Hey listen up younguns: A lot of us older folks are having great, free, wild and satisfying sex – perhaps even more satisfying sex than you are having!
That’s the message from an AARP survey released last week that had questioned its members about their sex lives.
Here are two great articles regarding that survey and its results, the first from the Washington Post the second from the Baltimore Sun Times. They are included here in full, or go directly to their websites:
Folks 45 and older are loving sexual liberation, AARP survey finds
By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 8, 2010
We went out Friday afternoon with our copy of the new 105-page AARP sex survey and randomly flipped to some choice bits in search of reaction and comment:
Table 18: Frequency of Intercourse by Gender and Age.
"When I was 55, I was doing it seven times a week with my wife," said Ronald Militello, retired from the Air Force in Washington. Now, at 65, not quite so much. "You do it as much as you can."
The national study of folks 45 and older found, in fact, that 48 percent of those who are dating have sex at least once a week, while 36 percent of the married ones do.
Table 13: Attitudes Toward Sex by Age and Gender.
"I love sex," said Judy Lear, 66, national chair of the Gray Panthers, the intergenerational advocacy group for social justice and peace, when reached by telephone in New York City. "I thinks it's fun, I think it's great. I think it's a really positive thing. I'm single, divorced; I have a very nice gentleman here in New York City. I don't want to be married, I don't want to live together, but I do like to have sex. We have this wonderful relationship."
Lear could be the liberated-and-loving-it poster lady of a certain age for this new report, titled, "Sex, Romance, and Relationships: AARP Survey of Midlife and Older Adults," based on a survey taken in August 2009.
The researchers found that baby boomers, those sons and daughters – also older brothers and sisters – of the sexual revolution have gotten older, and their sexual mores have aged up with them. Key finding: The percentage who think you must be married to have sex has dropped by almost half in 10 years, from 41 percent to 22 percent.
That's not an endorsement of infidelity. Only one in five men and one in 10 women in this age group admit to cheating on a partner. Rather, it's an assertion of sexual freedom among widows, widowers, divorced people or folks who never married.
And yet, alas, all is not perfectly orgasmic either. In spite of the increased sense of permission to have sex, less sex is being had!
The researchers blame the lousy economy and related stress for undermining everyone's libido. The frequency of intercourse and general sexual satisfaction are down about 10 points since 2004, "while the frequency of self-stimulation and sexual thoughts and fantasies have not changed," the study found.
"The downturn is not a change in terms of liking sex or being happy with each other," said Pepper Schwartz, whose title at the AARP is Love and Relationships Ambassador. She also writes the group's online column, the Naked Truth. "That kind of stress, depression and angst don't do anything for a sex drive.
"The good news is that I would expect if we get a recovery, then we will have an increase in frequency and satisfaction when we do the next study five years from now."
Stimulus plan, anyone?
For young folks who might still think there's not much to look forward to after 45, the study is more empirical evidence that the older folks are fully invested in doing the wild thing whenever possible.
But of course! Susan Murany, executive director of the Gray Panthers, quoted the late founder Maggie Kuhn: "Learning and sex until rigor mortis," she said before she died at 89 in 1995.
A generation of women who no longer felt "the need to get married for financial reasons and sexual reasons" is carrying that belief into older age, said Murany, 55.
The many charts and tables in the study offer revealing nuggets about how the middle and older generations think and act sexually. About 54 percent of those surveyed were married, and 5 percent had same-sex partners.
Across most gender and age categories in the survey, folks actually place "a satisfying sexual relationship" behind other keys to quality of life, including, in descending order of importance: "being healthy," "financial security," "close ties to friends and family," "personal independence," "spiritual well-being," "good relationship with spouse/partner" and "being productive and contributing."
One exception is the youngest category of males, of course, age 45 to 49. They place good sex ahead of spiritual well-being. Overall, 85 percent of men and 61 percent of women said sex is important to quality of life.
In general, the men helpfully fulfill several stereotypes we always suspected were true. They have "sexual thoughts, fantasies, erotic dreams" more often than women. In fact, 21 percent of men age 70 and older fantasize more than once a day, compared with zero percent of women that age.
