You and Your Boomer/ Senior Parent: Talking about Safer Sex
- Have you talked to your parent about safer sex?
- If so, how did that conversation go?
- If not, was it because you didn’t dare, didn’t want to, or didn’t have the words?
First, a little background. I was interviewed extensively in “Seniors have sex – and the STI rates to prove it” by Arti Patel for Global News. This article addressed the rising rates of STIs among seniors in Canada, the reasons behind the rise, and what we can do about it. Patel wrote,
Joan Price, sex advocate and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, says the reason why the community has high STI rates is simple: they’re not using condoms.
After this article came out, Kelly Cutrara interviewed me about this topic on Talk Radio AM 640 in Toronto. (I apologize for the call quality — the interview request was too fast to get to my landline.) She asked me how the younger generation can talk to their single parents about safer sex. How do they get beyond the embarrassment? What words can they use? What if their good intentions backfire?
I suggested that this approach might begin the conversation:
“I know it’s incredibly awkward to talk about sex with my parent, but Mom [Dad], we need to do this. What do you know about safer sex? Are you using condoms?”
[Parent:] “What? Why are we having this conversation?”
“Because no one else will, and I care about you. I know that STI rates are rising among your age group. I want to make sure you’re protected.”
If you have been at either end — Boomer/senior parent or adult child — of a similar conversation, what did you say? What was the outcome? Or if you have another idea about how this discussion should go, we’d all like to know your thoughts.
Please share by posting a comment here, and include your age. (If you have trouble posting, email me with your comment and the name you’d like to use — it doesn’t have to be yours — and your age, and I’ll post it for you.) Let’s get this discussion going.
This is an important subject for those of us with parents who have re-entered the dating world late in life. Three things occur to me: (1) Along with condoms the discussion also should include dams, as they are not as well known to many people, but are also an important safety barrier to the transmission of STIs; (2) When talking to a parent we might offer to purchase the condoms/dams for them, since some may be embarrassed to be seen buying them (but better yet, we could give them the URLs for places like Good Vibrations and Lucky Bloke and they could make the purchase themselves discreetly on-line); (3) If my family of orientation is any guide, it may prove easier/better for daughters to have these conversations with mothers, and sons with fathers, when the possibility for such gender pairing exists.