All props to Salt-N-Pepa, let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about sex and ageing. And let’s not just talk about the mechanics of sex and ageing, you can look that up on most pharmaceutical companies websites and they will sell you a pill, or some gel for pretty much anything that may be physically hindering your sexuality.
But let’s talk about what is really happening in the ageing community in regard to sex. First, I’d like to note that the data that I will be supplying was mostly likely obtained from a cis/het sampling population. While there is definitely a positive movement towards the study of ageing in the LGBTQIA+ population, GenPride and Wellness with Pride are two excellent examples (see links below), there is little specialized research and data available that focuses on LGBTQIA+ sexuality and ageing. But I am of the mind that data we do have bears examination for all.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
I am firmly against the stigmatization of people living with STIs, but we cannot stem the tide of these infections if we do not have open and honest discussions about them. According to a study conducted by Aetna Insurance, from 2013-2017, the rate of STIs in American adults 60+ rose 23% compared to only 11% for the rest of the population. These are the rates for herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. The rate of HIV cases appears to be remaining stable for the sable age demographic, but there is some speculation that it is simply not being tested for due to the erroneous assumption that older adults aren’t sexually active and do not need to be tested. The fact is that, at least, 40% of the population 65-80 years of age reports being sexually active.
Getting tested for STIs and HIV is as crucial as getting a yearly check-up. Using condoms, and dental dams demonstrates respect for yourself and for your partners. Educate yourself about safe sex practices at every age. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
Hey look, here’s me getting tested for HIV at Triad Health Project.
60 is the New 40…or 30..or 36?
However old you feel is relative to many factors. Your physical, mental, and emotional health are all part of the holistic being that is YOU. And that you is welcome to feel as sensual and sexual as is your want. But what does that look like in your life? Are you communicating how you feel about sexuality with your partner(s)? Are you satisfied? Are they? Are you discovering that you wish to explore new avenues of sexuality as you age? Are you living your authentic orientation? One man took another step on his journey by coming out to his family at age 90.
Seriously, Let’s Talk about Sex
I have a challenge for you. Type sex, ageing, and LGBTQIA+ into your search engine. You will find matches for any two out of the three, but not all three together. Sunrise-Amanecer is an LGBTQIA+ affirming agency and we want you to know that encompasses all parts life. As a sex-positive, kink-positive therapist with a background in gerontology, I believe that is important that we continue to talk about sex as we age. The thoughts, the feelings, the safety issues, the mechanical issues, the relationship issues, all of it is important to our quality of life.
If you need to talk, we encourage you to reach out to us. We are now accepting clients in Greensboro as well as out satellite office at the Sid Lee Memorial Mental Health Association in Stokes County.