when you’re in your mid-forties? What about in your fifties? Your sixties?

The sexy slutty clothes I used to love so much just don’t look good on me now. I don’t know if it’s that my body’s different, or my personality, or what. But ripped fishnets and miniskirts and skimpy tops don’t make me look like a punk rock waif any more. They make me look like an aging tramp.

And I don’t know why that is — or whether I’m okay with it.

Is it just cultural standards, mainstream perceptions of what makes women sexy, blah blah blah? Because if it is, then fuck that. I didn’t pay attention to the beauty myth when it told me that fat women weren’t sexy, or that dykey women weren’t sexy – so why should I pay attention when it tells me that middle-aged women aren’t sexy, and I should just shroud myself in Land’s End and call it a day?

But what if it’s something else? What if it’s me that’s a different person — with a different character and different ways of seeing my sexuality — and the old ways of displaying my sexuality don’t actually represent who I am now?

I think it might be. At least partly.

Which brings me to my next question: What represents my sexuality now? How is my sexuality different at 44 than it was at 25 or 32 – and how do I dress and act in a way that’s authentic to who I am now?

Some of it is that I’m married now, and while I’m in a non-monogamous marriage and thus theoretically still available for a fling, in practice I’m not chasing tail with nearly the same verve I did when I was younger. So even though I still want to dress with sex in mind, it’s because I’m a very sexual person and I want to be true to that – not because I’m trying to bait the hook.

Some of it is that I’ve been on a downward slide on the Kinsey scale lately. Ingrid apart, I’ve been in a phase where I’m paying more attention to guys than to women. (And before you ask, the Alan Rickman/Snape fetish is only part of that ) And while I feel pretty confident about my attractiveness to other dykes, my experience has been that men tend to be, not more picky exactly, but less likely to be attracted to unconventionally attractive women – and so as I get older, I feel a lot less sexually confident with them. (That actually makes me feel better about this whole question, since a downward slide on the Kinsey scale is almost certainly a phase that’ll pass.)

And some of it is that I don’t feel the same about my body as I did when I was younger. My body is crankier, harder to take care of, both more fragile and more demanding. When I’m feeling my never-quite healed elbow and my bad knee, my allergies and my asthma, when I’m watching my cholesterol or scheduling a colonoscopy, it’s harder to feel like my body is a gorgeous, well-oiled machine that I want to parade all over town.

But some of it is more complicated than that, more fucked-up. I don’t feel the same now about my body, not just because of how it feels, but because of how other people see it. I hate that that’s true, but it is. When I see myself through my own eyes, I see a smart, sexy, fun, adventurous bi-dyke slut who can bench press 60 pounds. But when I see myself through the eyes of the world as a whole, I see a chubby middle-aged lady.

I want to dress in a way that challenges that. I want to dress in a way that reclaims my sexual power. But I want to do it in a way that doesn’t make me look, or feel, pathetic and desperate.

And I’m not sure how to do that.

Any thoughts? How do you age gracefully without giving up on sex and sexiness? If you’re dealing with this and have ideas about it; if you have lovers or sex partners who are dealing with this and you have ideas about it; or if you just have opinions about it; I want to hear about it.

The Aging Slut

15 thoughts on “The Aging Slut

  1. 1

    Greta, god bless you. Your sexuality has changed as you have aged. That is more than to be expected, but to be revelled in. While it is true for most men you are not in playboy centerfold shape anymore, and I have no doubt that gravity has done its damage along with time as it is wont to do. You, like all other women cannot be a 16 year old ropy muscled bikini filler forever. This is a good thing. Older women can make you feel good in ways bikini bimbo has yet to have wet dreams about. she had not yet discovered the reason to make ones partner feel good is that you enjoy doing so, not looking for reciprocation. Older women cannot however simply put the goods on display like they could when they were 20 or perhaps even thirty. However sexy truly is a state of mind for the perverse conniseur. Knowing you are still sexy and very fuckable is the single hottest thing ever. young women are actually less likely to have mastered this as they have the impossible standards fashion magazines put forth to compare themselves to. Mature women have (hopefully) brought their lovers to spine liquefying orgasms in the past, and learned to do so with skill. How hot is that? To answer your clothing question is to advertise the fact that you have the skills, and still have the hardware to use it. Showing lots of skin is not the way to achieve this, just show off enough of the right skin. A little cleavage goes a long way. Fair winds and following seas in your quest.

