Tuesday 24 October 2017

Mary Kenny: Sex and the seniors

Older people are having more sex, but the market still favours the alpha male

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

In Irish tradition, it used to be said that old age was the time for "telling your beads" (saying the Rosary in preparation for the next world) but now, we are informed, it's time for a renewal of sexual activity. The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing reports, cheerily, that two thirds of people over 50 are sexually active these days, and even for those over 75, more than a fifth of them are still regularly "having sex", as they put it, not very romantically (or erotically).

Quite a few people over 60 are marrying, too: 12 years ago, 232 men over 60 wed; in 2015, this had risen to 420. Many had been married before so it was the second time around - but it does tend to show there is relationship commitment.

Mind you, for all our changed attitudes towards sexual freedom, there is still a distinct link between sex and marriage. The study showed that married people have more sex than those who are single, separated or divorced - certainly among the older group. Being married for those heading for pensionable age tends to mean a steadier sex life.

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