I dream of a society where increasing age isn’t a demeaning punchline. It boggles my mind, how often we hear statements like:
“I’m revealing my age by saying this, but….” as though that’s a bad thing.
“I can’t believe she’s wearing that, at her age,” as though aging removes permission to dress as we wish.
“Beauty fades, but a good heart lasts forever,” as if physical beauty diminishes, versus changes and matures.
One of the most powerful ways to change ageist beauty standards is to embrace our own aging appearances. Easier said than done, right? It is for me, especially when the “anti-aging”-obsessed world around us begs to differ. But it is possible, and worth every effort.
If you have any doubt, look no further than Sandra LaMorgese, PhD. The other week, I interviewed the professional dominatrix and author of the soon-to-be released memoir, Switch, who is a wealth of knowledge on accepting our bodies and selves. She recently had her body painted in the middle of NYC and, on September 14th, will host the first ever nude book signing. She also happens to be 60-years-old.
I loved what she had to say about aging and appearance:
“All during the week of my birthday, I kept hearing the same thing: ‘Wow, you look great for 60!’ What does that mean, that mean if I were 45 I’d look horrible? Am I supposed to look a certain way at 60? Why do we put these labels and kind of stigmas—on ourselves, really?”
Sandra’s relationship with her own body has changed significantly in the past six years, much due to her work as a dominatrix. She entered the field with insecurities many of us can relate to.
“I was in a place where most people are in this society in America,” she said. “Who would ever want a session with me at my age and my figure? Because I was brainwashed like everyone else that you had to be thin and you had to be young.”
That turned out not to be the case at all. Sandra was met with fervor, admiration and respect, which is societally commonplace in other areas of the world—where women are considered sexy and more powerful later in life, versus somehow damaged. (Dominatrixes in Europe, for example, tend to be over 40, Sandra explained.)
Not everyone needs to pursue sex work or go nude in public to find empowerment, of course (though if that tickles your fancy, go for it!). Taking small steps to consciously cultivate positive body image can go a long way, sexually and otherwise. The only way we become more empowered, Sandra said, is through our vulnerability. Beautiful advice!
To hear our Girl Boner® Radio chat, and a thoroughly insightful conversation with the wonderful Joanna Harcourt-Smith (more on that soon!) plus advice from Dr. Megan Fleming on dealing with jealousy, listen on iTunes or here:
What steps have you taken to embrace your body and appearance as you age? What step will you commit to today? If you listened to the episode, what did you think? I love hearing from you!
Jan & Gary Christie says
Love your program. It’s the first time we listened it.
First of all, we like the way you allow the program to flow and we like your voice tone.
It’s very important in setting the tone of the program. We can see that people open up
We very much enjoyed the segment with Sandra LaMorgese, in which she discussed her upcoming book and her re-blossoming after a difficult time. We love her openness of sexuality and nudity. As a nudist couple ourselves, and an open mind to sexual expression, we appreciate Sandra’s work and we thank you for bringing this out in your discussion with her.
We also like fact that she is a normal woman looking for reality in life, especially in this artificially marketed world.
Please pass this note on to her as we are not sure how to pass notes of appreciation. She deserves it.
Thank you again, August for a great program that is enhanced by your passion to know your subject matter.
Kindest regards in sunshine,
Jan & Gary
August McLaughlin says
Hi Jan and Gary,
I can’t tell you what that means. Thanks so much for listening, and for the kind words!
I’ll make sure Sandra sees your kind note. Wishing you both the best.
Jan & Gary says
Always looking forward to your views and posts, August.
Keep up the great work!
Kindest regards in sunshine,
Jan & Gary☀️❤️
Sandra LaMorgese Ph.D. says
Dear Jan & Gary,
August was so sweet to pass your message on to me.
Words cannot express how much gratitude I felt when reading your kind message of inspiration.
Jan and Gary says
Your so welcome, Sandra. And thank you for your views.
They have certainly enriched our lives.
And keep that smile glowing?
Jan & Gary☀️
We have tried to respond to you on Twitter (J&Gnaturally) but were unable to get a follow from you.
I’m so proud of you, August. You continue to have interesting topics and guests. And you teach me something new with each podcast. Also, I recently had to buy new batteries, so there’s that. XO
August McLaughlin says
Thank you, awesome woman! I’m so touched that you listen and enjoy – and stoked about your need for new batteries. XOXO
Scott Vannatter says
I have finally embraced my feelings as a Dom/Daddy Dom (I am on that line somewhere. While I don’t tell everyone about it (let’s give the example of Mom), I do tell and talk to a lot of people in the BDSM groups I partake of. Wonderful people! Yes, there are some, but most are wonderful.
The best thing: they tend to not judge you on anything much. We all have our kinks and they are accepting of them.
I met a young woman and bought her dinner the other night and we talked for nearly 4 hours! It was great. The interesting part? I am 58 and she was 22. We are planning another date soon and she is interested in me and me in her. It’s nice and it’s fun and, now, it’s much more natural. I have many friends who would poo-poo it and tell me this or that or dislike me or refuse to even acknowledge me, but I have friends and some family who are happy for me. Bravo for them!
Aurora Jean Alexander says
I know how self critiques worried me, having a new partner “at my age”… Looking into the mirror I felt insecure and a little sad, hoping he’s still would find me at least a bit sexy…
And I thought: Is it just me, or are all women like this?
Gravity kicks in… and age isn’t to hide anmore… what now? Are we to stay single from now on?
It’s a weird world…
KM Huber says
Loved, loved this episode!
Sandra LaMorgese addressed so many "ageism" issues, many of which people take for granted, as if everyone ages the same way! As LaMorgese said, "energy is key" as is learning to trust in our vulnerability, "build off of it." And I agree that when we are vulnerable it gives the green light to other people so we are "vulnerable together" as you said, August. Most of all, when we are "outside our comfort zone, extraordinary change happens " (LaMorgese). Absolutely! We stay curious.
Listening to Joanne Harcourt Smith is to feel "aliveness" as she called it. To me, this interview was one of those moments when the heart was "wide open…[receiving] the life force." As she said, it is the moments, like this very one, that make a life–brilliant, that. Like LaMargese, I liked her emphasis on "feeling rather than shutting down" (Harcourt-Smith). When Harcourt-Smith said there is "something fortunate in being totally broken-opportunity to pick up the pieces" tears came to many eyes, I am sure. There is such "poignancy and tenderness" in her words, in her work. What an interview, August!
Dr. Megan's answer regarding jealousy dovetails so nicely with what LaMargese and Harcourt-Smith were saying: "Don't put up walls to protect your heart; don't steal the joy to move forward." Brilliant, simply brilliant!
Thanks, August, et al!