I’ve found writing about sex difficult. It’s one of the few subjects where I feel distinctly uncomfortable talking about myself so today, I’m pleased to say, is the last in my five-part series on sex in your sixties.
Researching the topic these last few days has also made me realise that at 60 I am far from old. The advice dished out to “seniors” on this topic – as indeed on any other topic – is aimed at such a wide age range that it’s of only marginal value to someone like myself at the younger end.
It reminds me of when as someone aged I used to market retirement schemes to an age range starting at 55 and yet the whose oldest residents were over 100. That’s a 50 years age gap, the equivalent of trying to group everyone together from the ages 5 to 55.
I also found things like choosing a suitable stock photograph to go with the blogs hard going. Finding a pleasing image of grey-haired people getting intimate even in a subtle way was not something enjoyed. That’s even though I am a grey haired person who wants to get an intimate with another one who would be if her hair hadn’t been dyed blonde!
Anyway to finish off what I guess must a be a rather male-centric view of the topic because I am indeed a man I thought I’d finish with an excerpt from an article from the MailOnline quoting women in their 70s talking about sex. If nothing else it’s always worth knowing what the opposition is thinking!
Society continues to dismiss the possibility of older people enjoying intimacy, but that doesn’t reflect what is actually going on in people’s private lives. Ammanda Major, a sex and relationship therapist with Relate, says she sees ‘lots of women in their 60s and 70s who still want and enjoy an active sex life’.
She says: ‘If you want to be sexual as an older person then you can be seen as slightly indecent, but I do think that there is a growing acknowledgement for women in general about sexual freedom and awareness.’
Meanwhile, a 2015 study at the University of Manchester found a third of over-70s still enjoy frequent sex at least twice a month, with 54 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women over 70 admitting they’re sexually active.
Dame Helen Mirren, 72, famously admitted to only finding true sexual fulfilment later in life. Married to American film director Taylor Hackford, she says her sex life is better than ever: sex was ‘paranoid and empty’ in her youth, but is now ‘great, just wonderful’.
Jane Fonda, 79, has also declared that sex improves with age as ‘we’re braver’ in our older age.
The trouble is not, then, kickstarting your libido, but finding a suitable partner. Ammanda Major says: ‘I see single women who are either divorced or bereaved who feel sexually frustrated because their stress is not that they have sexual desire, but that they would like to have a partner but are not sure how to get one.’
One of the women interviewed for the article is 74 years-old Shirley Livingstone, meanwhile, says she’s been ‘actively dating’ for a few years, but after a number of introductions through a dating agency ‘nothing too serious came of them’.
She explains: ‘It’s hard to find that spark. I’d like to find a kind-hearted man who is open-minded, with a zest for life. I feel that I’ve got a lot of love to give.’
But men of her age tend not to have moved with the times: ‘They don’t take care of themselves, with eyebrows falling into their eyes. Do they really expect us to kiss them with a mouth full of broken teeth? I think that men should have facials and be groomed.’
Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings says men tend to move into ‘continual relationships’ but when they’re single ‘men of that generation can get stuck in a time warp and not make as much of an effort’. She says: ‘They’re used to someone helping and encouraging them.’
Hemmings highlights another problem for seventy-something single women: the ratio of men to women drops significantly. She says: ‘I think from a dating point of view there are probably ten women for every man at this age.
‘It’s important to be armed with that knowledge and work harder. Get out and socialise and be opportunistic. Don’t wait around for a man to make a move: tell him you’re interested and give him your number.’
Pauline King is another 70-year-old singleton bristling with defiance of age: ‘I feel no different to when I was in my 30s. I would love a warm, loving relationship and to have the opportunity to share my emotional and physical self. Why not?
‘Look at Joan Collins and Jane Fonda: they are just amazing role models.’
But she is very frustrated that in reality women of her age get ‘dismissed and overlooked’.
She says: ‘People say that I must have been a looker when I was younger and that hurts, because it’s like writing me off, as if my time has gone. But I don’t believe it has. I’m like an onion — just peel back the age layers and I’m still there!’
She says: ‘I’ve tried lots of online dating but the calibre of women is far better than the men. If I was a lesbian I would have quite a future!
Here’s the complete article.