Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Older Women: Vintage Perfection

Anyone who’s heard a lecture or two of mine knows how I feel about the way male-centered cultures often ignore important distinctions between the real-life experiences of men and women. And if you’ve got any doubts about this, surely, the recent mind-blowing conservative male blather over controlling women’s bodies is proof enough of what I’m saying.

But this isn’t new. As we all know, double standards have had a serious impact on the experiences of women over time. A few centuries after Pythagoras, a Greek woman named Aglaonike mastered the art of predicting the timing of an eclipse. As one might imagine, a woman with such an ability was both celebrated and feared. Women such as Aglaonike, with specialized and esoteric scientific knowledge, were thought by their male contemporaries to be able to “draw down the moon.”

These amazing women were, of course, referred to as “sorceresses” during their lifetimes, and they remained so in subsequent Grecian writings. In fact, women who could forecast lunar eclipses during the 3 centuries before the birth of Christ became known as the famous (or infamous) “Witches of Thessaly.” Odd how such knowledge in the hands of a woman gets referred to as witchcraft rather than science!

On a more positive note, many ancient societies attributed lots of agency and power to women, especially OLD women, wise women, who were thought to have special knowledge of the natural world. In fact, some of those ancient cultures valued the sexual knowledge of old women more than that of other members of society, so much so that often, younger men were encouraged to offer themselves sexually to these older, wiser women, in hopes that they’d be accepted as students - eager learners about the wonder of women’s bodies. They also hoped that the old women would teach the young tutees a thing or two (or three) about making love.

Some agrarian African societies practice this today; contrary to jungle-movie stereotypes, the women in these groups generally dress demurely. However, the older a woman becomes, the more of her naked skin she is allowed to expose in her daily dress. First the ankles are bared, then the knees and finally the thighs. In this way, young men can tell which women are the oldest, and therefore, considered the best, most skilled, most resourceful sexual teachers. In pursuing an “arrangement” with such an old woman, a young man asks with respect, and it’s up to the woman herself whether or not she’ll accommodate his desire to learn.

I can’t forget to mention here that certain European groups practiced similar traditions, wherein careful fathers would turn over their teen-aged sons to trusted, experienced older women for their first sexual encounters. 

So for older women who, through no fault of our own, begin to feel less than, in comparison to our younger counterparts, it helps to focus in on exactly what makes us better, wiser, more knowledgeable lovers/sex partners/intimate companions than we were in our salad days. Start thinking, Ladies…

How has what you've learned about your capacity for giving and receiving pleasure made you a more knowledgeable lover over time? What changes in your body have helped this along?

photo credit: <a href="">Meanest Indian</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Fergal of Claddagh</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

1 comment:

  1. After reading this post I can say that when I was young growing up min Chicago we just wanted sex , young or old. But if we could date a older girl we were considered being taught by a vet. So I guess we were just carrying out something that made sense to us. And that a older women could teach us something. And who doesn't want to learn.