I remember both my grandmother and my great grandmother when they were well into their gray hair and grandbaby years. They were both vibrant crones with strong opinions and even stronger wills. They also shared a wicked sense of humor. I remember being told more than once that, “There’s nothing wrong with getting old. In fact, you should look forward to it. When you are old, people no longer look at you as crazy. You become eccentric, and since you are old, your behavior must be forgiven.” They fully took advantage of their old age eccentricity.
Funny. My grandmother was younger than I am now when she got away with her crazy days.
They also shared an opinion of men and sex after the deaths of their husbands. While my grandfather was loved and my great grandfather at least tolerated, both women decided they were done with men after they found themselves alone again. They referred to suitors as nasty old men who just wanted a free meal and to get between the sheets. To the best of my knowledge, and I was close to both women, they no longer needed or wanted the companionship of a man. They had made a thoughtful decision that sex was no longer an important part of their lives. They had entered their crone years and intended to live them out as content crones free to be who they wanted to be.
Considering the eras they grew up in, I admire them for their decisions. They were raised to submit to their men and to be dependent upon them, even when we all knew they were stronger and wiser than any ten men put together. Together they were the rock that held our family together.
Now, I keep reading about how crones should not consider themselves asexual beings. Instead, they should explore their sexuality. That is fine. If that is what older women want, they should have it, but I think equal attention should be paid to the women who have, as many would consider it, served their time as wife and mother and are relieved to put that part of their lives behind them.
As we age, our priorities change. I know some women who dearly look forward to old age when they can give up the ghost of what may be a long dead desire to ever copulate again. They do not want their lack of desire to be treated as a disease. They see it as a rite of passage, and so they should. They may have already been accused by the men in their life of being frigid or not liking sex, or worse, submitted just because it was a duty for so long that they may not even remember or care to remember enjoying sex. Do the experts need to put more pressure on them in their later years to go through the stress of social pressures to reenter the sexual revolution when they no longer care about the outcome?
We need to remember that a woman’s worth, no matter the age, is not measured by her sexual desire but by the love she has to give, the smiles she shares, and the wisdom doled out in careful and, hopefully, appreciated increments. Those wrinkles are worth more gold than we have the means to give them. We need to support their decisions and nurture their love as long as we have them with us.
I know I miss the crones who raised me as much today as when I lost them. And you know what? It had absolutely nothing to do with sex. Kind of like many good things in life.