Oh my God – Older People Have Sex?!


Editor’s Note: We just published, today, the first in a series of articles on sexuality and aging, How Are Your Orgasms, Mom?, co-produced by the National
Sexuality Resource Center and RH Reality Check. Check back in the coming weeks for more on seniors and sexuality.

In light of the attention our elders are getting about their sex lives and sexual health on RH Reality Check, we thought it would be interesting to point out this article in the New York Times last week:

Yes, We Do. Even At Our Age. 

We talk about cultural competency as it relates to all sorts of marginalized groups of people when it comes to health care provision: LGBTQIs; those for whom English is not their primary language; low-income individuals. But what about seniors?

As the article points out, when the author visits her doctor and is asked, "Are you and your husband still sexually active?”, she’s a bit annoyed that the implication inherent in that question is that she and her husband could not possibly be sexually active at their ages. The author writes,

Sex at our age is something we’re evidently more comfortable joking
about than talking about honestly. But that doesn’t mean it’s not
happening, despite our declining energy, joints and memory.

But the truth is, seniors have been often ignored in this culture when it comes to sex, sexual health and sexuality. We obviously have our own cultural discomfort with the idea of our elders having sex – let alone great sex. But it’s happening – and as Americans live longer shouldn’t we live longer enjoying ourselves as sexual beings?

If sex is happening – either between a married couple or between single people – there still needs to be attention paid to caring for ones’ sexual health. These issues and more will be explored each week, for the next six weeks, on RH Reality Check in partnership with the National Sexuality Resource Center so check back, forward onto your friends, aunts, uncles, parents or grandparents and let us know what you think! 

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • crowepps

    Nursing homes tend to assume that elderly residents no longer have an interest in sex, even when the couple is married, and also show a lot of hostility and condemnation over the idea that elderly people masturbate. While people who are cognitively impaired do need protection from being taken advantage of, it would be helpful if staff could get over the idea that sex is immoral or ‘icky’ when you’re wrinkled.

    http://www.livescience.com/culture/081118-nursing-home.html

  • invalid-0

    I am 81 years young and I still Masturbate, also still am trying to keep it up long enough to enjoy penile vaginal sex, but now in that department intercourse is mostly a come too soon,Too soft,penile failure. I could use my other eleven penises, eight fingers two thumbs,and one oral penis,my tongue. Being as the vagina is quite delicate fingers are not the cat’s meow in pleasuring a woman’s vagina. So you guessed it,and that only leaves my tongue. But then oral sex is up close and personal,and the greatest way to say to any woman, “I Love You”. Someone should do a book just on us Old Folks, then those young folks would get the message that sex is the spice of life at any ages.

  • invalid-0

    I am 81 years young and I still Masturbate, also still am trying to keep it up long enough to enjoy penile vaginal sex, but now in that department intercourse is mostly a come too soon,Too soft,penile failure. I could use my other eleven penises, eight fingers two thumbs,and one oral penis,my tongue. Being as the vagina is quite delicate fingers are not the cat’s meow in pleasuring a woman’s vagina. So you guessed it,and that only leaves my tongue. But then oral sex is up close and personal,and the greatest way to say to any woman, “I Love You”. Someone should do a book just on us Old Folks, then those young folks would get the message that sex is the spice of life at any ages.

  • misledyouth

    That’s good anon, but you should keep it in moderation. Excessive male masturbation may have meager physical side effects, but the psychological repercussions are very serious.

  • invalid-0

    Misledyouth, addiction is psychologically harmful. Excessive masturbation, to the exclusion of other good things in life, may be a symptom of that. But I could very well masturbate ten times a day, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be an addiction, or harmful—I might just be feeling very horny. It all depends on what’s going on mentally and emotionally.

  • crowepps

    Now this is really fascinating — a web site that explains that there is absolutely NO scientific or medical evidence of harm but that lack of evidence isn’t proof that there isn’t some lurking there anyway — just in case there is, it’s best to assume masturbation will completely ruin the person’s life and they should stop or keep it to a minimum because — because — apparently because anything that feels that good has just got to be bad for you.  And of course there’s no definition at all of what ‘excessive’ means so that even a person who only masturbates once a year can wallow in guilty anxiety that they’re exceeding ‘normal’.

     

    The deep down in the bone Puritan prudery and prissiness that underlies so much of American ‘moral’ thought is just boggling.  Particularly since this post is in response to that of an 81-year old man.  Is his masturbation going to interfer with his schooling?  Work?  Ability to get/stay married and have children?  At 81, the man is entitled to enjoy a harmless pleasure that’s good for his health.