Sexy, Single, and Seventy.

May 22, 2022

Sexy, Single, and Seventy.

May 29, 2023

You’ve heard the rumors. America’s most populous retirement community, The Villages in Florida, has more sexually transmitted diseases than the city of Miami on a per capita basis. That’s an urban myth, but there are all kinds of reasons this myth exists, as evidenced in this article.

Additionally, The New York Times Magazine recently published an article, "The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70" with the premise that this might be the time to experience the best sex of our lives, full of talk about Viagra and vibrators. The article starts with the sexual story of a couple who’ve been married for 60 years. For them, “sex is more relaxed than it was in their 20s and 30s when they had so much responsibility and little time. And it’s deeper because they feel more connected.” Even so, just about half of people 65 and older (and only ¼ of those 75 and older) have had sex in the past year. In short, the reports of rampant sexual exploration at The Villages is less the rule and more the anomaly. One of my takeaways from this lengthy article is this: try doing anything later in life based upon how you did it in your twenties and you may be disappointed.

And, then, there’s another recent NYT article, "Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart," which points out that there’s been a doubling of the divorce rate for people over 50 since the 1990s. This fact has left more than half the women in the U.S. over the age of 65 single. For many of these women, knowing they’re going to live longer than their parents, they want the benefits of coupling without the costs of being roommates (which can lead to full-time caregiving). Sociologists now have an acronym for this kind of arrangement: LAT (Living Apart Together).

So, we’ve graduated from the Ozzie & Harriet era, haven’t we? It’s not surprising that the generation that popularized the slogan "Make Love, Not War” in their early adulthood would be popularizing the idea of "Make Love Not a Bore" in their later adulthood. But what feels different about sex after sixty is the emotional intimacy that comes with it. It’s less about measuring (“am I a good lover?”) and more about the pleasuring. Years ago, we might have lit up a cigarette after what the French call “la petite mort” and talked about which afterparty we’d go to when we head out on the town. Today, we’re more likely to talk about the afterlife than an afterparty after our little brush with death (la petite mort).

How has your relationship with sex and sensuality evolved as you’ve gotten older?

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