On the hit TV show “Grace and Frankie” Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are two post-menopausal women who have recently become single, and while negotiating their new lives as single women, the topics of sex and sexuality often arise. In a recent article about the show, Lily Tomlin was asked how she would like to see women’s sexuality represented on television. Her answer was simple: “Just people taking it as a matter of course. It should be expected. It shouldn’t be threatening or fearful.”
I was surprised and thrilled she mentioned the idea of fear. So much of our discourse on sex and sexuality is related to fear. “Fear of Sexually transmitted diseases, Fear of pregnancy, Fear of not being good enough, Fear of not having an orgasm, Fear of not being sexy enough, etc. “ Where does this fear come from? The answers to that question are endless. Society, religion, bad body image, misinformation, and of course the culture of fear that pervades so much of our society. While it is impossible to totally eliminate fear from your life, why attach it to sex and sexuality? It you feel uncomfortable when thoughts about sex and sexuality arise, try and take a moment to think about why. Why are these feelings producing fear or shame in you? Talking or writing about these feelings can be very helpful. However, if even the thought of “thinking about sex” produces fear or shame, watch a few episodes of Grace and Frankie and hopefully instead of fear you will be able to laugh and think about women and sexuality in a new and fearless way.