Elderly Among Growing Demographic at Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections

They look pretty happy, to be honest.
They look pretty happy, to be honest.

Despite what some people would like to believe, people in the age bracket that would classify them as 'seniors' still have sex. Not only do they still go to bed together for something other than a snooze, it has come to light in recent years that those who get down and dirty are actually happier than those who keep their hands to themselves.

In 2004, research was carried out by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in relation to whether or not there is a link between sexual activity and happiness in older couples. Among the survey respondents were 238 married individuals who were 65 and older.

The findings pretty much spoke for themselves. Sexual activity was linked with both general and marital happiness, researchers found. Only 40 percent of the individuals who had not had sex in the last 12 months said they were "very happy" with their lives. In comparison, the number of "very happy" people who had sex more than once a month was 60 percent. In fairness, this makes sense to me.

However, no matter how delighted I am that seniors are still enjoying themselves both in and out of the bedroom, there is an unfortunate downside to all of this elderly love.

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STIs are more prevalent than ever before in senior citizens. Numbers of those suffering with chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have more than doubled in the past decade. This is proof that sexual education needs to be aimed at more than just teenagers.

There are a number of reasons explaining the spike in sufferers. Firstly, there is one of the more obvious explanations: women who have been through menopause don't need to worry about getting pregnant. Because of this, elderly couples often forget that there is still a need for condoms.

On top of this, there's the simple fact that more elderly people are ABLE to have sex, thanks to new medications that weren't available a few decades ago.

Charlie Glickman, PhD, the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, says: "With the availability of viagra and other ED medications, more older folks are able to have intercourse than in previous generations. That increases risky behavior.

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He also makes a valid point in saying that "Since we don't offer seniors relevant sex information and many of them keep their sex lives secret (out of concern that their children or nursing home staff will react badly), it means that there's very little conversation about it."

We all need to get over this "ew, that's icky" mentality that we've been adopting when it comes to senior sex. It is imperative that sexual education is provided to all those who need it, not just the younger generations. Sure, it isn't exactly pleasant to think of good old Grandma and Pops getting it on, but wouldn't you rather that than think of them with genital herpes?

Thought so.

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