Changing the scripts: Midlife women's sexuality in contemporary U.S. film

Rose Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This article examines the portrayal of midlife women's sexuality in 13 recent U.S. narrative films. Content analysis of these films suggests that film portrayals of midlife women's sexuality are relatively muted, with the most positive portrayals found in the broadest comedies. In addition, midlife women's bodies are more often displayed as objects of humor than as objects of desire, the "female gaze" at the male body is shown only humorously, and midlife women's sexuality is primarily validated for slim, white, middle-class women in committed romantic relationships with "age-appropriate" partners. Nevertheless, these films suggest that midlife women should have sexual desires, should act on those desires, should experience sexual pleasure, and should not sacrifice their sexual needs for a man's approval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Aging
  • Film
  • Midlife
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies


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