  2. 2

    At 52, I do find myself becoming more modest. I have great tits (still firm and full) but I don’t feel it’s appropriate to show them. I don’t know if that’s because of my age, my weight, or both. I believe a woman can look beautiful and sexy without showing a lot of skin. You just have to shop carefully. You can find something that accentuates your curves just a little, yet is loose in all the right places as well (the flab doesn’t show).
    I do buy pretty lingerie because my lover likes it and I do feel sexy when I’m wearing it. Of course it’s not a thong or anything like that – I still try to hide my flab – but you can find good lingerie that’s not skimpy.
    I’m up to a plus size now but I find a lot of pretty clothes in big sizes. I’m careful though, to stay away from flashy prints and gaudy colors. And NO animal prints. NO, NO, NO. It should be illegal for women of a certain age and/or size to wear leopard print! Unless you’re a standup comedian!
    I look at other women. I see some women and think, wow I wish I looked like that! Especially if I see a woman who is my age/weight, and I think she’s attractive. What is she wearing? How is that working for her? What does her hair look like? What kind of accessories does she have? It’s not just the clothes, it’s the total woman.
    Then I see other women and think, eeeeeeeeeeeeew I do NOT want to look like that !! What is she doing wrong? Remind myself so that I never make that same mistake. I want to grow old gracefully. I’m starting to settle into it.
    I quit coloring my hair. Partly because I constantly had to touch up the grey roots, and I was tired of fooling with it. Partly out of curiosity, because I hadn’t seen my REAL hair in 15 years –and girl, was I surprised to discover that it’s all white!! But you know what? It’s beautiful. Total strangers will stop me at the train station and tell me how beautiful my white hair is. I’m serious.
    Sometimes it’s in the details. The right hair and earrings can do wonders!

  3. 3

    In the trite-but-true department: I feel your pain Greta. It’s hard to feel like much of a Sexual Outlaw when my hairline’s receding like the tide before a tsunami. My cheeks are getting puffier, and in general, I feel about as attractive as a bag of hammers. Midlife crisis? Mais oui! I got the job change, the brain candy, and the boner pills. (Because of the brain candy.) I don’t have the little red sports car, but that’s because only the most seriously addled men would try to combine a two-door car with two small children.
    And although I’ve dressed pretty much the same way for decades, lately it’s been starting to feel like an act, like some sort of grad student desperate to not finish his thesis and have to leave the campus.
    Speaking of, my college town is full of men who aren’t handling aging well: they’re dressing the same way as they did in 1974, and it’s not working very well. They don’t look like springtime, they look like portly dudes with white hair who can’t get past 1974.
    Bonus embarrassing note: I was once watching the British version of “What Not to Wear”. The two women, fully dressed, had an embarrassed and curvy client stripped down to her bra and panties and were putting their hands on her and making comments about her to each other. I had to leave the room….

