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.
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 SeniorSex.org. 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. WebMD.com, in a 2008 report, highlighted the following statistics:
-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.”
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.
“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:
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
1-800-222-2225 (toll free)
National Library of Medicine
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
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