”It seems older people are a lot friskier than some younger people may have thought.”
If you can resist the perfectly understandable urge to smack the reporter who wrote that sentence, findings from a recent survey support the notion, believe it or not, that old people indulge in sex with one another well into their ninth decade and perhaps beyond.
First, however, here is a video from Jimmy Kimmel, the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! TV show, who did some man-in-the-street interviews with a whole bunch of elders about some similar research:
A friend objected to Kimmel's grandfather “joke” and to showing so much of the man who keeps confusing top and bottom, a quibble we'll save for a future rant.
But to be clear regarding my grousing about that sentence in the first paragraph above, when was the last time you heard the word “frisky” applied to anything but a puppy?
In the past two or three years, several research studies have concluded that old people are having a good deal of sex and young people think it's icky.
Writing at HuffPost, Ann Brenoff answers the question, What's the oldest you can be and still have sex?, this way:
”You can have sex for as long as it feels good, kitten, for as long as it feels good. A recent study of 6,201 people ages 50 to 90 published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that up to 54 percent of men and 31 percent of women report having sex at least twice a month.
“As disturbing as you might find the thought of your parents or grandparents having sex,” Brenoff continues, “the truth is they’re still human beings with human-being urges.”
It's hard to tell but I suspect Ms. Brenoff is at least trying to express acceptance of people old enough to be parents and grandparents into the we-enjoy-sex club.
It's the surprise younger people exhibit at finding out old people still do it that ticks me off. How do these writers think they got here, for god's sake. A report of one survey about old people and sex began with this statement: “Sex isn’t just a young person’s game.”
And why would anyone think otherwise?
Um, it's called ageism and for as long as I've been researching age, it has been commonplace and customary, apparently, for younger people to respond to the idea of elders having sex with wonderment at best and disgust at worst.
When I run across these assumptions and judgments, I invariably mutter the two questions to myself:
• At what age do they think people should stop having sex?
• Do they think we forget how to do it when we hit that age?
If they think about it at all, younger people seem to have a lot of misconceptions about elder sex. Several recent articles address some false assumptions associated with senior sex. In another Huffpost story, reporter Yagana Shah does a decent job of debunking these five myths:
- Sex isn’t as important in relationships when you’re older (Wrong)
- Sex becomes kind of 'vanilla' as you get older (Wrong)
- Older people aren’t having sex (Wrong)
- Erectile dysfunction is inevitable (Not wrong and there are treatments that work)
- Sex is best when you’re younger (Wrong)
Not long ago, elder sex guru, Joan Price, published comments from readers of her Senior Planet sex column about what makes their sexual encounters pleasurable at their age. Here are three of the responses:
”I’ve learned that sex without penetration provides me and my partner with at least as much core-shaking pleasure as does PIV. Both are very nice, but my notion of 'real sex' has broadened to center now on sex without penetration.”
”I honestly didn’t know our sex drives would slow down. Nobody tells you that a strong libido has a shelf life. Realizing that the days of spontaneous combustion were over for both of us, I felt like I’d been ripped off by life.
“With time, laughter, tears, and a lot of talking and thinking — plus a vibrator, erotica, and soft porn — my husband and I created a place where sex is a wonderful mini-vacation where we give and receive pleasure.”
”We find planned, weekly date-night encounters far more enjoyable than spontaneous episodes, because planning a scene enhances anticipation. It’s a form of extended foreplay. We are consistently ready for sex well before the next date-night, but we deny ourselves, heightening the desire to extreme levels for days.”
It seems to me that the only real impediment to sharing good sex in old age is having a partner but we all know there are other things to do if that is not possible.
As to youngsters' mistaken ideas about old folks and sex, Ann Brenoff redeems herself with her answer to this question:
Q: “Aw, c’mon. Old-age sex is funny, isn’t it?
A: “Actually, it’s pretty serious business. It deserves to not be filtered through a lens of humor or disgust. We can start by not demeaning it. Older couples dancing intimately aren’t 'cute.' Save the 'cute' for babies and puppies.”