They’re an old married couple, but could you be cool if you found out it was their second date?
The thing about being middle aged is that you’re MIDDLE age. Talking to your children about sex is hard enough, but there are any number of resources that guide you along and tell you what to say. What about talking to your parents about sex? Can you handle that? The truth is they may need it more.
The Baby Boomers would like to think that they invented sex. They didn’t, but they openly explored their sexuality and there sexual identities. As they go into retirement, some of them, unburdened from the toils of everyday living and taking care of children will begin their Autumn of Love. If you are in your 40′s or early 50′s you grew up learning about incurable sexual diseases, such as Herpes and AIDS. Your parents did not, so this is your chance to teach them about safe sex. You also may need to speak to them about what to do if their minds wonder but their bodies remain capable.
Tough Questions: Can a person suffering from dementia give consent? Will the staff of a retirement home stop them if they become sexual with another willing resident?
Here’s what you and your parents need to consider:
1) Gerontologists recommend that seniors stay sexually active if possible, since it increases mental ability and overall well-being. It does the same for you, but you’d like to think that your parents are too old for sex. Thanks to the wonder drugs like Cialis and Viagra, older men can perform the deed. With hormone replacement therapy and testosterone treatment women can feel much younger and more vital than they would naturally. Better living through chemistry has some very real consequences.
2) ”It just happened. We just got carried away!” sounds like something a high school student would say but more and more phrases like this are being heard in retirement homes. The rate at which which Sexually Transmitted Diseases spread in some retirement communities is six times the national average. Rates are especially high in New Mexico and Florida with large senior citizen populations.
3) Just like their grandchildren, seniors are sometimes afraid to talk to their doctors about sex. Many doctors have the same mindset and do not bring up the subject of sexual activity with their older patients. Given the number of people who enter their retirement years divorced or widowed, it is only natural that many of them will be looking for companionship. Seeking comfort in the arms of a kindred spirit is only human. This closeness does not always include discussions on sexual history and many people are afraid to ask. If you notice that your single mother has a new “gentleman caller” (boyfriend) or your grey haired dad has a little more pep in his step and shows a sudden interest in looking good and keeping fit, then it is time to step in and have the talk.
Approach the talk with sensitivity and without judgement. Phrases like, “You should be ashamed.” will only cause resentment and anger. Anyone old enough to have sex will naturally think that a judgement call will be an attempt to deprive them of their independence.
On this topic, speak to your parents like they were your friends. Explain to them the consequences and if need be, take them to a doctor who can explain the need for safe sex. The doctor should also recommend that they know their status.
Thee worst thing about old people is the thought that in 20 years, you’ll be one of them. Talk to them the same way you want your children to talk to you when it’s your turn to be a sexy senior citizen.