Single elderly people like sex too

A senior citizens’ building complex in Dublin has all but banned double beds, even though many of the residents want them. Once again here’s proof that elderly people having sex may be the greatest taboo of all.

Once again here’s proof that elderly people having sex may be the greatest taboo of all.

Once again here’s proof that elderly people having sex may be the greatest taboo of all.

 

Now that it’s OK to get married in Ireland if you’re gay, can we accept that single and widowed elderly people like sex too?   Older people are just young people with ageing bodies.  There may be a 70-year-itch. Their emotions and desires are often the same. 

Yet a senior citizens’ building complex in Dublin has all but banned double beds, even though many of the residents want them.  Who wants to sleep in a single bed?  When you’re a student maybe, but over the age of 65, no, you don’t. Whether you’re having sex or not. 

But why assume that the 99 residents of Fr Scully House are going to stay single merely just because they’re living in Fr Scully House?  The fact that they are living as single and widowed in Fr Scully House may greatly diminish their chances of remaining single, in fact.  It’s not a cruise ship but friendships may be forged.

The complex is run by the Catholic Housing Aid Society, although  Dublin City Council has invested €17 million in the project.  CHAS says the mattress limitation is due to storage issues, but there’s only a foot in width between a three and a half wide single bed and a four and a half wide double bed. 

Once again here’s proof that elderly people having sex may be the greatest taboo of all. Fair play to the five residents who have got double beds, with doctors’ notes “for orthopaedic reasons”.  My advice to the other residents is get themselves an orthopaedic problem and a doctor’s letter right away.

Apart from questionable religious reasons, if that’s indeed why the double beds aren’t being allowed, there are social reasons why the idea of old people having sex disgusts a lot of people.  Sexuality is associated with youth.   Old men are “dirty” and old women are “horny”.  However, it’s in their later years that a lot of people really get into their stride. 

 “Touch is so important, older people may still need to stroke and be stroked, to hold and be held and to look into each others’ eyes,” says Irish sexologist Emily Power Smith.

“This obsession with older people having sex outside marriage is the Catholic Church getting way to obsessed about sex yet again.”

In  Scandanavia, residences for older people facilitate intimacy by providing double beds and rooms because research there has shown the benefits for older people in close and intimate relationships, she adds.  “Only society, not physiology, says that people in their 80s and 90s aren’t supposed to be having sex.”

"Use it or lose it," says geriatrics expert Walter M. Bortz, 70, author of three books on healthy aging as well as several studies on seniors' sexuality. A professor at Stanford Medical School, he says that one in five over-65s say their sex lives are the best they have ever been. 

"There's strong data all over: It's a matter of survival. People that have sex live longer,” he says. “People need people. The more intimate the connection, the more powerful the effects."

Fight for those double beds.  We’re all going to get to that age some time.

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