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The Myth About Age and Sex

20 June 2012, 07:18

There is a pervasive myth that sex after 50 declines.

As a very active 70 something, I can assure you that this is simply not true. The sad thing is that society often perpetuates this belief by regarding older people engaging in sex as “dirty old men.”

The authors of The Age Heresy tell the sad story of a 92-year-old inmate of a rest home for over-eighties in Vancouver, Canada.

 He was wealthy and had a private suite, but was a very nasty old man. He was always dissatisfied and swore at the staff. He was grumpy, irritable and if he wasn't angry, he sulked and spoke to no one.

One day he asked one of the nurses if his niece could visit him. Permission was granted. The next visiting day and three times a week after that, a vibrant, very attractive young woman came to see him.

After these visits, the old man was transformed. He became sociable, chatting and bantering with staff and other patients. In general he was a delight to be with. The staff loved the young woman’s visits and for six months her friendly, intelligent behaviour transformed the home.

This happy state of affairs came to a tragic and abrupt end when someone inadvertently discovered the “horrible” truth: the gentleman’s ‘niece’ was in fact a high class ‘escort’. Instead of simply enjoying stimulating conversation three times per week, this 92-year-old sexual athlete had been making passionate love with the young woman!

The reaction of the ‘powers that be’ was immediate. The ‘niece’ was banned forever from the home, the old man was severely reprimanded, publicly berated for being ‘a dirty old man’ and kept under virtual solitary confinement.

You can guess what happened. He became truculent and defiant and spent the rest of his days in misery.

This story illustrates how society in general regards sexual interest and activity in ‘old age’ as somehow ‘dirty’.

This reminds me of a party our Lions Club organised for the occupants of an old age home. I was amazed at the agility and energy of some of the ‘oldies’. I certainly had a great time dancing with the ladies.

I chatted with one of the octogenarians asking him and his wife how they enjoyed life in the home. The old boy complained with a twinkle in his eye: “The only complaint I have is the size of our bedroom. It’s so small that every time you get an erection you have to open the window!”

Let’s have a look at this perception that sexual activity in older people is ‘not normal or non-existent: Dr Tony Buzan, the inventor of mind mapping and an eminent gerontologist, has conducted surveys over 10 years into public assumptions about sexual activity.

The study was carried out in over 50 countries. He asked people to rank different age groups according to what they thought each group’s sexual activity was. They had to rank the activity from 1 – most active) to 10 – least active.

The results were very consistent. Except that some people in the survey actually assumed that from 60 (and even 50!) onwards, there was no sexual activity or drive at all. Here are the results of the survey:

Age group Decades

Ranking for sexual behaviour

0-10 years


10-20 yrs


20-30 yrs


30-40 yrs


40-50 yrs


50-60 yrs


60-70 yrs


70-80 yrs


80-90 yrs


90-100 yrs


 Bet you thought that these findings are just about right, didn’t you? Well you’re wrong! According to the latest studies the table should look like this:


Ranking for sexual behaviour

0-10 years


10-20 yrs


20-30 yrs


30-40 yrs


40-50 yrs


50-60 yrs


60-70 yrs


70-80 yrs

7 (I don’t agree!)

80-90 yrs


90-100 yrs


 I can see you don’t believe this! L If I were under 60 I would also not believe it. Having gone through the 60-70-year decade, I promise you that it’s true! I want you to think about this:

 How’s it possible that the new #1 sexual-active-group is 60-70 years old? Because at this time of life, according to Buzan, ‘tens of millions of people are still exceptionally fit, both physically and mentally, are wealthy, curious and ready to enter, in the best sense of the word, their second childhood.’

 Let’s face it, by this time of life we are ‘far more sexually experienced, considerate and aware. This means that love-making, instead of being the rushed, physical urgencies of younger generations, can be a more drawn-out, exploratory, experimental and romantic affair.’ (Buzan again).

In order to maintain sexual activity you have to be physically and mentally in good shape. ‘The most important and largest sexual organ lies between your ears and not your legs!’ (Buzan)

Consider getting some help if you or your significant other find it a bit of a challenge to ‘keep it up’.  Modern “recreational” drugs such as Viagra, Levitra or Cialis can make a huge difference to your performance. You may experience a mild headache and have a temporary red face, but it’s surely worthwhile! It is important to consult your doctor before you use these drugs. If you’re prone to heart attacks, the over-exertion might just be too much for you! Please be careful of advertisements offering these drugs on the net, they’re probably fake.

Here's to an active, enjoyable and fantastic old age!

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