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Joan Price

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Do you have an Advance Directive for Sexual Rights?

This important topic comes up so often when I speak or give interviews that I’m republishing this post from Oct. 2017. Please comment!

When do we lose the right to sexual expression? If we’re lucky enough to be active and independent now, we’re smart enough to realize that a time may come that we no longer can live on our own. What will you want for yourself? For your loved ones? How can you make sure that your wishes are respected?

Take some time to think about these ideas and questions:

  • When do we lose the right to sexual expression?
  • Does our right to sexual expression end if/when we can no longer live independently? If so, why?
  • Who determines whether we can still express ourselves sexually, and by what guidelines do they make that decision?
  • Do elders with dementia have the right to sexual expression? Who decides that, and on what basis?
  •  If staff members have a different personal belief about what’s appropriate sexual behavior (or non-behavior), do their values override our own?
  • If family members are uncomfortable with us having a sexual relationship, should their wishes supersede ours?
As uncomfortable as this might seem, I suggest you write down your personal policy about your right to sexual expression in your later years: an Advance Directive for Sexual Rights, let’s call it. Then  share it with your loved ones. Just because you might be unable to voice your wishes when the time comes doesn’t mean you no longer have those wishes.

 

Personally, I want the right to decide when and how I want to be touched sexually — whether by my own hand, a partner I’ve chosen, or a sex toy that they’d better not pry out of my arthritic hands — for the rest of my life. Don’t you?

If I end up living in a care facility, I imagine I won’t submit to rules easily, unless they are as progressive as the Hebrew Home at Riverdale (NY), which has had a sexual rights policy since 1995, and updates it periodically. Until other homes catch up, it’s up to us to make our wishes clear.

Have you written your Advance Directive for Sexual Rights? Here’s mine:

  • Make sure I have an outlet and batteries to keep my sex toys in working order.
  • Do not interfere with any warm connection I may be enjoying with any companion I choose, in any way I choose to express that connection.
  • If I’m involved with a sexual partner, make sure I have easy access to safer sex protection.
  • When I close the door—whether I’m alone or with another person—give me privacy.
  • If I’m still capable of sharing information about senior sexuality with residents and or staff, provide me with opportunities to do that.

What are yours?

[Excerpted from The Ultimate Guide to Sex after FiftyHow to Maintain – or Regain – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life  by Joan Price]

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