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Love After Sixty

"We are now learning that without question, sexual well-being is a key part of aging."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Love1.jpg
Photo by Kc Gunn

Len, 80, and Joyce, 75, live in the Boston area and have been dating for more than 10 years. Len, who was widowed after 44 years, says his wife's illness stifled intimacy for the last part of his marriage. But when he kissed Joyce goodnight after their first date, "it woke something up in both of us."

"We're hot stuff together," he gushes.

Sam, 66, after first being married and then in a 30-year relationship with a man, is currently single and dating four different men in Chicago. He's careful to practice safe sex and has come to love the variety. "I doubt if I could be with one person again. The freedom of sex and dating is so much more when you're over 60," he says, but in the next breath admits that he hasn't given up on finding a good romantic relationship.

Elissa, who is just shy of 60 years old, has been widowed since 2003. She lives alone in Daly City, California and meets new potential suitors online and through activities she enjoys, such as bird watching and volunteering as an usher at classical concerts. She laments the absence of speed dating as an option for people her age.

Welcome to the new sexual revolution.

Even if you missed out on the Summer of Love in ‘67, you can still step aboard this train. It's a slower, subtler ride, but as researchers and people over 60 are discovering, one that's absolutely worth our while.

As it turns out, intimacy and lovemaking aren't really so different than they were in our youth. What changes most is our motivation—and the way sex for the older crowd is perceived.

No longer consumed with finding Mr. or Mrs. Right and having a family, older folks are finding that sex can actually feel more connected and fulfilling with age. And although society at large has yet to fully embrace the notion of older people as sexual beings, a seismic shift is underway.

Whether it's the sheer number of boomers walking the planet, or a more universal change in our collective view of what it means to age, both the media and the hallowed halls of research are beginning to acknowledge that there is indeed life—and yes, yes, YES!—great sex after 60.

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