If society portrays older men as invisible do they eventually lose their desire to be desirable? It’s easy to fall into a trap and believe that only young people have sexual desire because they are physically desirable. Popular media points to the physical desirability of youth through beauty products, exercise equipment and plastic surgery, and that ageing is to be avoided at any cost. The world is awash with highly sexualised images of young people. But how often do sexual images of older people appear in print, television media or online? Why is society so fearful of acknowledging that older men and women have a physicality and sexuality?
There are many biased views of older men and women – here are a few stereotypes:
- Older adults are asexual or not interested in sexual relations.
- Older adults who demonstrate an interest in sex are abnormal.
- It is acceptable for older men to marry younger women but not for older women to marry younger men.
- Older men who engage in sexual relationships are considered virile yet lecherous. Older women who engage in sex are considered amoral or abnormal because it is assumed they lose interest in sex after menopause.
- Older persons should be segregated by gender in nursing homes to avoid problems for staff and criticism from family and community members.
In recent years pharmaceutical companies have recognised the buying power of the baby boomer dollar. We are now seeing regular ads for Viagra in the media. But the older man’s sexuality is being treated as a medical condition. Society is still not acknowledging older men have natural desire. Their sexuality is veiled behind the medical condition of penile dysfunction. Society is yet to acknowledge and accept the genuine desire for older men to have an open and healthy vigorous sex life. Are older men being forced into a closet that same sex attracted men took so many years to get out of?
Christopher Swane - Counselling And Psychotherapy For Men - Wellington New Zealand