Season 3 of the streaming comedy revolves around two septuagenarians attempting to start a sex toy company for fellow ladies over 60. The show never treats this fact like a joke, since it’s not actually funny. Older women supporting other older women and their sexual pleasure is awesome and important — not a punchline.
In episode “The Focus Group,” we see Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) whip out a few of their senior-friendly vibrators for the first time. “Oh my God, it’s beautiful,” Grace gushes, as Frankie adds with reverence, “It’s so light. It’s like I’m holding a cloud.”
The women go into the specifics of why the toy is a win for women their age, like its soft-grip gel sleeve, the glow in the dark control buttons, and the easy-angle tip. As a twenty-something with good eyesight, these are all things I’ve never even considered when it comes to vibrators, but now realise how important they’ll be when I’m pushing 80.
After nearly creating an altar to their Ménage à Moi vibrator and testing it out themselves to wonderful results, Grace and Frankie decide to set up the titular focus group to crowdsource any updates the toy needs. Unfortunately, the women who come over end up being part of a deeply religious prayer group. The ladies are shocked over the idea of masturbating with a vibrator and sharing the results…and yet one of the Ménages goes missing as the women leave in a huff.
Grace’s close friend comes back the next day to reveal she’s the one who took the vibrator, despite pretending to hate the idea. “It awakened something in me that I thought was long dead,” she raves with a new sparkle in her eyes and not a bit of arthritic wrist pain. “I never even realised how much I missed it. Oh, how I missed it.”
The older woman is such a vibrator convert, she returned to Grace and Frankie’s home just to pick up more Ménages for her conservative pals who’ve come around to the idea.
Older female sexuality is usually completely ignored in pop culture or relegated to the predatory Mrs. Robinson trope. But by adding sex toys to the mix in Grace & Frankie, the show’s reminding us the desire for a good orgasm is alive and well your entire adult life, and you do not need an awkward Dustin Hoffman stand-in to get one.