Passion throughout a lifetime: Sexuality and ageism

The advent of the Silver Tsunami will challenge perceptions about human sexuality and aging in today’s youth oriented society. Photo: MSN Image Library

SAN DIEGO, August 20, 2013 —The advent of the Silver Tsunami will challenge perceptions about human sexuality and aging in today’s youth oriented society.

10,000 Americans turn 65 each day, resulting in an unprecedented population of older adults in the US.

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According to the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, “One out of every six Americans will be over the age of 65 by the year 2020. In the case of older adults and sexuality, older people are stereotyped as being non-sexual beings who should not, cannot, and do not want to have sex.”

Ageism is “the stereotyping of and discrimination against people simply because of their age,” according to the 2013 Older Adult Sexuality Reference on But it may soon become a stigma of the past.

Our society will be forced to accommodate vast demographic, economic, political and social phenomena, including coming to terms with the fundamental human need of older adults for intimacy.

People who are married have greater frequency of sex than those who are single., in a 2008 report, highlighted the following statistics:

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-Between ages 18-29: Reportedly 112 times a year.

-Between ages 30-39: Reportedly 86 times a year.

-Between ages 50-59: Reportedly 69 times a year.

According to the BBC News, Online Network, it has been reported by scientists that a regular sex life is an immunity booster, and that it could “help ward off colds and flu.”

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Although it would make sense that physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes due to aging could have implications such as declining levels of sexual activity, a 2007 study by the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that ”70 percent of people age 57-64 were sexually active. More than half of 65-74 year olds and 26 percent of 75-85 year olds were sexually active.”

This is promising news for millions of baby boomers who are well-known for debunking social norms and choosing their own ways of living life to the fullest.

MSN Photo Library

“As boomers are getting older, they are less likely to accept that they are supposed to be sexless,” said Dr. Janice Epp of the Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.

As positive and promising as social change might be, there are commonly known challenges impacting sexual intimacy which are directly connected to aging. The National Institute on Aging suggests the following factors as possible contributors to a slowing down in sexual activity:


-Chronic pain.



-Heart disease.






For the countless single, middle-aged and older adults who are pursuing their passions, remember that you are just as susceptible to contracting sexually transmitted diseases as those who are younger.

The following resources might provide assistance and answers to your questions as you pursue the most fulfilling intimate life for you:

National Institute on Aging
Information Center
1-800-222-2225 (toll free)
1-800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)


National Library of Medicine
Medline Plus

You may benefit from discussions with trusted family members, friends, and health care providers. Also, consider checking out relevant support groups in your area.

Since “A good sex life is an important part of an individual’s overall health,” says Mark Schoen, Ph.D., Director of Sex Education for the Sinclair Intimacy Institute, it is also an exciting time to live your life well and passionately.

Through the choices older adults make and the examples they set, they can help shift society’s perceptions about aging and what it means to be fully human at any age.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

In addition to providing expert commentary for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate


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