  4. 4

    Aging is a mixed blessing. Part of me welcomes the fact that I’m no longer subject to the overwhelming attention from men that I got in my teens and twenties. I do miss the more occasional and less obnoxious attention I got in my mid 30s though. I also mix the sex drive that made me feel like a sex pot in my 30s. I’m bathing in the warm glow of para-menopause (oh, wait that wasn’t warm glow, that was just a hot flash) so a big part of feeling less sexy is that I’m feeling less interested in sex. But then there is that whole society thang added to it and while I still look young for my age, I don’t look as young as I did when I was, well, young.
    As for looking sexy, I think that pared down lines and a more subdued look works better for most of us as we get older , but it really depends on your individual style. I actually think that some women can and should wear leopard prints into their 60s (think Eartha Kitt) I’ve never felt comfortable in leopard prints and therefore they don’t make me feel sexy, but I have friends my age or even a wee bit older who look hot in animal prints and I would hate for them to stop wearing them because someone else decides it’s no longer appropriate.
    Middle aged women for example do not need to stop wearing short skirts- if like Greta they look hot in short skirts. Large women tend to have great legs IMO and I think we should show them off, Just pair them with tights that aren’t ripped and a sleek but not skimpy top (I think Greta already knows this, because this seems to be what she’s been doing, but for the sake of group discussion I’m putting it here)
    Really it depends on what makes you feel sexy. For me it used to be all about how things looked, but as I get older it’s also a lot about how they feel. I find that I feel sexier in things that are comfortable but a bit slinky and preferably showcase my ass. Over time I have finally gotten the message that for the group that likes that sort of thing , I have a great ass. This is something I didn’t feel comfortable with until my 30s, so this is one part of my body that I feel better about than I used to.
    I can’t say the same thing about tummy, so I tend to favor things that don’t cling to my belly because it feels like a constant reminder that it’s bigger than it used to be. I understand that that’s probably giving into the unfair standards of the patriarchy or whatever, but we are talking about feeling sexy here and until I evolve more, I’m just going to have to dress in a way that makes me feel good (and the older I get, the more I think that being a good feminist is doing what makes me feel good rather than worrying if it makes me a good feminist.)
    I think the reason a lot of older people look silly wearing “younger people” clothes is that they are wearing them as a costume, trying to pretend they haven’t gotten older and changed both inside and out. It’s not the short skirt or the leopard print or the greying pony-tail that makes them look silly or sad or desperate it’s the fact that they wish they were still 25 and that’s pretty sad, because even though I would love to have the muscle tone and flexibility of the body I had at that age, I wouldn’t take it back if it meant going back to being who I was then. She was a nice girl and all, but I prefer being who I am now.

  5. 5

    Hi Greta,
    I’m 39, 40 in December, and so yes, middle-aged in, the clock ticks, 45 days.
    Intellectually speaking, I know less now than I did when I was 25 because I accept the idea nothing is black-and-white; creatively speaking, I’m willing to take risks as a writer and am not happy unless I do. Push the envelope. Sexually speaking, I know what I want and why, which makes me feel even more aroused, curious and experimental, and so I’m horny quite often and masturbate in a way I haven’t done before, in front of a mirror, legs spread. Watching myself. Meeting my eyes.
    How do I dress? Right now, sitting at the computer with hot, straight up coffee in a cup that says “Renegade Writer,” I’m wearing a pair of pink-and-black printed pajama bottoms with a standard, run-of-the-mill Kurt Cobain tee shirt that is accessorized with cat hair, dog hair, and a faint Merlot stain.
    At work I wear slacks, fitted but not tight, and sweaters that are generally fitted but not tight either, sometimes low-cut, but I never wear a skirt and a low-cut sweater in the same day. I prefer skirts that are knee-length, high-heeled boots or sandals but not the kind that pinch my damn toes. Can’t stand nylons: Find them miserable and hot. I feel confined in them. Same goes for underwear although I often wear boxer shorts around the house, and I’ll wear a pair of silk panties under a skirt.
    I like polish on my toes but don’t polish my fingernails. I love leather coats, shawls, suede, denim. Never been into animal prints but love earth tones and black. Love my jeans with a tee shirt or sweater and boots. The other day I saw the hottest pair of jeans, but they were a size 3, and I’m not a size 3. Try 9. I wear what fits, what looks flattering to my thirty-nine-year-old-post-child-figure. What feels authentic and comfortable, and what’s nice about being my age is I know when I feel comfortable in my own skin and when I do, I stick with it.

  6. 6

    Greta you rock! You’re an inspiration. I was just turning on the computer to read something on body image issues and lo and behold. I was struggling with the idea that sex-positive feminism places women in a sort of mental slavery where they have to look like Jenna Jameson to feel sexy or will forever compare themselves and feel inadequate. But it’s so true that believing that is succumbing to patriarchal standards.
    I think you should wear whatever makes you feel sexy. I think you create your own reality. I know if we all looked perfect, it would be perfect we would all be sexpots, but it can be perfect if we say we are the revolution and stop paying attention to mainstream messages about what is and isn’t sexy. I don’t know why you’re looking at yourself through patriarchal society’s eyes in the first place. If you were 90 pounds they would still look down on you as a slut in the clothes.

