Saturday, March 26, 2016

Let's Talk Louder about Senior Sex

I've been writing and speaking about senior sex for 11 years now. Since 2005, I’ve made it my mission to advocate for and educate about older-age sexuality.

At first, my message was simply this: “Yes, we’re having sex after 60 and beyond, and it can be the best sex ever.”

Then, after many responses  and questions from my readers and the media, my message focused on this: “Yes, aging can bring changes that interfere with having good sex in the ways we used to, but for every problem, there is a solution, and here are the facts and tips that will help you enrich your sex life.”

Despite the growing acceptance of older-age sexuality these days, I still find that huge numbers of people who can use this information are not being reached. So many of you don’t know that there are solutions to the problems that aging brings. My email and workshop audiences and private conversations are filled with sentiments like these:

  • You don’t talk to your doctors about sexual problems that may have medical causes -- or if you do, your doctors don't have good sexual information either, and they're reluctant to talk about sexual issues. 

  • I hear from single people, "I don't have a partner, so I don’t have sex," not realizing how important solo sex is for sexual health, general physical health, and emotional well-being if you’re unpartnered.

  • I hear from partnered people, "We can't have sex the way we used to, so we've pretty much given up," not realizing that sexual expression does not have to mean intercourse or anything else that it used to be. 

  • Often you tell me that you've given up on sexual pleasure and sexual expression -- and this tears my heart. 

  • I implore you to talk out loud about your sexual issues, learn the facts about sex and aging (my books are good resources), and seek out professionals in your community who have made it their business to educate themselves about senior sex.

    If you're working in a sex education or health field, update yourself with the latest knowledge about sex and aging, and reach out to seniors who may not be seeking you out. Make sure that you welcome my age group and have resources for us.

    Readers: what resources would you like to see available or more easily available about older-age sexuality? Have you had experiences trying to locate resources and not finding them? I invite you to join the conversation. You can submit a comment under any first name (it doesn't have to be your real one), and please include your real age. (Email me with the subject header "blog comment" if you have trouble posting your comment, and I'll post it for you.)

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2016

    Seniors: How (and what) is your sex life?

    It occurs to me that after 11 years of talking out loud (shouting, insisting, cajoling, writing) about senior sex, the questions that interviewers ask me have become quite intelligent and open-minded.

    When I first started this work, interviewers would ask elementary questions (e.g. "Is it true that seniors are having sex?") and would often place a value judgement on what they heard (e.g. "Yeah, but eeuuww, the idea of my parents/grandparents having sex...!")

    But now, however young the interviewer is, there's an open attitude, a nonjudgmental striving to understand. It's not such an odd idea anymore that we aren't retiring our genitals at some arbitrary age. This is progress! Or am I just lucky enough to be interviewed by smarter, more sex-positive interviewers?

    One topic that interviewers find endlessly fascinating is that we're not settling into old age passively or predictably. Many of us decide that it's time to go after what we want, whether or not it's what we used to want or ever thought we'd want.

    I wrote about this in the "Stretching Boundaries" chapter of  The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, and many of you contributed your experiences in the "Off the Beaten Path: Nontraditional Sex Practices and Relationships" in Naked at Our Age. I'm often asked, "What percentage of seniors are into kink?" or "Are many seniors polyamorous?" or "Are most seniors happier with their sex lives than they were when they were young?" I sometimes answer, "I don't collect statistics -- I collect stories."

    Yes, some studies have been done, but more often than not, research and surveys either overlook our generation entirely or only study straight relationships and define sex as heterosexual intercourse, which is just one form of sexual expression. I don't think that our generation is being asked the right questions about what we do, what we want, and how we feel about it.

    So I'm opening this up to you: If you're over 50 (lots older is fine!) and you find that your ideas have changed about what you want your sex life to be, please feel free to comment with your views and especially how those views have changed in recent years. Please give yourself a first name (doesn't have to be real) instead of "Anonymous" and include your real age. (If you have any trouble posting a comment, email me with the subject line "blog comment: how and what" and include what you want to say, what name you want to use, and your age, and I'll post it for you.)

    I started this discussion on my Naked at Our Age Facebook page, which I hope you'll read, "like," and share. Thanks!

    Learn more about my most recent book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50. Order here for an autographed copy, purchase from your local independent bookstore, or order from Amazon.

    Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50