Grace and Frankie and the sex lives of Older Women
I just finished watching the second season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. While the season started out a bit rocky for me, it definitely ended with a bang - quite literally!
If you haven't watched the season, you might want to stop reading here, go watch it and come back because there are going to be some spoilers.
One of the things that I found surprising, and lovely, about both seasons of the show was the way they treated the sexuality of seniors. All four of them main characters in the show are in their 70's but all of them are treated as sexual beings.
Even Grace, whom we can assume has had a mostly sexless marriage for many years, starts to open up to the fact that she is still a sexual person and she does have desires and interests. In season one, she starts up a relationship with an old friend and quickly realizes that he is going to want to have sex -and she does too. While some of the scenes are played for laughs, the show approaches the topic with sensitivity. They talk about Grace's insecurity about showing her 70 year old body to a new partner and about the physical issues that make sex in your 70's a bit different than sex in your 20's. Grace would like to have sex in the dark but her partner's night vision is poor. Grace has arthritis which makes some things difficult. And Frankie gives Grace a lesson about using lube to compensate for hormone changes that happen after menopause. It's all very funny but not in a way that makes them the joke because they are old. We are laughing with them.
It is unusual in the first place to see a tv show that features older women as fully-formed main characters, not just someone's grandmother or sassy old senile neighbor. It is even more unusual to see them talking openly about their sex lives.
In the second last episode of the second season, Grace's friend gives her a vibrator. She has never used one and she is quite mortified about it. But she is also intrigued and wants to use it. Frankie again gives her some tips. In the next episode, we find out that she has used it but, although she enjoyed it, she has caused herself some injury trying to hold onto it at the right angle with her arthritic wrist. At the end of the episode Grace and Frankie decide they are going to go into business together making seniors friendly vibrators.
The last scene is incredibly satisfying, not just because they are talking about vibrators and masturbation, but because they have decided to do something for themselves - that they can create their own purpose and meaning in their lives, they don't need to rely on their family and friends to create it for them. They finally tell their husbands that they have been deeply selfish and hurtful in their behavior towards them and that is just not okay.
I haven't heard yet if there will be a season 3 of Grace and Frankie. Now that they've decided to start a business together, I certainly hope so. Grace is an accomplished business woman who could easily handle this challenge and Frankie is a creative spirit who's not afraid to talk to people about sex. They would make a great team in a business like this and the clashes they experience would be fun to watch.