Wrinkles and Sagging Flesh: Exploring Transformations in Women's Sexual Body Image

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In American society, the sexually desirable woman is young and thin. Changes associated with aging such as wrinkled skin or weight gain often bring women further from societal ideals of attractiveness. As physical appearance is very much related to desirability, we explore sexual body image and the way that it changes as women age. Based on in-depth interviews with 95 women aged 20-68, we find women's sexuality and feelings of desirability are influenced by physical appearance, media, as well as significant others and family. We also note that sexual body image is more often negative than positive for women of all ages and that women struggle to accept changes in their bodies as a result of the aging process and life experiences; however, women in their 50s and 60s are most likely to accept their bodies and not feel influenced by social pressures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-23
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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