Thursday, July 17, 2008

Senior Sex Makes News

Cohabiting among older people increased 50 percent from 2000 to 2006, the McClatchy Newspapers report today:

"The total--1.8 million--counts only couples who live together full time and were willing to admit it to census interviewers. Part-time cohabiting--traveling together, sharing a summer house, spending weekends together--is up at least as sharply, according to seniors and people who work with them."

This news about the growth of "love expectancy" may come as a shock to younger generations, whose sophistication does not extend to the notion that parents and grandparents, despite all the evidence of Viagra commercials, may not be immune to a culture of supersex on TV and in the movies.

On a family weekend celebrating his 75th birthday, a friend of mine and his wife went to bed early. Their youngest son, staying in the spare room, came back from an evening out and heard what he later described as “this Godawful scream."

Afraid that his father was having a heart attack, he called through the closed door. “Dad, are you all right?” After a moment of silence, he heard laughter, muffled at first, then louder. “It’s OK,” his mother giggled, “we’re making love.”

Few septuagenarians shock their grown children this way, but any evidence of love-making can come as a surprise. A young married woman, seeing a bottle of baby oil on her parents’ nightstand, opened her eyes wide, startled, and then smiled knowingly at them.

For the solitary, the new report discloses, finding partners is much easier than it used to be. According to the Internet-dating industry, the number of seniors joining online dating services has risen at double-digit rates annually since 2003, the most of any age group.

If they do further research, anthropologists may discover that senior sex does not bear much resemblance to those Cinemax closeups of satiny skin in pneumatic moves that make Extreme Fighting look tame. But then again, younger people have always underrated the pleasures of closeness and companionship.

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