Unscripted: Exploring representations of older unpartnered women’s sexuality

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Images of sexually active women beyond the age of 50 are lacking in popular culture and in particular on television. Dominant sexual scripts depict older women as generally asexual. The television program Hot in Cleveland features unpartnered midlife and older women as main characters. In this article, based on analysis of four seasons of Hot in Cleveland, we look closely at portrayals of sexual activity to see whether they underscore dominant sexual scripts mocking older women’s sexual interest, position aging as sexual decline, or reinforce the narrative of “successful” aging/aging as progress. We find that women are depicted as desirable and desiring, counter to the narrative of aging as sexual decline. Hot in Cleveland thus provides sexual scripts for older women and reinforces the idea of lifelong sexual desire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-144
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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