Body Love: Y is for Youth
It is really difficult to define when youth ends and middle age begins. The lines are blurred because we live in an age where certain milestones are not happening for everyone. They are also not even necessarily generally desired anymore. Age-appropriate clothing or behaviour has become a thing of the past. Women refuse to get old the way that they were expected to in the last century. And there are so many possibilities to slow down the process of aging: plastic surgery, healthy lifestyles, cremes and potions. On the other hand, there are also those who want to embrace their age instead, and not follow the trend of desirable youth. Beauty, sexuality and desirability don’t need to be glued to looking or seeming younger than we are on paper.
Youth vs. Maturity
So far, I have only talked about women. They are often deemed more attractive when they are younger. But for some reason, for men it seems often to be the other other way around. An older man seems more attractive than a 20-something Adonis. There are exceptions, of course. But if you look at the lists of most attractive men or women, the median age is definitely not the same. I think it has to do with that the negative traits of youth are more present in young men than they are in women. The older men get, the more likely they are open to settling down and serious relationships. The weaker their libido (which for men decreases with age), the less likely they are to cheat. I think these are things that subconsciously guide us when looking for a mate.
I understand why youth often is seen as more desirable in women. It is really in our genes: we have the need to procreate and young bodies are more likely to produce a healthy offspring. But I also see a few dangers in the focus on youth, especially in today’s society. With young but adult bodies being sexualized, young teens are trying to look more adult, and older women feel the pressure to look younger.
Teenagers are expected to be sexual at a young age (and also deal with sexual advances) while more mature women’s sexuality is being pushed under the rug. Sex seems to be only for young women. That is of course not true, and there are a lot more mature women openly talking about their desires, needs and sexual pleasure these days. I very much hope that this group of women who don’t want to hide anymore is going to grow.
I have never been attracted to youth. Instead, I tend to prefer maturity in personality and attitude over youthful impulsivity and thoughtless behaviour. Those traits are not necessarily linked to age, there are those who are older and are not displaying maturity, and there are young people who are attractive to me because they are thinkers. But in general, I have only ever dated people who were older than me, often much older than me. There were exceptions, of course, but their attractiveness was related to confidence and intelligence, not to their young bodies. I am generally not attracted to physical traits in the first place anyway, so I don’t have a preference. I like both young and mature bodies. It is the person inside that body that either tickles my buttons, or doesn’t.
Aging and I
So I don’t deny nor disagree with the attractiveness of mature bodies, and mature people. I think everyone has something beautiful in them, no matter age or gender. But I, with so many things, have a difficult time to apply that sort of thinking to myself. It might be that I am just hyperaware of that the rest of society doesn’t follow my line of thinking, and deems younger people more attractive. And I already have a lot of physical disadvantages (from my subjective point of view) and having to add an aging body to that list, is very frustrating.
I don’t think I looked better when I was younger. I looked different, but not better. My best days were in my late 20s and early 30s, when I was the healthiest, and the slimmest. But I don’t think that had much to do with age either, I was just healthier and that translates into the way you look, as well.
I never expected to get this old. I was very convinced that I’d be dead before the age of 35, and it has been close many times. So I never even thought about how I would approach an aging body. It wasn’t in the cards for me. And here I am now, 38 years old, and still very much alive. And I am faced with having to deal with that I am getting older, and that I am starting to look older too.
I have been blessed with good genes so I don’t really look my age. My mother still looks ten years younger than she is, and so did my grandmother when she was still alive. I could pass for under 30, and people who meet me have a hard time guessing my age. I assume that my style has a lot to do with that as well. But for someone my age, I don’t have a lot of wrinkles and my body has not aged much in terms of skin changing or things being more droopy. If you have always had droopy boobs, and always had round hips, age doesn’t change much of your body type.
But I am seeing the signs of aging and I am panicking about it. I am not too worried about being seen as too old for having an active sexlife. I am still in the child-bearing age, after all. But I think my attractiveness (if we now assume I ever had that to begin with) is slowly declining because of my age. I now notice things. Like how a lack of sleep actually makes me not only look tired but also older. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles yet, but it shows. And then there is my hair: I have a lot of silver hair! I do dye my hair, so it is always fascinating yet horrifying to see the roots growing out and seeing more and more silver each time.
I wish I was one of those women who embrace their aging and are accepting of the changes. And I wish I still looked like when I was in my late 20s and early 30s. No silver hair, no beginning wrinkles, no tired eyes and much healthier. It seems like I now have even more to hide and cover than I had back then. And at the same it is frustrating that I am aware of that the need to look younger really comes from societal expectations. I don’t find youth more attractive than maturity.
I am doing the A to Z challenge during the month of April (and apparently May and June too). My theme is Body Love. So you will get 26 posts from me, following the alphabet, related to the topic body love. You can check out more about the to A to Z challenge by clicking on the banner. You can find a list of sexbloggers participating in the challenge on Mrs Fever’s site.