13 June, 2008

The power of a woman's sexuality

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.” Nobody can sum up a woman’s allure like Raymond Chandler can, and, boy, do we all know what he is talking about. Womanliness - that which has caused kingdoms to change hands, tragedies to unfold and fortunes to be won and lost - is a potent force. From Cleopatra to Princess Diana, Helen of Troy to the Duchess of Windsor, many have cast a spell over their societies and changed the course of history simply by being aware of the hypnotic power of woman.

A woman who knows her power has in her hands the key to her own happiness and success. All of us find out that we have it at different points in our lives. I will never forget the knockout moment when I realised I could get the broodingly handsome boy I was crazy about off his motorbike and up the stairs to my bedroom simply by walking towards him. The potency of being female ran amok through my late teens and early twenties, and then, regrettably for me, slumped into a coma while I brought up my children. But I like to think it’s still there somewhere, and there are days when the dress works, the hair swings and a builder wolf-whistles from nearby scaffolding. Call me unemancipated, but I love it. It is no accident that many women, post divorce, hire a personal trainer, have a haircut and suddenly access their hitherto suppressed sexuality. We are physical beings, though it is sometimes hard to remember this as we rush through life, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the fact. And enjoying men enjoying it. Think of Brigitte Bardot dancing barefoot on the table in And God Created Woman.

Modern life makes little time for women to experience a goddess-like flowering. True, that moment of flowering can happen too early in life, but there is no such thing as it being too late for a woman to come into her own.

A month ago, my mother, 67, got married. At the end of the service, the vicar said to the new husband, “You may kiss the bride.” I couldn’t look - it was my mother, after all - but the congregation held their collective breath and watched the swooning smooch between my children’s granny and her beloved. Read more >>

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