Love and sex are as normal and natural for older adults as they are in early adulthood. There is no age at which love, sexual activities, thoughts, or desires must end although the way in which sexuality is expressed may change. Sex doesn’t necessarily get better or worse with aging; it’s just different. In Love & Sex: Are We Ever Too Old?!? Nieli Langer, PhD suggests that our ideas about aging and sexual intimacy are outdated.
Sadly, our culture has continuously promoted the idea that love and sex are only for the young. Myths and stereotypes fed by misinformation surround late-life sexuality. The presumption is that older people do not have sexual desires and are physically incapable of making love even if they wanted to. Many older men and women were raised with religious taboos related to sex while our own adult children and grandchildren often sneer at sexuality in their parents’ lives.
Society has perpetuated the notion that, “We think our parents are too old to; we think our kids are too young to; our kids think we are too old to; so, who in the heck is supposed to?” The best response is: Everyone who wants to experience positive, ongoing sexuality throughout the life cycle. Love and a sexual turn-on do not occur just because of youth or outer beauty. In an older couple, married or dating, loving one-another is a turn-on in itself.
The Baby Boomers more open-minded attitude about expressing love and sex compounded by the sheer number of people in this group suggests that the subject of sexual intimacy will be prominent in the lives of older couples as they age. Baby Boomers have been a driving force in liberating later-life love and sexuality first as advocates for their parents and now for the more than 78 million swelling their ranks.
Love and Sex: Are We Ever Too Old?!? by Nieli Langer, PhD (amazon.com) includes photos, cartoons and poetry about sexuality and love among older adults, an aging and sexuality survey and book and film reviews that have celebrated late-life love. It
is an original way to teach adult children, grandchildren, the aging individuals and social service and health care providers to understand and accept the sexuality of maturing adults. In so doing, they can help transform the meaning of love and sexuality up to the very limits of life itself.