Sex and the single senior

DSCF0108-2-2                                                Sex and the Single Senior

Most of us prefer the buddy system. Whatever our age, having a partner is usually preferable to going solo, although partnering is not mandatory for a high quality of life whatever your age.

The statistical probability of one partner dying before the other is obvious. And divorce happens at any age. Therefore it is likely that an older person will at some point be in a new relationship and that may lead to a monogamous commitment.

Hazards are huge. Rather than entering into a partnership or marriage as an unencumbered 20 something, older people often have houses, adult children, grandchildren, and a host of burdens and assets.

Adult children are often aghast at the notion of mom or dad remarrying. No one can replace a parent. Of course not.

But we are all entitled to love, affection, intimacy, and relationships, whatever our age. We not talking about who gets mom’s pearls, although that can be an issue. Often the accumulations of a lifetime and the assets of a family are intricately involved in a late-life marriage.

From homes and bank accounts, to tchotchkes and teapots, get a pre-nuptial agreement.  It’s the only way that your grown-up kids might bless your marriage. Have frank discussions with your prospective spouse and your family. This might also be a good tome to review and document your end-of-life preferences.

On the topic of sex over 60, I refer you, dear reader, to famous gerontologist Robert Butler. He co-authored The New Love and Sex After Sixty with Myrna Lewis. Physical affection is a life-long human need and they have great advice to keep the home fires burning.

Also, keep in mind that STDs can also occur at any age. Sometimes older people, especially those that spent most of their adulthood in the same monogamous relationship, may not be aware of the dangers of not using condoms. They make a great insert to a birthday or Valentine’s Day card!

Published by jeannettefranks

Jeannette Franks, PhD, is a passionate gerontologist and for over 20 years has taught ethics, grief and loss, and courses on geriatrics and gerontology for the University of Washington. Franks' most recent book is, To Move or To Stay Put: A Guide for Your Last Decades. Look for it now on the University Bookstore website It is also available at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge. Franks previously published a definitive guide to independent and assisted living titled Washington Retirement Options, and often speaks on retirement options, disability issues, end-of-life issues and is an advocate for accessibility. She has a goal of making Bainbridge an elder-friendly community and is available to groups and families to discuss these issues. She served for nine years on the Kitsap County Advisory Council on Aging and Long-term Care. She also has the privilege of working in a small way for the past 15 years with the Suquamish tribal elders.

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