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.
At 68 I've never thought more about doing it, had more time to do it; or been more creative sexually. I looked at my erection as I got up this morning, my wife sleeping, and marveled. My cock is more my friend now than ever. So much of the shame is gone. Getting older for me means I worry less what others are thinking of me. (They aren't!) My favorite place to self pleasure is in the sunshine in my backyard. Even self love is better with age! I've had to make friends with an older body however. I've done the work here and it is paying off.
As I age (67) the men I enjoy being sexual with are in their 60's almost 80. My education as sexologist has taught me much about sexual expression and my clients (verbal therapy) and sex partner's appreciate the benefits. One extremely important lesson they all learn – men don't need to be erect to enjoy an orgasm. I have had men cry in my arms when they learn this first hand.
Thanks, Bob and Sam, for your candid and thoughtful responses. I love the way you see sex as not just what the penis can do, but more as giving and receiving pleasure and connection in all its sensual possibilities. If we could see aging as an opportunity to *expand* what sexual expression means, I think we'd all have more pleasure!
I find that the focus of what constitutes sex has changed considerably. There is less focus on PIV orgasm and more on pleasure and connection. It's fun exploring this new view and it can be more fulfilling even when a kiss or a touch becomes more special in and of itself rather than just being seen as a step toward toward penetration.
For me, my sexuality and sexual performance as evolved with maturity and age. Now at 67, I do find the physical ability to have and maintain an erection to be deminished. However my desire to have sex is as great as it ever has been. As long as some part of my body can perform, I will continue giving and receiving sexual pleasure. Bob Neutan.