We hear it all the time. Passion fades with age. Marriage is the death knell of passion. Old married couples always get stuck in sexless ruts. Old people lose interest in sex.
These stereotypes are not only completely overstated, but they can actually be dangerous to the self-concepts of our aging population. Unfortunately, talking openly about sex in the United States is still fairly frowned upon and discussing sex among seniors is particularly taboo. Apparently no one wants to talk about grandma and grandpa being frisky, happy sexual beings. Fortunately as Baby Boomers become the largest part of our population, the topic is becoming more accepted — but the discussion is largely clinical and disparaging (i.e., erectile dysfunction, decrease in hormones, etc.). And, that’s too bad.
Especially considering the fact that, according to research from The University of Manchester and NatCen Social Research¹, “Older people are continuing to enjoy active sex lives well into their seventies and eighties.” And, the American Association of Retired Persons², the nation’s leading organization for people age fifty and older, maintains “Despite the changes that aging invariably brings, couples open to erotic alternatives will discover that they can still attain sexual satisfaction together.”
Older people are continuing to enjoy active sex lives well into their seventies and eighties.
Medical science has long since proven that maintaining healthy sex lives is a great way to maintain physical and emotional health. Although our aging bodies may present new challenges to sexuality, when we use our God-given wit and wisdom we can come up with some pretty ingenious ways to make sex really good … sometimes even greater than the awkward fumblings of our youth. The key is keeping in tune with your body’s changing needs and experimenting with inventive ways to circumvent any challenges. Of course, as with any healthy sexual relationship, maintaining honest, open communication is crucial.
Though my spice and I aren’t seniors yet, we’ve been married for nearly twenty-five years and live with the challenge of my chronic arthritis. Throughout our marriage, we’ve truly discovered what it means to “become one flesh” in it’s deepest meaning. In our experience, as couples learn more and more about each other’s bodies and what makes them tick, making love becomes even more and more intimate — something we hardly thought possible ten years ago. We are looking forward to continuing our “frisky business” for decades to come. And, I hope you are too!
¹ “Love and intimacy in later life: study reveals active sex lives of over-70s” University of Manchester
² “Great Sex Without Intercourse” by Michael Castleman, AARP