Tuesday, 18 August 2015

In Her Prime: Kathryn Tafra Discusses Women Discussing Sex.

By Kathryn Tafra

In anticipation of the upcoming MWF session In Their Prime: Sex after 60, I have been thinking a lot about sex. Oh, who am I kidding? I think a lot about sex anyway. It is one of our societys last taboos, yet it is in our faces all the time. It absolutely fascinates me.

I am in my thirties; I have a daughter who is six. Combine us with Renata Singer and Rose Stone, the women who will be in conversation for In Their Prime, and you have four generations of women who are living, and will live, wildly different experiences - particularly in regards to sexuality.

My mother and grandmother, whose ages roughly align with those of Singer and Stone, don't tend to speak openly about sex. When it *ahem* comes up, they rely on euphemism and humour to hide their embarrassment. Many women of my generation have grown up able to speak more easily about sex and sexuality. Growing up as part of a Catholic family in a small town, I was not one of those women. I wasnt allowed to go to the sex education classes at school, and was raised in a firmly Pro-Life environment. I was extremely repressed - any discussion around sex made me enormously uncomfortable, I was racked with guilt about any desires I felt, and I had absolutely no way of communicating my inner conflict. It was only after plenty of sexual experience with my (now ex) husband, and after having my daughter, that I consciously examined my attitudes towards sex and sexuality. I was surprised to realise that I would be happier if I changed them. I educated myself, ditched my negativity, and became a feminist. I stopped feeling bad about wanting pleasure, and learned to allow my mind to listen to my body without judgement.

Becoming aware of, and embracing, my sexuality has made me hyper-aware of the way our culture presents sex. Its everywhere. I saw an advertisement recently that had two women dressed in bondage gear promoting a tyre company. Sexualised imagery is used to sell everything from lingerie to phone plans - when you take a moment to think about that, its quite bizarre. It is fantastic that sexualities previously considered deviantor otherare becoming widely accepted. It is unfortunate that we are still being force-fed highly unrealistic images of what sex is, or should be. And it is still difficult to have a frank, open conversation about sex with most people.

I intend to raise my daughter with a sex-positive attitude. I dont want her to be ashamed of her body or what feels good. I want her to have the language to express her desires and concerns - not necessarily to me, but definitely to any future partners. I hope for her generation that real, honest conversations about sex and sexuality are commonplace and easy. And I am very excited to learn more about the lived experience of older generations at MWF this year.


  1. Great article, Kathryn. It's true, we have to think of our legacy to our daughters.

  2. As far as sexuality is concerned, the Catholic Church has a lot to answer for!

  3. Great read Kathryn and certainly sets the scene for further learning and insight from the MWF session In their Prime


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