Oh, dear. I’m reading reviews of Play the Game, which I reviewed here. I didn’t like the movie, but it certainly isn’t shocking, amazing, or icky that it portrays elders having sex, wanting to have sex, and enjoying the experience. Yet in the reviews that are popping up in blogs and mainstream media now, the reviewers (guess their ages!) can’t believe they’re watching Andy Griffith receive oral sex, for example. At what age do they want their genitals to go forever off limits, I wonder.
Even more shocking, says a press release from both Play the Game and Eons.com, is a recent survey conducted by eons.com of 3,500 people age 50+, which revealed that “Among those in relationships, 55% of seniors over 70 have oral sex at least once in a while.”
Well, sure! The number is probably low because of bad backs, necks, and knees that require creative solutions for minimizing discomfort, especially for the extended lovemaking that we enjoy. Or maybe many of the other 45% weren’t telling the truth.
The release continued,
A surprising 35% of surveyed seniors age 70+ reported they have oral sex “often” or “very often.” Even more shockingly, the survey found that 71% of the over-50 crowd still masturbate, either by themselves or with a partner.
Do I laugh or cry? What’s “surprising” or “shocking” about that survey, except that the numbers aren’t higher?
But I get it. The release is designed to pull attention to the movie and the survey, and it’s accomplishing both by playing on the “ick factor,” as I call it. A clever promotion — though I don’t like it.
Can’t we just stop being cagey, shocked, or giggly and just talk about senior sex in a candid and respectful way?
Elders dancing — nothing unusual about that… unless they’re in a senior hip-hop team performing for the New Jersey Nets’ basketball fans! In Gotta Dance, 12 women and one man, age 60 to 83, make it through auditions and train like crazy to memorize and execute hip-hop moves from coaches the age of their granddaughters. (In fact, some of them are their granddaughters.)
They work, they learn, they laugh, and then they dance with their hearts, bodies, souls, and soles — their ages worn proudly as the numbers on their jerseys. View the trailer here.
Of course, since this blog is about sex and aging, I had to ask the NetSational Seniors how their hip-hop habit affects their sex lives. They were a bit coy, willing to tell me just this much:
Audrey, age 60, who used to lie about her age: “It releases tension.”
Claire, age 63, who competes in ballroom dancing with a 27-year-old dance partner: “Dancing is a physical, sensual experience. Dancing does something for my ego. I love when I leave the dance floor and young guys say, ‘you still got it girl.’”
Deanna, age 65: “The problem is right now there is no time for sex. Want to know why? Cause all we do is dance. We practice, then perform, then practice some more to get our routines to where they need to be.”
A dancer who goes by “Anonymous”: “I think dancing hip hop makes me feel freer with my body and makes me feel sexier. I think that transfers to my relationship with my partner. When you are freer with your body it is therefore easier to express your sexuality.”
When I pressed for more details, the dancers declined through their publicist. Probably they were too busy dancing to check out this blog and they suspected I had a perverse — even perverted — interest in their sex lives. No, I just know how dancing does enhance sexuality, like “Anonymous” said, and Robert and I certainly discovered.
You may not be in the shape or mood to dance hip hop, but I hope I can convince those of you who don’t know the joy of dancing to jump up and try it. Whatever dance style appeals to you, give it a try.
My contemporary line dancers range in age from 9 to 80+, and everyone has a great time. We all have our physical issues (most of us of a certain age wear ankle braces or knee braces, some have had hip or knee replacements, heart attacks, strokes, and all those maladies that befall our age group eventually). I dance with a permanently damaged ankle, and right now I’m babying my back, which is threatening to spasm over the number of body rolls I did teaching my classes Sunday and Monday.
So sometimes we modify the moves when we need to, or take a break (grrrr), and then we come back to class and share the exhilaration of moving joyfully in our bodies.