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Hepl project

Beyond the ordinary perception

Irina Avdeeva, 48 y.o.,
psycho-sexual counsellor
Since childhood, we have been taught about life. But there comes a time when we begin to "see" who is actually teaching us about life. We take a closer look at those who give us advice. And it turns out that they are trying to give us the programme of their own life. But the scenery was changed long ago and the programme became different. And the programme that our parents used to live by is no longer effective.

We currently have to live according to the principle: I can't do it the way I used to, I don't know how to do it the other way! Yes! We search for the meaning of life on our own, we try, we make mistakes, we try again. You don't have to search, of course. Not choosing is also a choice. But if you don't choose, someone else will make that choice for you.

Irina's account is abuzz with questions of sexual and other kinds and it's not just because of her attractive looks. The fact is that Irina is a sex therapist. Her consultation is subtle depth with aesthetic overtones.

It is not that easy, and sometimes even embarrassing, to discuss such issues. But we will try!
— Why is the subject of sex so embarrassing and off-limits for people in the former Soviet Union?

— I'd like to say that the impact of the phrase "there is no sex"* is still felt today. The "kids" (over 40) of that generation, when it was forbidden to talk about sex, often come to me for counselling. Yes, yes, don't be surprised! Sometimes young women ask me: How can I have sex with a man without love? This shows that sexual culture is not yet at a level where it is possible to treat sex as a basic need of a healthy person.

Sex is still considered to be something dishonourable. The sexual revolution of the 1990s divided several generations into two poles — the disapproving and those who gave themselves over to the discovery of pleasure. And the films Nine ½ Weeks, Emmanuelle, and many others, encouraged the development of sexual taste. We savoured sexual moments and created beautiful stories in reality, like "Lonely on the Net". However, sexual awareness is still at a very low level.

*"There is no sex in the USSR, but there is love," a phrase uttered by Soviet woman Lyudmila Ivanova in 1986 during a Leningrad-Boston teleconference called "Women Talk to Women".

— So why do so many people stop having a sex life after 50?

— I will probably surprise you, but some women actually get an awakening by the time they are 50. There is a story of a woman who had her first orgasm after menopause. Or a woman who lived until 50 with her only husband, and after being widowed (or divorced), started dating a young lover and experienced what she never felt in her life. But it is true that menopause has a very serious impact on libido and can destroy sexual desire altogether.

— Oh, that scary word 'menopause'. How can a woman manage to face it with dignity?

— This will happen when you pay attention to yourself and your health. There is a useful set of tests called "female hormone profile". It is advisable to take these tests periodically after the age of 40. The results show the condition of your body. And of course consult an endocrinologist and gynaecologist, who will help you extend your life without menopausal manifestations. And, of course, the basic values of life: nutrition, physical activity, the joy of even simple things.
— You may have noticed that there are more and more so-called "child-free" people in Russia. What is the reason for this? Is it a shame for a woman to be childless?

 — It still astonishes me, but when I ask women, even those young enough, why they decided to have a second child on the condition that they were already having a tough life. They answer me: "I didn't think about it, I just knew I had to have two (three) children". So now, young people ask themselves first of all: do I want a child?

  And why did it become so necessary to ask themselves? It is because many of them had to deal with bringing up younger siblings, which is still common today.

 — Because it often happens that parents themselves step into the position of children and give the adult role of parents to their children. Their reasoning is: We gave birth to you so that when we are old, you will serve us with a glass of water. These aspects erase the personality in the person, pushing them into therapy in search of themselves and the meaning of life: What was I born for?! People who have come into contact with therapy approach the birth of their children more consciously. And of course, many women now talk openly about the challenges of motherhood, which also has a huge impact. It used to be embarrassing to admit that it was difficult. And now it's sometimes embarrassing. But many women have learnt the beauty of independence and are enjoying their single status. No, there is no shame in not having a child. It is wrong to have a child because you HAVE to. In such a family, everyone would be unhappy.

— Sometimes younger males prefer older females and older ladies like younger males. What does this have to do with? And where is the age line?

... This is the moment when you are already aged in body, but inside you are young and passionate. And if you are hot by temperament, you can also rock with a young, temperamental lover.
We have innately different temperaments and a different pattern of our sexual preferences. And often these preferences are not limited to the standard approach to sexuality. Sometimes we are just afraid to admit to ourselves that we dream, for example, of having sex with a stranger.

There are several significant aspects of why older ladies are attracted to younger males. There is a stereotype of men being quite easy to seduce women, but as my practice as a therapist has shown, this is not the case.

Well, if a mature woman wants some young guy, she does it so much confidently that it exalts the man and excites him. A mature woman can "devour" with her eyes (these are men's words!), young women are not able to do that. And why does a woman want to go out with young lovers? There's a simple thing. In our country it is rare to meet the well-groomed, healthy man, without a beer belly after 50. So, why not rock out with a nice young man?
There is no boundary limited by age. It only exists in our heads.
What do you think women in our country after 50 lack?

Our women lack a sense of loyalty, tolerance and support from society. Ruthless evaluations of appearance: grey hair, no make-up, heavy jowls, wrinkled, fat, self neglected. Everyone knows that there are different types of ageing and not everyone wants surgery or Botox, eyelashes and lips augmentation. There are people who want to get older naturally. And they have every right to do so. But society is cruel. And on social media, I very rarely see any heckling from men in relation to women. Mostly women are stigmatised by other women for ageing naturally. Give women the choice to be who they want to be.

How did you accept your own age?

It was hard. You look in the mirror, and you see yourself getting changed, your face literally running away from you somewhere down the line. At first, you frantically start looking for a way out — threads or a face-lift all at once. You watch all your friends getting threads, but something stops you. I don't want the threads. And you just know that thread is not an option for you.

Sometimes I get my face up and remember how beautiful my face used to be. I sigh and go on with my life. Someday I'll get a circular surgery (not now).

You notice how your body changes completely. Your beautiful knees, which used to drive men crazy, suddenly become plump and wrinkled. Your arms, legs, face, stomach — at some point you become a completely different woman for your age. And it's hard to get used to at first. But then a switch happens, and you start living in a new context, considering everything that happens to you, accepting it with care.
Irina, it has been really enjoyable to reflect on delicate subjects with you! What advice do you have for our followers?

— Every person has an inner child, an inner adult, a critical parent, and a caring parent.

Thus, people who do not know how to deal with their inner child tend to turn into boring old adults, which they can become even at the age of 25. And there are people who are as easygoing as children, even at 80!

Learn to get in touch with your inner child, and you will stay young for a very long time!
Savour every day of your life at any age. Enjoy it, love your body, listen to your desires. Free yourself from complexes, fears, and dance through this life!
The images of the charming Irina were created by:

Producer — Ksenia Leus
Photo — Ksenia
Make-up — Anastasia Zotova
Style — Daria Tereshchenko

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