sex

How to stay sexy forever, according to a 74-year-old stripper.

I love wearing crop tops in summer. I love brushing my hair while making eye contact with myself in the mirror, lengthening my neck to the side as I pull the brush slowly downward. I love how it makes me feel - sexy, sensual and vibrant.

But sometimes, I catch myself wondering whether I’ll have to let these things go one day. Will I still want to move slowly in the mirror, or rush it and look away? Oh god, will I start shopping at Noni B?

Like there’s this future version of me who is older, yes, but also an entirely different person who has, for some unknown reason, completely changed her whole personality.

With advertising, IG filters and anti-ageing, you’d be forgiven for thinking society is telling us we can’t be sexy unless we’re wrinkle-free.

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And for people who identify as women, there’s often a sense of dread associated with the inevitability of getting old.

Beauty standards are inextricably linked to youth. We know that. It’s not a hot take in 2022. (Age is just one excluder of beauty in aesthetic norms - things like race, gender, size, ability and the way they intersect frequently omits people from conventional ideas of sexiness - but today we’re focussing on age.)

So if we’re collectively conscious of the bulls**t way that beauty standards favour the young, then why is the sexuality of older people still so taboo? Why is there this idea in my mind that I, a sexual being, will suddenly lose all that I am when I’m a granny?

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According to 74-year-old Sydney-based stripper Elizabeth Burton, whether or not you lose touch with your sexuality is on you.

"That’s your choice. I’m going to be sexy 'til the day I die. Your libido goes up and down. Sometimes you’re horny and sometimes you aren’t. But it’s up to you to enjoy your own sexuality."

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Elizabeth has been stripping for over 50 years - she was reportedly Australia’s highest-paid stripper in the '70s. Having come off the back of her latest show Goddess earlier this year, which sold out eight times, she’s sexier than ever, wrinkles and all.

So how can we, like Elizabeth, learn to hold on to our feelings of sexiness throughout the ageing process? Elizabeth says it’s as simple as living by her life philosophy that she calls The Four Ms.                

The first M is Mastication.

"That’s chewing your food properly. That’s what you were given your teeth for. If you see what people do, they go chomp chomp swallow. They do not chew their food."

The next M, is of course, Masturbation.

"Relieving your tension. Your body is your own body. You are allowed to touch your own body." Elizabeth is wary of the way that self-pleasure is portrayed as filthy or taboo.

"When I was a little girl, my mother caught me touching myself and she said, 'Ooh, you rude and dirty girl! God will punish you!' And I waited until she left the room and I said 'I don’t care, God. This feels too good.'"

The next M is Meditation.

"That’s getting in touch with your positive and negative, and the inner being that you are, that a lot of people do not want to talk about."

Most people, Elizabeth says - consciously or subconsciously - don’t want to know who they are. They’re afraid to embrace the negative self-awareness that may come with the positive.

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"You need to love and respect who you really are, and know that you’re a good person as well as a bad person. We’ve all got that evil b*tch in us as well as that goddess."

The final M is Mobility.

"You’ve gotta keep moving. If you don’t move it, you lose it. Whether it’s walking, or dancing, or playing a sport - whatever it is that makes you happy, keep that body moving."

Embracing The Four Ms may be the secret to Elizabeth’s never-ending sensuality, but they do come with one warning:

"It’s very hard to do all of them at once."

Image: Supplied.

So in a world where ageing is a dirty word (and not the sexy kinda dirty), may we find the courage to rub our future saggy, g-string clad butts all over aesthetic expectation.

May we always move slowly in the mirror, embrace pleasure and find sensuality in the small things. May we go ask our grannies if they’ve heard of The 4 Ms.

May we stay sexy 'til we die.

If you’d like to hear more from Elizabeth, like how she accidentally smuggled heroin into the US and got kicked out of Vietnam during the war over concerns she’d start a race riot, you can listen to Erica’s podcast Wait, You What? Or find her at  @missmodestypod. Contact Erica on Instagram @erica_mallett.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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