Monday 26 September 2016

Sexually frustrated at 70? Don't take it lying down

Good on Diane Keaton for admitting she'd still like some bedroom action at the age of 70

Jan Etherington

Published 23/06/2016 | 02:30

Age is just a number: Diane Keaton, seen here with her 'Something's Gotta Give' co-star Jack Nicholson, has said she's sexually frustrated in her 70s.
Age is just a number: Diane Keaton, seen here with her 'Something's Gotta Give' co-star Jack Nicholson, has said she's sexually frustrated in her 70s.
Septuagenarians: Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand play amorous husband and wife Bernie and Rozalin in 'Meet the Fockers'

Why is anyone surprised that Diane Keaton is seeking a lover at the age of 70? Surely, no one believes that your sex drive cuts off, like a petrol pump when the tank's full, just because you're a septuagenarian?

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The actress admitted this week, on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show', that she was 'sexually frustrated' - "I know what it feels like and it's not good," she added.

Amen to that. My generation, who grew up in a culture of free love, flower power, the Rolling Stones and 'letting it all hang out' are now reaching their 70s - and for many, sex is still very important.

Friends who have divorced, or re-married, are still keen to find someone - and they want the relationship to be physical.

"I don't want to swing from the chandeliers every night," said my old school pal, who's currently internet dating. "But my husband's idea of foreplay was to put his teeth in, so the bar is set fairly low."

I had a call from my friend Carol (71), last night. She's a widow, who's had a few dates with her neighbour.

"I thought the sex was pretty good. Lights out, obviously - but he hasn't called. I don't know if he fancies me or not. Should I ring him, or just play it cool?"

We had the same conversation 40 years ago.

Yet sex does change as you age. When you're young, anything's possible, and anywhere. In the back of a car, halfway up a mountain, behind the bike shed.

But as you get older, 'safe sex' means not falling out of bed. And while you can still enjoy that 'blanket on the ground' moment, you'd best make sure there's a hot water bottle underneath and some subtly placed knee pads.

It's now that you discover the real reason why it's called 'the missionary position' - you're praying you can get up afterwards.

While the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of senior sex are more likely to be caused by cramp and heartburn, than carnal desire. And you may think that ditching your reading glasses will enhance your appeal but just remember: if you can't see clearly, everyone else will look more attractive than they are.

"It's very important to keep your sense of humour about sex, as you get older," said my friend, the artist Bev Williams, who created the 'Spring Chicken' range of greetings cards.

One of her best-sellers shows a 70-something husband at the bottom of the stairs, calling up to his wife: 'You want me to come upstairs and make love to you? It'll have to be one or the other!'

She's right. Remember the old joke: 'At 75, I have great sex. Trouble is, I live at 79.'

Even on-screen 'silver sex' is increasingly tackled with humour and a dose of reality.

Barbra Streisand was a pensioner when she announced she was "a sex therapist, specialising in senior sexuality" to her son's prospective in-laws, in 'Meet The Fockers' - and proceeded to have frequent and noisy relations with on-screen husband, Dustin Hoffman.

Her sexual assertiveness and confidence is unusual, as most of us are nervous about being naked in front of a partner. In one scene, in ITV comedy series, 'Faith In The Future', Lynda Bellingham played Faith, a mature divorcee, being undressed by her new man.

"I've had two children and in certain lights, my stretch marks look like uncooked tripe," she explains. "If that's your seduction technique, don't bring out the DVD," he responds.

The US comedy, 'Golden Girls', hilariously addressed the perils of pensioner sex when worldly Dorothy, placed a mirror on the table and advised her sex-mad housemate, Blanche, to look down into it.

"That is what you look like from below. Never, ever go on top."

And in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', Celia Imrie questioned Ronald Pickup about the wisdom of having strenuous sex with a much younger women. He responded, with a shrug: "If she dies, she dies."

My neighbour laughed as she recently told me about her weekend.

"We had the grandchildren and on Sunday morning, George and I were... enjoying ourselves… when I realised we were being watched. Standing at the end of the bed was Gemma, my two-year-old granddaughter.

"'When you've finished playing with Grandad, I want to watch 'Peppa Pig',' she announced, calmly.

"There's something deliciously thrilling about being 'caught out', when you're a grandmother," she added.

Another friend, whose extremely elderly parents live with her, was delighted when they were taken out for the day. She and her husband made plans for a spot of 'afternoon delight'. She had arranged herself, languorously, on the bed, when her husband wandered in with a puzzled frown and asked "What did I come in here for? Can't remember…" and disappeared downstairs.

"I thought he was joking," she said "but he went off and mowed the lawn."

So good luck to Diane Keaton and everyone who wants to stay sexy at 70. But if your partner is a similar age? Just be prepared for that sexual frustration still to rear its head from time-to-time. © Daily Telegraph

Irish Independent

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