Sex Among The Elderly: Is The Society Ready Yet?

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 27, 2013 4:37 PM EST

A recent incident that took place last week raised eyebrows among many all over the world. An elderly man from Canberra lodged a metal fork in his private part while he was masturbating. Many called this bizarre while some others considered this 'abnormal' because of his age.

Another incident on Christmas 2009 changed the life of Karen Etter who was fired from an Iowa nursing home, Windmill Manor. She was the director of nursing in the institution during those days. She got fired after one of the male patients, 78, had sex with another, 87. Both of them were suffering from dementia. Additionally, the administrator of Windmill Manor, Steve Drobot, was also fired.

Both the incidents prove two things in particular. First, one cannot ignore the importance of sex even at a very rich age. Two, the society may not be ready yet to accept the fact yet.

There are about 16,000 care facilities in the U.S. only for the elderly. Strangely, almost all of those have ignored an important part of their life: Sex. If this is the scenario for a country that has a comparatively liberal attitude regarding sex, one may wonder what happens to more orthodox Asian countries.

Most of the elderly in America at the moment grew up during the sexual revolution in the 60s. There is every possibility that they will raise moral, ethical and even legal queries on the issue.

The New England Journal of Medicine study published in 2007 says that 53 per cent of people who are aged anywhere between 65 and 74 are reported to be sexually active. On the other hand, 26 per cent of those aged between 75 and 85 are active in their sexual life as well. The sexual activities, they reported, involve fondling, kissing or intercourse. Half of the active people among the seniors admit having sex 2-3 times in a month.

Over 45 million are at least 65 in North America. Over 5 million suffer from Alzheimer's in the U.S. only. It is about half a million in Canada. Nevertheless, the desire to be loved on the physical level is not something that dies off with age.

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