The Good News: Seniors having lots of sex; The Bad News:They’re getting STDs

Or so says a news report a friend sent me. This story, from a West Palm Beach TV station, relies on sources from Florida. Perhaps what applies to Florida, which has a large retirement population, also applies to Walnut Creek’s Rossmoor, which also has a large retirement poulation.

“The population over 60 is having a lot of sex,” West Palm Beach gynecologist and sexual health expert Dr. Maureen Whelihan tells WPBF-TV.

Whelihan said may of her patients maintain active sex lives well into their 80s. some are having sex in their 90s.

“Some of the barriers to sex when you’re younger are: there’s not enough time, there are kids in the house, there’s no privacy, you’re tired. When retirement occurs, besides traveling, what else is there to do but have great sex?” said Whelihan. 

However, some of these sexually active seniors are also having lots of unprotected sex.
The result is an “alarming increase in the rate of seniors contracting herpes,gonorrhea, HIV and AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Floridians over the age of 40 have the fastest growing rate of chlamydia cases of the last 10 years. Many of those new cases are seniors. Time magazine
quotes researchers at 
Researchers at England’s West Midlands Health Protection Agency who found that  in less than a decade, STD rates had more than doubled among people ages 45 and older.

“Now that the little blue pill came out and men are functioning, those that are still alive in their 70s and 80s have 10 women to every one guy,” said Whelihan.Many older men, say these Florida experts, admit they do not wear condoms and their partners are not requiring them. 

I can see one reason these men and their partners wouldn’t think of using condoms. They were probably first dating, becoming sexually active and getting married in the pre-AIDS era. From what I remember of sex education just before AIDS became a national health emergency, you were mainly taught to worry about getting pregnant, not contracting an STD. We were taught about STDs, but I don’t remember a heavy emphasis on using condoms to prevent them. Condoms were still associated with birth control–and they were usually dismissed as one of the least reliable methods because people often didn’t use them correctly. 

Maybe these seniors are going back to their younger, pre-AIDS era dating and sex patterns, when an unwanted pregnancy was the big worry. These post-menopausal women are delighting in the freedom of not having to worry about pregnancy; their partners are enjoying her enjoying this freedom. For them, having the man use a condom doesn’t make sense if it’s something they used to associate with birth control. 

They haven’t caught on that the sex and dating game as changed, with the advent of HIV and new awareness about the transmission and dangers of STDs. Or, they might know that HIV is a bad thing but they can’t fathom how that disease would ever apply to them. 

11 thoughts on “The Good News: Seniors having lots of sex; The Bad News:They’re getting STDs

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