Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things You’ll Never Hear Him Say When He Sees You Naked

Photo by Ruth Lefkowitz
Women of our age: I hear all the time that you're embarrassed about your aging body to the point of avoiding sex with a new partner -- or you insist on sex in a darkened room, using the braille method of discovery. 

I discover it's not just single women: I had a conversation with a man about my age who is no longer having sex with his wife because she's too embarrassed about her weight gain to be naked with him.

Other men tell me similar stories -- that their wives hide their bodies, and the men miss the sex and the intimacy, but don't know how to ease their wives past their distaste for their bodies.

I'd like to talk to both genders here:

Women: By hiding your body, being embarrassed by it, you're buying into our youth-obsessed culture that says that only young, firm, fertile bodies can be sexy and alluring. Let's put that notion to rest right now!

Single women, imagine this scenario:

Finally, after meeting so many frogs (and not even tempted to kiss any of them), you’ve met a man who makes your heart flutter big time. You’ve flirted, you’ve gone on a few dates, you’ve talked half the night, you’ve laughed at his jokes and he at yours. On your last date, you kissed… and kissed. His hands went exploring, so did yours, and you know that on the next date, more than your lipstick will come off. You’ve even had the Condom Conversation.

But, your inner worrier keeps asking you, what if he sees your body and heads for the hills?

You’ve got to trust me on this, he’s not going to say or even think any of the following:

  • “Oh, gee, you have so many wrinkles!”
  • “You’d be so pretty if you lost weight.”
  • “Huh—I thought you looked younger with clothes on.”
  • “I like firmer butts and perkier breasts.”
  • “Uh, I gotta go now.”

No, whether or not he voices it out loud or conveys it with a smile or melting eyes, here’s what he’s thinking:

 “Oh wow, did I get lucky! This is going to be wonderful.”

Partnered women: Does your husband have the same body as when you first dated? I doubt it. Realize that your man wants you, wants the bonding with you, wants the sexual pleasure with you. Instead of asking him, "Do I look fat?" try asking, "What do you find the sexiest part of my body?" His answer might surprise you, and I'll bet he'll be delighted that you asked.

Men: You may not realize how insecure we women are about our bodies. We need to hear from you that you find us sexy, alluring, beautiful. If you think our breasts are gorgeous, or our rear view turns you on, please tell us. Even an "I could gaze into your eyes forever" will make our hearts flutter. We need you to help us affirm our bodies. A hefty dose of romance does wonders for us, too!

We women are our own worst critics, always have been. Remember those teenage pimples? Those worries about our shape and smell? Let’s decide, once and for all, that our bodies are just right, capably of visually delighting a partner and of bringing us both great pleasure.

If we can’t do that at this time of life, when can we? Even if we don’t fully believe it, acting “as if” we’re proud of our bodies will help make it so.

So when it’s time for that get-naked date, prepare with some gorgeous lingerie, dim the lights if you feel the need, but don’t black out the view (candles are sexy and flattering), have lubricant handy, and enjoy.

I'd love to hear from both women and men about this topic! Please comment.

This post was originally published in a slightly different form 11/8/11. I expanded and updated it 11/20/2012.

16 comments:

  1. Absolutely Joan. The best sex I have, for sex's sake, is masturbation. Occasionally I find a partner and we have "fun" sex. But there is a woman with whom I have been friends for years. We were lovers for about a year but recognized that we couldn't merge our "life plans." So we enjoy flirting and teasing and occasional "more". Over the years we've both acquired wrinkles, droopy muscles, some tummy, etc. but nobody "curls my toes" like Kendra. I don't care what her body is like, just being skin to skin with her is thrilling.

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  2. Having just posted this link from Huffington Post re. the Victoria Secret models' performance on Super Bowl Sunday half time, I have my doubts that the majority of women are ever going to fully believe we have acceptable bodies at any age. There's so much propaganda to the contrary. Through columns like Joan's, though, we get to hear a rational, accepting voice. This is the precise antidote necessary to years of negative conditioning. http://huff.to/usTcnB

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  3. He is 55 to my 62.
    He loves my body.
    Absolutely loves it.
    Loves to look at it.
    Loves to watch me move.

    He does say something I have trouble with, though. he says I'm beautiful. I remember him saying that the first time he came to the house. The first time he say me naked. He looked at me standing there, decidedly overweight, and said with a note of wonderment in his voice - "You're beautiful!"

    And he gets quite angry if I seem not to believe him. Given that he's a sadist, I've had to learn to accept his judgment on the matter.

    He is the only person in my entire life who has ever called me beautiful.

    o.g.

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  4. Ummm, don't forget we guys are worried about what SHE will say about our bodies - sking tags, extra weight, keg abs instead of six pack abs.

    The key isn't appearance - its attraction. And so much of attraction is attitude...willingness...acceptance.

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  5. Assuming we are close to the same age, we have had close to the same things happen to our bodies (making allowances for gender differences). That being the case, she will look the same as she would when she was 17 and my eyes were 19. And I will appreciate it just as much.

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  6. At 50 after major surgery, I worked as an artist's model in Cannes. Nothing between me and them except the canvas. It was a very liberating and affirming celebration of my body at that time. Nonetheless, when my former lover and I first got together, my thoughts were what Joan stated so well: "what if he sees your body and heads for the hills?"

