Community Q&A As you get older, you may find that the thought of dating can become more than a little bit daunting.If you're over the age of sixty and single, the mere idea of 'getting back out there' may be enough to scare you off. But by recognizing your fears and pushing past them, you will find that the dating scene hasn't changed as much as you may think. A happy, fulfilling relationship is within everybody's grasp - regardless of their age.
Experts say such derogatory labels reflect a deep level of discomfort in our youth-oriented culture with the idea that seniors are sexually active.Sex is identified with reproduction, youthful attractiveness, and power -- and most young and even middle-aged people do not want to confront the inevitability of growing old.So sexual intimacy among older Americans is a subject that people don't talk about much.The silence, say experts, allows misconceptions to flourish -- including the widespread assumption that seniors lose interest in sex and are, or should be, asexual.But armed with a spate of studies that help dispel the myth that older people don't have sex or enjoy it, experts say the negative stereotypes couldn't be farther from the truth.
"There is no age limit on sexuality and sexual activity," reports Stephanie A.
Sanders, Ph D, associate director of the sexual research group The Kinsey Institute.
While the frequency or ability to perform sexually will generally decline modestly as seniors experience the normal physiological changes that accompany aging, reports show that the majority of men and women between the ages of 50 and 80 are still enthusiastic about sex and intimacy.
"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. Bortz, a professor at Stanford Medical School, is past president of the American Geriatrics Society and former co-chair of the American Medical Association's Task Force on Aging.
"If you stay interested, stay healthy, stay off medications, and have a good mate, then you can have good sex all the way to the end of life," he says. The more intimate the connection, the more powerful the effects." But older people may encounter an obstacle they hadn't expected: their adult children, who may be less than pleased to see their aging parents as sexual beings.