Is sex just for young people?
This week’s ML essay is penned by a 70-year-old artist from New Jersey who faces what she feels is a decided backlash against sexual activity in the Golden Years. She bristles at ignorant doctors who assume she’s long past her sexual prime. She relates stories about the elderly denied the comfort of the human touch in hospitals and nursing homes. And she lets us in on a great married life chuckle when she and her husband (who see the same urologist) prepare for his visit to the doctor by comparing notes to make sure the husband and wife are each reporting the same amount of sexual contact. God forbid the doctor should compare charts and find a discrepancy!
Love that bit.
I’ve hit this very issue in my writing since the porn star in my novel is not the daughter in the mother-daughter story. It is the mother. And she is 60.
It’s the age of the porn star that inspired the agent who told me “Yuck.” (It was at a conference, so I do know exactly where I lost him. At the word “porn” he lit up like a Christmas tree. It was only a few sentences later that my pitch disappointed him to the point of interjection.)
I got roughly the same reaction from one of my instructors in my MFA program about a year ago. I knew I was in trouble when he handed back our papers and on my manuscript, he had scrawled CREDULITY??????? To his credit, he did not say yuck. But he was thinking it.
Why does our society think sex over 60 is yucky, but sex at 16 is not? Which one of those age groups is best prepared to come out of the sexual encounter without lasting negative effects?
The good news is, this particular stereotype is on its way out. I predict it. Over the next ten years, sex over 60 will become the Hot New Thing.
How do I know? Because the boomers are turning 60. And everything they do is great, or haven’t you heard? I’m not a boomer myself so I can say this with all possible love and affection for my elders. There has never been a group of people on the planet more in love with whatever they are doing at the moment than the boomers. When they were young, they glorified youth. When they became parents, they glorified parenthood. Believe me, as they turn 60 in significant numbers, it will be the in thing. The biggest segment of the generation will start hitting the big 6-0 over the next five years. About which time, watch for the Time Magazine headline: Super! Sexy! Sixty!
This is the generation that believes it practically invented sex. Will boomers give it up out of a sense of maturity etiquette? No way.