Lauren Marie Fleming's email to me began,
I'm putting together the final touches for the launch of my BawdyLove program and I wanted to ask if you'd be interested in sharing what I'm calling your "Bawdy Love origin story", or the moment(s) where you decided you were done hating yourself and ready to work towards loving yourself fully.
I didn't ever "hate" my body, but I didn't see it as beautiful or sexy through most of my teenage and adult years. I looked good in clothes, but naked, my body was far from the media's image of what a sexy female body should look like. My breasts have never been perky, not even as a teenager. They always flopped, and the older I get, the flatter and floppier they become.
But here's the strange thing: I love my body now more than I ever have. OK, you can tease me about my eyesight, but honestly, it isn't about what I look like -- it's what I feel like. and I feel like a beautiful, sensual, sexy woman at age 71. Here's how I got here:
1. When my great love Robert and I fell in love, he truly found me beautiful and told me so often. He and I had a morning routine, where he brought me coffee in bed, I let the covers slip from my breasts, he covered his eyes and stepped back as if dazzled by my beauty. This didn't just go one way -- I would drink in his body with my eyes and tell him, "You're the handsomest man in my world." Take-away point: If you're lucky enough to have a lover in your life, let each other know how sexy/ beautiful you find each other.
2. I discovered shaper bras that can give me the uplift and cleavage that my breasts don't have on their own, and that makes me feel confident in sexy, revealing clothing. Take-away point: Shop for underwear and outerwear that show off your body to the best advantage. Put the accent on revealing rather than covering up.
3. I did a lingerie shoot with a photographer at age 65, and I enjoyed it so much that I repeated the experience at age 68. (Hmm, I'm due for another!) I learned so much from the experience of posing in lingerie and seeing the photos afterwards. Take-away point: Pose in lingerie if this intrigues you -- you'll discover that the camera reveals how sexy you are in ways you never saw on your own.
4. I realized that this body, whatever its age, is capable of giving me great sensual and sexual pleasure. What's sexier than that? I celebrate my body because of the sensations and the pleasure I get from it. I encourage you to do the same. Take-away point: Whether you're partnered or not, experience, enjoy and love your body's sexy gifts to you.
I asked followers of my Naked at Our Age Facebook page to comment about their own body image challenges. Here's what they said:
- I turned 62 yesterday and of course never appreciated my young self's body. While I try to appreciate my current body, sagging breasts, stretch marks, and loose skin make my newly single sex life a challenge. The lights are out before sex and I don't dress or undress in front of him. He likes my body but I'm still not comfortable being naked in front of him.
- I'm 55. I have been severely limited in expressing myself freely because I think I should be a smaller size. A friend who was heavier than me once said, "Men don't care what size you are as long as they can get it in there!" Too funny! I guess she could sense my fear was holding me back from meeting anyone. I have never been able to be that uninhibited about not being my ideal size. Hence, I have been alone a while now. I say I'll meet someone when I trim down.
- How about also addressing the challenge of explaining scars from injuries and surgeries to a person not yet familiar with what adventures and misadventures you have survived? Along with the ethical quandary of a cancer survivor (with the scars to prove it) dating a person who lost their mate to cancer?
- The most insecure I have been is after surgeries. Explaining your scars and exposing them is nerve wracking. Plus your body has been through a trauma and getting intimate after these events takes time from healing and a patient lover.
- [from a therapist:] I frequently counsel with gorgeous women from 30-65+ who look at their body in the mirror and all they see is the tummy roll from child-bearing or their less than 34D bust. What I see is a woman who is physically, spiritually and emotionally beautiful, but just doesn't look like the Victoria's Secret models. You must love yourself before you can love others, and that includes your body.
|Lauren Marie Fleming|