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Tell me what I want to hear

May 11th, 2005

Dr Petra

Recently I had a call from a women’s magazine.

“We’re writing about life events. How everyone feels better when they hit 30”

Sounded like a nice, positive story.

What they wanted me to do was to say that all women’s sex lives dramatically improve once they pass the big three-o.

Whilst I think many women do feel differently about sex as they get older, and some find they either feel more confident, or perhaps worry less about certain sex issues than they did in the past, it doesn’t automatically mean ALL women suddenly undergo a sex-metamorphosis on the eve of their thirtieth.

I put this to the journalist.

They agreed that could be true, but were writing something ‘positive’ about sex being better after thirty.

I was clearly being negative, and splitting hairs.

I again explained that whilst some women do feel more confident, implying all women do was wrong. Many women never have much sexual confidence, or the opportunity to increase it, whatever their age. Women who’re excluded from sex education and information won’t just ‘get sexy’ because they’ve hit thirty.

I suggested we could perhaps tweak the angle slightly and use it as a great opportunity to talk about ways women could increase their sexual confidence in their thirties.

This wasn’t wanted.

‘Can’t you just find a way to say all women are more sexually confident after thirty?’

I said I could go as far as saying ‘some’ women but not ‘all’.

‘That’s not really what we’re looking for. You’re not really helping. Could you recommend someone who would support our feature?’

Perhaps I was being picky. Maybe I should have just said ‘yes, all women get more sexy in their thirties’ and kept everyone happy.

But it wouldn’t have been accurate, and I’d have been doing a disservice to all those women who don’t fit this category who already feel insecure.

I appreciate experts should be flexible, but when that’s not possible, are we being stuffy? Are we failing in our duty to provide information? Or are we making the right choice by sticking to our guns in the full knowledge that the journalist will definitely find someone who’ll say what we won’t?

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