Heathcare“Thinking that your parents have a sexuality is taboo”…...

“Thinking that your parents have a sexuality is taboo”… How seniors experience their sexual revolution


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The title of this article sums up in a few strong words what our whole society thinks to itself. Sex would not be eternal and it cannot be practiced after a certain age. But how old? There is the question. Ask any kid, whether they’re 18 or 58. Does he like to think that his parents can make love? Awkward moment. This reality, however, we will have to get used to. Because unlike their elders, many “new old” aspire to keep an active sexuality. Until when ? Until death if necessary, as long as there is desire. Let’s get rid of prejudices.

This delicate topic of seniors’ sexuality is tackled in a series cleverly titled “We never stop fooling around”. Imagined by the Regional Authority for Education and Health Promotion (IREPS) of Brittany, these short videos broadcast on YouTube address all the taboos surrounding the sexuality of elders. And this week, it reached its sixth episode which almost gets to the heart of the matter: desire. It discusses the evolution of desires, the changing body. It is also reminded that the absence of sexuality “is not inevitable”. A subject that did not exist twenty years ago. But which is slowly imposing itself in our society, which is very embarrassed by it. The reason ? The lengthening of life expectancy but also the retirement of young people who grew up in May 1968. “This generation experienced the sexual revolution and there is something left of it. Today, it is estimated that more than half of seniors are sexually active. Whereas we were at 10% barely twenty years ago,” explains Hervé Strilka.

“We have lots of young couples of old people”

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To carry out his video project, the IREPS project manager turned to Gérard Ribes. This psychiatrist became known for his sexology consultations aimed at seniors. “When I spoke about this twenty years ago, I was told that it didn’t exist. They said I was a gerontophile. But everything has changed. The question of sexuality will be a societal revolution on the representation of old age, ”assures the doctor. For years, he has received questioning seniors in his office. Some have been in a relationship for thirty years but have broken down. Others, more and more numerous, are separated and restart a story. “We are dealing with the exponential divorce rate for people over 60. We have lots of young couples of old people and the question of sex arises. People wonder if they still know how to do it. What the other will think of their body. The men wonder if they can still get a hard-on and the women if they can get wet. We reassure them, we tell them how to get everything started.” “Speech is the first of caresses”, slips the IREPS in one of its videos, as if to remind the importance of communication in the couple.

The psychiatrist uses cruder words, but he assumes. Because the patients to whom they are addressed are adults, they have all lived well and are no longer teenagers, even if certain points unite them. “The body that changes, the relationships that change, the questions. We have the same questions as teenagers. Aude Théaudin-Bourhis is a doctor. Referent of the Agirc-Arrco prevention center, she saw the sexual question arrive at a gallop. According to her, the turn began ten years ago. “Today, people dare to talk about it. There is a reappropriation of desire, of sexuality in the couple. Among men, it seemed as if impotence was coming to an end. Often, in a couple, that’s how it ends. The woman doesn’t dare talk about it, for fear of belittling her man, of offending him. But there is no expiration! »

“I’ve seen 70-year-old women discover orgasm”

This Wednesday, the doctor will host a conference in Rennes on the theme of “Love at any age”. According to her, the questions are the same at 40 as at 70. Will my body please him? Am I desirable with my little belly and my stretch marks? “You shouldn’t stop your sexuality, but adapt it to your body, to your desires. I have seen 70-year-old women finally discover their sexuality and find orgasm”. With the psychologist Kiara-Aurore Harel, she will try this Wednesday to explain how sexuality can endure. “It’s a generation that is getting older but still very fit compared to its elders. His sexuality is broader, more varied. She doesn’t just focus on penetration. Society gives a youthful view of sexuality. It must be dynamic, fast. The elders do not identify with this image. They have experience, they know what they want, what they like”. His colleague is quick to recall the role of the Web in this revolution. “The Internet offers the possibility for seniors to get information, they exchange with each other, they discuss”. And they don’t just talk about knitting.

The problem with the theme of sex among seniors is that it upsets much more than just the first concerned. If they wonder about what they have “the right” to do or not, the over 60s must also face the rarely happy gaze of their children. “Thinking that your parents are fucking is taboo. There is a form of prohibition that remains present”, explains Gérard Ribes. Dr. Théaudin-Bourhis waters down the remarks. “Meeting a new partner can be problematic for the family. Children often want to protect, it’s benevolent, it comes from a good feeling. But we must not deprive someone of their freedom in the belief that they are protecting them”.

If the question arises in families, it is perhaps even more delicate in institutions. While nursing homes are already the target of criticism and are struggling to recruit, they must also face this revolution imposed by grandpa and grandma. “Because you are losing your autonomy, you are no longer allowed to masturbate? asks Dr. Ribes. “Sexuality is a need to be taken into account. Everyone must keep their freedom of choice. Caregivers are starting to be trained but it is very recent, ”says Aude Théaudin-Bourhis.

If the IREPS decided to look into this delicate subject, it is not for nothing. In its desire to support the elders in “aging well”, the regional body also hopes to preserve their health. To all those who still read us, we are going to deliver a scoop, which each of our interlocutors has agreed to share. Love and sexuality are good for your health. And there is no age to enjoy it.

Source: 20minutes

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