The favorite fantasy of men is sex with a stranger. Same with women. No. 2 for men is sex with more than one person at the same time. No. 2 for women is sex with a celebrity.
About two-thirds of men "always" have an orgasm. Fewer than one-third of women always do.
While most kinds of sexual activity, including kissing and hugging, have decreased during the recession, the frequency of oral sex has increased a bit.
And then there's this, another reason to diet and hit the gym: The healthiest people have the most sex.
Let’s Talk about Older People and SEX
If Betty White’s recent “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig taught me anything, it’s that old people like to talk about sex. Or, rather, like to talk about sex when TV writers think it’ll be funny. I know, I know. You probably don’t want to think about older people having sex — or liking it. But it is my duty to report on how those 45 and older are enjoying their sex lives (a responsibility that I believe was outlined when I was hired at b). So, basically there was a huge AARP “sex survey” released. The Washington Post got hold of a copy, which thankfully was not sent to us. There are some boring stats in the survey, such as that 48 percent of those 45 and older who are dating have sex at least once a week, while 36 percent of the married ones do the same. And there’s some interesting stats as well, such as how 21 percent of men 70 and older fantasize more than once a day, compared with 0 percent (0!) of women that age. The newspaper decided to dig deeper into aged sexiness. “I love sex,” said 66-year-old Judy Lear, when contacted by the surely aghast Post. “I think it’s fun, I think it’s great. I think it’s a really positive thing. I’m single, divorced; I have a very nice gentleman here in New York City.” Aaaaaallll-right, Judy. Thanks. In summary, the Post found that “older folks are fully invested in doing the wild thing whenever possible.” As they point out, it’s just as Maggie Kuhn, the late founder of intergenerational advocacy group Gray Panthers, used to say (according to The Post): “Learning and sex until rigor mortis.” That would make a nice T-shirt for Grandparents Day.
DID WOMAN SLICE MAN WHO WAS BAD LAY?
Don’t mess with Michelle Thomas. She will cut you. Literally. (Allegedly.) Houstonpress.com reports that Thomas, 26, is facing up to 20 years in prison after allegedly scissor-slashing her common-law husband. Thomas says her unnamed husband came home drunk and tried to rough her up. But since she had no visible injuries, police are siding with the dude’s tale — that he was slashed for not giving her good sex. Since Thomas is clearly smirking in her mug shot, we tend to believe the husband’s tale as well.
FACEBOOK: SHARE AND SEX-SHARE ALIKE
We share a lot on Facebook. Perhaps too much. And, according to a new study, we like sharing sex. CBS News reports that Dan Zarella, a “social media scientist” (invented job fall-back option!) created an algorithm to analyze links of more than 12,000 Facebook posts. He came to the conclusion that users are 90 percent more likely to share sex-related links than any other type.
SURVEY: BRITONS' SEX HURTS SO BAD
Sex is pretty dangerous business in Britain, apparently. A survey has found that nearly one-third of the adult population in the country has suffered an injury during sex, U.K. paper Daily Telegraph reports. Pulled muscles were the most common injury, followed by carpet burns (sidenote: Carpet burns are considered injuries now?), back injuries, a pulled neck or bashing an elbow or knee. Understandably, 40 percent of those surveyed didn’t realize they were injured until the next day, quite possibly because, uh, they were having sex at the time. The survey also found the riskiest place to have sex, which, oddly, is the sofa. Other hazardous sex places for Britons: the stairs, the car, the shower and the kitchen table.
Jordan Bartel is assistant editor at b. Follow him on Twitter, @jordanbartel.
I am quite heartened by the above, except for the statistics on the number of senior women who always orgasm. Women of any age need to bring that statistic all the way up -- I know you can do it, as I am a woman and a card carrying member of the Always-Orgasm Club. A sex positive attitude is a way to achieve that goal.
I am already a senior and can confirm that there is definitely happy, freer sex as you age. So, maybe those of you in your 20’s and 30's should begin to look forward to the calendar passing with excitement instead of dread, or better yet, confer with us oldsters about ways to improve your own sex lives!
— The Curator