  7. 8

    I say YES to pussy prints. I think they look better as you age. It has to do with the colors (neutrals) and the lines (not square) that makes one look slinkier, like the big cats they’re mimicing.
    Go get the very first edition of “What Not to Wear.” It is very fucking funny and directly addresses the issues you’re dealing with. I only learned this stuff by learning how to sew, when you have to learn what silouettes and lines are flattering to you just to pick a pattern. Later, I realized that no one tells you this in the US. That’s why the women who wrote this aren’t from here.
    I feel like I need a tape on YOUTUBE to blather further about this. There is a whole miniskirt revolutionary transition for miniskirters. You STILL wear them, but just a tad longer. Please come visit my closet for further details.

  8. 9

    I hear you, Greta! I make my living as an on-screen sex performer and, at nearly 49 years old have had to modify my on-screen apparel. I used to be the naked-but-for-shoes performer. Now, I’m the queen of garters and stocikings. I’m now pale when I was tan, and that much white flesh on camera just doesn’t cut it any more.
    Off camera, I don’t wear short skirts any more, as I don’t much care for my knees. With any skirt, always hose, as my skin isn’t as taught as it once was (damn tanning!).
    Now that I’ve finally found a decent pair of boots with a human-sized heel (2.5″), I have my uniform for the next thirty years: boots, leggings and some kind of cute tunic top (all those years of working the Renessaince Pleasure Faire made their mark on me). Find your best assest and work it, girl!
    For you, especially if you’re still on the hunt for man-flesh, go for slinky/silky black things and work the cleavage: a cut-just-deeply-enough neckline with a killer push up bra goes a looooong way toward instilling interest in the rest of you. Of course, at home when it’s time to follow through, good lighting is a must for any woman over 40!
    I also like silky skirts/dresses that just go below my knee, with as high a heel as I can maneuver in. It says “female” without being too exposed.

  9. 10

    one thing I’ve picked up on as a somewhat fluffy (250lbs) 42 year old, is that i *can* get my clues from what people are telling me they enjoy seeing me in.
    heck, 4-6 years ago you could not have *paid* me to wear a black pleather stretch catsuit or a tight lycra minidress anywhere where *anyone* could see me.
    But the first time i got up the nerve to wear either of those items to a kink party or club, all i heard from folks over and over again, was: “OMG you are looking so HOT!!”.
    *blink* *blink* “OK, if you say so.”
    So letting go the urge to over-judge myself about what I *think* people must be thinking about how I look has been the most useful thing.
    The right attitude, makes the outfit sexy, whatever it is.
    heh. Though there is the aspect of just showing just enough skin to tease the viewer into wondering *what else* might be there is a really good tactic too.
    p.s. I just found your blog via Tacit’s and am filled with blog love at what you’ve written here. Thank you!

  10. 12

    Though I’m not yet having this problem myself (I am chubby, but only of age 21), I wanted to throw out a suggestion. I had an English teacher in high school that, as she was graying, got tired of dying her hair to hide the gray and so instead decided to do something wacky. She died a wisp of hair in front pure white, kind of like Rogue’s (from X-men). That in addition to her crew-cut hair style came out to be amazing. She was beautiful with her hair like that. Now, you have a lovely head of hair from what I can see in your photos, so I don’t think the crew-cut would be the thing for you, but maybe a shock of white hair out in front might be something nifty to try. 🙂
    (I also have a fetish for white hair, so others might not find this as neat of an idea as I thought it was.)

  11. 15

    Wow. I’m 46, gay, male, and I identify. Thanks for putting words to this, especially THIS part:
    “I don’t feel the same now about my body, not just because of how it feels, but because of how other people see it. I hate that that’s true, but it is. When I see myself through my own eyes, I see a smart, sexy, fun, adventurous [change these for me –>] bi-dyke [but not his–>] slut who can bench press 60 pounds. But when I see myself through the eyes of the world as a whole, I see a chubby middle-aged [sex change, again] lady.”
    I can’t do the Land’s End stuff. Power tie? Artsy pony-tail? Two-day old scruff? Freaky out-of-time 80s hair? Annie Lennox gender-fuck? Drag? No. New glasses?
    Maybe I need a job working for Miranda in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

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