Sunday, September 09, 2007

Frisky Geezers Get Freaky

As Baby Boomers hit retirement age, there is a lot of ink being spilled over how gracefully they will age. But we already have the example of the slightly older generation that is well into the Geritol years and they seem to be living it up. A recent study that made a lot of headlines surveyed the sexual habits of golden yearers and found that they are not going silently into that good night. They instead seem to me coming into their sunset years quite loudly.

Between the ages of 57 and 64, 84% of men and 62% of women had had sex within the previous year. I don’t consider 60 to be particularly old, so this doesn’t surprise me. By the age of 75 to 85, that stat falls to 38% for men and only 17% for women. Even better news is that among the sexually active old farts between half and two-thirds are getting action several times a month. I know some McBloggers with children that would love to break into that range.

A lot of this gender difference is pure demographics. Women live longer than men. By a certain age, 9% of men are widowers but an astounding 42% of women are widows. I have a theory that a guy in a retirement home with a valid drivers license that doesn't drool too much is the cock of the walk. In a way, old age mimics high school. A whopping 60% of the surveyed oldsters claimed to have had oral sex in the past year. Now despite the paranoid warnings of the TV news, that is a market penetration that the typical teenager can only dream of.

And they are not always being shy or coy about it. A Florida retirement center had a herpes epidemic from all the saggy skin slapping. At retiree haven Sun City West a few years back, they had a rash of outdoor sex sightings of it's senior sexa(and older)genarians. All I have to say is “Get a room!”

It seems that granny porn is everywhere in society now. Helen Mirren is a bona fide sex symbol. More explicitly, a new HBO series "Tell Me You Love Me" supposedly pushes the boundaries for even pay cable. One of the stars is sixty-seven-year-old Jane Alexander who plays a marriage counselor with her own rather active love life. As Tom Shales describes:

Where the show becomes discomforting is when it explores the therapist's own sexual relationship with her mate; both are in their 60s. The filmmakers want us to be aware that sex is not something restricted to the young and the cute, and so if you're inclined to think "gross" at the sight of the couple in bed, you've only helped the filmmakers prove a point.

It’s not TV or HBO, it’s Over 50 on film.

Joel Achenbach in the Washington Post Outlook Section examines the vigor of what he calls Frisky Geezers. The money quote is:

Much of the revolution takes place out of sight. Recently we all read the front-page story about older people having sex like bunnies. According to the University of Chicago study, 53 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 remain sexually active, along with 26 percent between the ages of 75 and 85, despite the fact that 100 percent of their kids and grandkids would rather not picture it. Now we understand that special twinkle in Grandpa's eye when he looks at Grandma and says, "I'll show you an Early Bird Special you'll never forget."

Thank goodness my parents just left town, because they are big fans of Early Birds and I will never be able to hear that phrase the same way again. Dealing with amorous parents is awkward for all involved. Many years back, we all rolled our eyes as my dad gave us grown kids the bum’s rush one evening. He had an early flight to catch the next day and time was wasting. Eeewww! I know how I got here and I have a good suspicion of who the culprits were, but I don't need to be reminded.

The only reason I'm tolerant of the whole sexy senior citizen phenomenon is that I hope to be one too someday. Then I get to gross everybody out.

Do frisky parents embarrass you?


Anonymous said...

As a frisky parent, I'm not embarrassed. But as I'm only 38, I guess I don't count.

My 57-year-old father just got married for the third time, and as long as he's still standing I don't see him slowing down.

Anonymous said...

I've always considered myself pro-frisky-geezer. When I was a young tween/teenager (in the late 80s), I read this article in the Readers Digest at my grandparents' house that talked about barriers oldsters had to an active sex life, including nursing homes that separated married couples so that nothing "disgusting" could happen. I remember that made me so sad!

Of course, when I told this story to my wife, she said my grandparents left this lying around as a subtle clue to the fact that they were knockin' boots regularly, and I was immediately disgusted. I guess there's something visceral about the thought of your ancestors doing it, though I don't think that's an age thing (plenty of kids are grossed out by the thought of their 30- and 40something parents gettin' it on).


yellojkt said...

That's a good distinction, Josh. I have nothing against old folk in general bumpy uglies and wrinklies. I just don't like thinking of my parents in particular. For my grandparents the point is now moot so it doesn't bother me as much.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

This woman totally cracks me up. Last night I watched her give advice on threesomes. Even though she's pretty wise, it's still tough (I won't say "hard" here, sorry) to take sex advice from someone her age.

yellojkt said...

Sue Johanson was a guest host on Degrassi a couple of times as "Dr. Sally". It seems that, like Dr Ruth, we like our sex advice from the grandmotherly types.

Mooselet said...

I'm with you yello - more power to 'em if they can get a little action at that age (by which I mean over 75ish), but I really don't want to picture it. Especially not my grandparents, even though they have shaken this mortal coil.

My mother and stepfather make the occasional crack about their love life just to see me squirm, squeeze my eyes shut, put my hands over my ears and shout "LA-LA-LA I'm not LISTENING!!!!" Yes, I'm pushing 40 but I don't want to have that mental image in my brain. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Why do young people think that they are the only ones that can enjoy an early bird?

Anonymous said...

Your theory is absolutely correct -- my 83-year-old dad could be up to his ears in women, if he so desired. He has dozens of church chicks after him, some in their late 60's.

Anonymous said...

Oh what misconceptions you have! I know you don't want to hear this-but some 60 something parents still are HOT! Visiting our children puts a damper on the activity, but that's what vacations are for. Hope to continue into the 80's.