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Why Baby Boomers Need Sex Education

Why Baby Boomers Need Sex Education

By Susan Williams

As you get older, life can still be filled with things you never thought you would be doing.

For example – I never, ever imagined that one day I might be a blogger. Having now written over 250 posts, I guess I could now say I’ve flown past that expectation.

Secondly – in addition to the fact that I never thought I would be a blogger, what was even further from this thought was that I would ever write about the topic of sex.

You would think that by the time we all hit 50+, we would be quite knowledgeable about sex.

Afterall, baby boomers were the ones that came up with the whole idea of “free love” and were the first generation to truly embrace “the pill“.  We were also the generation to have had the most number of sexual partners (baby boomers average 11 partners – compared with millennials average of 8). And chances are we have even educated our own children about the topic.

So why do we need to talk about sex now?

With the increase in older people dating (often due to later divorce or death of a partner), many older people are now having unprotected sex. As a result, the increase of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for older people is skyrocketing.

In a report by Global News about sexually active seniors, they shared the following statistics;

“According to Health Canada, national rates of STIs for people 60 and over are relatively low, but since the early 2000s, the number of cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea have increased significantly among seniors….. They represent a five per cent increase in syphilis, a 142 per cent increase in chlamydia and an 87 per cent rise in gonorrhea.”

And the situation isn’t any different in the US. STDAware also reported some significant increases in the rates of STD’s for individuals over 50;

“…recent studies have shown that STDs in the 50 to 70 age group have increased 38 percent from 2014 to 2017…. people over 50 years old made up 21 percent of new HIV diagnoses.”

So, why is this happening?

There are a number of reasons being cited;

No Longer a Fear of Pregnancy

When baby boomers started having sex, pregnancy was often the first and only issue that was considered. Now that this potentially is no longer a concern for older couples, protection is often not thought of as being necessary.

Previous Sexual Partner History

Often many older people had previous long term sexual relationships where protection was not necessary. They are taking these same assumptions from old relationships into new sexual encounters without considering the possible consequences.

Unaware of Symptoms

Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) often can be existent without any specific symptoms. So if someone is infected, they may not even know it.

Physicians Don’t Ask

Many times discussion about sexual health and activity is not discussed by healthcare professionals. There can sometimes be a preconceived belief that older individuals are not sexually active.

So what needs to be done?

Use Protection

Think about it. What advice would you give to someone else considering having a new sexual encounter? Chances are you would say something like “be sure that you use protection“. We need to now re-embrace that same philosophy ourselves. As much as we might want to believe that we either know someone or think there is no way that they could possibly have an STI or pose a risk to us, there is still a possibility. We wouldn’t be seeing these increasing rates in STI’s if there wasn’t.

And what if your partner doesn’t want to use protection? The UK National Health Service (NHS) provides some suggestions on how to manage that situation here.

Get Tested First

If you are wanting to have unprotected sex, get tested first (and make sure your partner has been tested as well). And if you think that the testing is part of your general physical conducted by your physician that is more than likely not the case. You will need to request the test.

Having a healthy, happy, fulfilling sex life at an older age can be a wonderful thing. We just need to make sure that we keep it just that – healthy.

Here’s an example of just how times are shifting. This ad may be a little uncomfortable and possibly even a bit cringe worthy – but there is probably an important underlying message that we need to pay attention to.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.