I’ve been wanting to write a column about senior dating, but I haven’t had much success in finding people who are doing it, or at least talking about it.
Since I mostly hang out with women, I’ve heard a few tidbits from them I find interesting. Many of my older women friends are widows, and none of them are interested in marrying again. “I already took care of a sick husband” is the mantra I hear most often. I occasionally hear stories about women who’ve unexpectedly found love at an older age, and it usually involves money, nice homes and travel. I do hear stories about women who’ve found fulfilling lives for themselves; women who might like a part-time partner but don’t want to cede their space anymore; and women who opine that the available men in their age group are not appealing and in any case the men want younger women.
This last “fact” comes from friends who had tried the dating scene, Internet or otherwise, and found it awful for our age group. The men, no prizes themselves, were dismissive and sometimes even rude. There were no call-backs. These women soon went back to their single lives, determined to make them even better than before.
I’m sure men have their own stories, but I do have a few male friends and the overall theme is they want attractiveness, youth and the wish for women to cater to their desires and wishes. Needless to say, these men get my hackles up. I find their attitudes hard to tolerate. I know very many terrific, accomplished and delightful older women who may not look like “the girl of their dreams.”
I hope I don’t get angry mail for this column, and I admit this is purely personal experience, but none of it is invented. Limited, true, but not made up. I’d love to hear more on the topic, especially from men. Maybe I’m being unfair. If so, I’d sure like to hear about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about sex? Well, some are and some aren’t and some ain’t saying. An older couple I know have “virtual sex.” I assume that means that it’s all in their minds and memories. Some of my older friends have actual sex, but not very often. Most of my really older friends don’t have partners and say they don’t miss sex. In fact, the idea causes incredulous laughter. The few honest conversations I’ve had have a few themes. No partner, no interest, or much less interest than when young (with some regret mixed in about that). Partnered women often don’t open up much about this.
I remember many many years ago when my childrens’ 90-year-old grandfather was in a nursing home. His son (their father) was told that the old man was “still sexually active.” I remember laughing my head off. But I know from a friend who was a social worker in a nursing home that it’s true for many old folks, really old folks. For some, the need and desire for sex never dies.
So, as with anything else human, it varies. But, sadly, the urgency of youth does wane considerably, even in sexually active seniors. Hormones wind down for men and women. Menopause causes its own problems. Like everything else with old age, acceptance is the key.
I may never snorkel again. I certainly won’t climb a mountain. For others, adventure travel may be over, though a nice beach will still beckon. Sexually speaking, that nice beach may be hugging and affection, or the affectionate sex of a long-time partnership. Or not. Nothing is going to be as it was, and that includes sex.
It may or may not disappear entirely from one’s life, but the urgency of youth is gone. Sometimes sex and arthritis or the other conditions of old age don’t mix.
Anything good on TV tonight?