    As Monk would say, "Here is what happened.": as he slowly disrobed me, he tells me that my breasts are just like he has been imagining... large areolas, D-cups, and so on. To my credit, I managed to smile instead of laughing out loud since my breasts, though still beautiful at my age of 65, don't look at all like he described them. The moral of the story being that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and who are we to naysay it.

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  7. I'm leaning with Rae on this one - with so much attention placed on the tight, young bodies it makes flaunting these old wrinkles feel like asking him to take out the garbage.
    It's crammed down our throats at every turn - youth is sexy - to which I reply "bull - - -". However for this gal - the fact that most men find that youthful appearance so desireable, without mirrors for themselves - well it tends to make some of us want to wear a mumuu.
    Negative conditioning has been a tall presence for many years and frankly I think that beautiful women know they are beautiful because people tell them so - - bottom line is that if nobody tells you, you must be ugly? hmmmmm

    What a mess - after 34 years my husband will admit that I can look nice - that I turn him on - but tell me that I'm beautiful? As soon as he gets back from that swim to Pluto. Now which of us is the stupid one?

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  8. Joan, you are so right! At 78 I look in the mirror and see sagging breasts and lots of wrinkles. He at 60 tells me that I have the body of a teenager and he feels like a pedophile. Who's right? I vote for him!

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  9. I'm going to be 66 yrs old in January yet there are days I feel like I'm 30 yrs younger! What makes me feel that way is the man who comes to visit 4 or 5 times a year. It's just like the 1978 movie "Same Time Next Year" starring Ellen Burstyn & Alan Alda. Only we are both divorced and meet more then once.

    I met the man in the personals 7 yrs ago. He's retired, very popular, still handsome yet he needs his ego rubbed.

    I have yet to read about men being concerned about what we think of them nude. They seem to think or have it cemented in their head it doesn't matter how small or big they are, we are just happy to see a penis!

    Women are their own worst enemy. They should feed their ego the same way! What doesn't sink in is exactly what you have written. If more were to think just how beautiful their body is it will drive the man crazy too! He'll wonder what the hell she's up to or damn she must have one hell of a sex life that she could care less what I think of her shape!!

    I love life and being a plus size woman!

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  10. "By hiding your body, being embarrassed by it, you're buying into our youth-obsessed culture that says that only young, firm, fertile bodies can be sexy and alluring."

    By exhibiting these behaviors, you are not just buying into the marketing nonsense--you are actively perpetuating it.

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  11. My husband is 35 to my 54. (Yes, I'm a bit on the young side compared to others who post here, but I have learned SO MUCH! Thank you, Joan!)
    I read in someone's post that you can know how a man is in bed before you ever even have sex. This was true with my husband. (We've only been married a few months!) Just the way he talked and described everyday things at first, but later, sexual topics, I just knew he was a keeper.

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  12. Been married 30 years. The other day I said I wish my stomach was flat so I could be sexier for you and he said well I wish I had a twelve inch dick but it just ain't gonna happen! That made me feel so good. And I later said to him most of it would go to waste anyway. He's just right for me.

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  13. Anonymous, you made me laugh out loud -- thank you! Yes, it's clear the two of you are just right for each other. Thanks for sharing that exchange with us. I'm going to tell my Naked at Our Age Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/JoanPriceAuthor) what you said.

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  14. Well, married 6 years and 64, I think back ten yrs at age 54 when I started dating. Took me a few goes to figure this out but I started requiring to see a woman naked before I was going to get intimate...hot tub, spa, massage table, naked-yet-celibate sleepover.

    A first date with one good sport and fun lady taught me this as she explained that in her thinking, bodies needed to be compatible. How so I asked? She told me of a micro penis past relationship that was painful, that she should have entered that relationship more wisely. I said: "Hmmm." Then, in front of the fire, stood up slowly and disrobed, did a twirl, got dressed, sat back down. As we both laughed, I said: "Well, that's what you wanted, right? I get that this is an audition. No problem. Did I pass?" We laughed some more; a fun first date.

    That relationship, it turns out, didn't happen. But I never got intimate with a woman after that night without seeing her face while she looked at herself naked with me in the room. You're right. Whether I think she's beautiful is irrelevant. I wanted to know what she thought of her body...before I let her offer it to me in any intimate way.

    Goofy? Maybe. Or maybe brilliant. At 54 and dating it was my last go at finding a woman who liked herself, liked her body, wanted to offer it to me in love. I wasn't about to be polite to find out.

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  15. If a person is so shallow that they feel that they have to judge you to decide whether you are any good in bed, they will always come out on the short end of that stick. I do understand that there really is a lot of difference between casual sex and sex between husband and wife. I was married to my first wife for 42 1/2 years, (she passed away due to lung cancer) when it came to having our love making times together I never noticed that she had gotten old. She always looked like the 19 year old girl that I married many years ago.

    My second wife and I have been married a little over three years. I was drawn to her more from common core than beauty. We met online and had exchanged a bunch of e-mails before we had ever met in person. I had already like her a lot before I ever met her. Things in common were, we both had traveled extensively, her former husband had been in the military for 20 years, I also retired from the military. We both had grown children, all about the same ages.

    If one will change their point of focus from "ME" and what have you done for me lately, to "what can I do for you?" You will find that this will have a profound effect on your relationship. If you are getting you a cup of coffee it takes so little to ask your partner if they would like a cup. If you will remember to always put your partner first you will always come in first and you won't have to worry about a few extra pounds around the middle or the length of your Johnson.

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  16. This is a wonderful article! Look forward to reading more!

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