So I came across a nice news story the other day;
“Men are more likely than women to enjoy sex in old age, researchers have found.
Men can expect nearly five extra years of an active sex life compared with women, according to a review of US data surveying about 6,000 people. At 55, men have on average 15 years of sexually active life ahead of them, and women only 10.5 years, the British Medical Journal reports.”
From force of habit I always question this type of new story, in medicine we tend to question all broad sweeping statements, we are a cynical lot or should I say ‘was’ as I’m Mr IT man now and out of medicine. So the reflex is to question stories like this and if it comes from the British Medical Journal, a well respected journal, then it gets even more closely examined, it’s a bit like The Washington Post printing a news story about a London double-decker bus being found on the moon, if it’s printed in that esteemed publication then it ‘must’ be true.
So I’m wondering is this a British survey but interestingly the data set is American, 6000 US citizens and that makes me wonder why the BMJ is publishing research done in the States by the University of Chicago, are Brits just so reticent that they won’t fill in surveys like this or perhaps it’s just considered ‘not the done thing’. And I’m wondering about the limitations of the data, 6,000 Americans is not the world, what about over here in ole Blighty, what about all over Europe…and Asia.. we nurses hate generalisations… which is a generalisation in itself ;)
And statements like this make me raise my eyebrows “The biggest gap was among 75- to 85-year-olds, where 38.9% of men said they were sexually active, compared with 16.8% of women. Another 41.2% of the men were interested in sex, compared with 11.4% of the women.” I’m not sure how this works, does this mean 30% of men are interested in sex but have no outlet apart from the Internet or is it that men are more likely to brag about their interest in sex (surely not! I hear you say) where-as woman I suspect might be more inclined to tell the truth.
I’m banging on about this (excuse the pun) because my own experience differs, and I’m turning fifty next month and papers like this suddenly interest me, I’m keen to know what to expect or perhaps, according to that paper, what ‘not’ to expect..
Of course it’s all very individual and the people I have talked to seem to have vastly different experiences from what the research implies. The English are meant to be cold unimaginative lovers (a vicious rumour put out by the French;) but my experience is somewhat different from that stereotype. I know of one grandmother in particular who wore out three husbands well into their eighties and this was before little blue pills come on the market. She got married late and discovered the pleasure of slowly making love all weekend long. Husband no. 1 sadly passed away suddenly and she quickly married hubby no.2 and they went at it like rabbits. He turned out to be a bit of a shit so they split up when they were both mid sixties and I thought that was that, at least until one day I popped around for a visit only to hear moans of delight coming from her open bedroom window as she engaged in rumpy-pumpy with her latest beau, and she was in her eighties then. Seems I have lots to look forward to..
I have a theory about sex that seems logical to me but I’m sure everyone will say is ridiculous. Bare with me here, (groan!) but in medicine there is what is called Late Onset Diabetes, it’s were someone is getting on in age, say about 50 and suddenly they develop diabetes despite having no history of it in the family, it’s a mild form of diabetes and can usually be treated by tablets or just diet control but rarely needs insulin injections..
The theory goes that nature has given us a limited ability to produce insulin in our bodies, it is thought that normally there is enough capacity for a lifetime in our Islets Of Langerhans but because of all the extra sugars in western diets some folk have exhausted their ability to make insulin before they are designed to and thus get to 50/60 and suddenly become diabetic.. It’s a controversial theory and a lot of endocrinologist dispute it, but in the same way one has a certain amount of insulin in your lifetime, so too I think we get to have a limited amount of sex in our lives, ‘Late Onset Sex’. I talked to Wilkie, the athletic grandmother and she kind’a confirmed this, it seems that until she hit forty she had absolutely no interest in sex, not even by herself but it seems that the older she got the more she liked it..
And when I look at Helen Mirren and how delightful and happy she looks at 65 then I’m beginning to think that perhaps Late Onset Sex may actually be something to look forward to. I know it’s only anecdotal evidence but discreetly chatting to others of a certain age seems to bear this out. I am resisting the temptation to ask my 84yr old mother and her toyboy…
I’m kind’s hoping that this ‘Late Onset Sex’ theory is equally valid and we all get to have a certain amount of sex in our lives before we kick the bucket, as coming from Norn Iron, a virtual monastery regarding all things sex until you get married, then one got to have very little sex at a time when one is a walking erection, well – obviously very little sex with ‘someone else’ ;)
I’m reading a book at the moment, Passionate Marriage, and it gives me hope for lots of sex for the next thirty years and for a number of reasons, not just because I had far less sex that my friends (apparently; either that or they are lying buggers) and therefore the Universe probably wants a balance in my (sex) life and not just because of what the ummm much older generation tell me but because it seems we settle into a different kind of sex past 50, it becomes deeper and more intense, like the sex you have as a young man is all about orgasms and frequency but once you hit 50 then you experience sex at a whole different level, you relax about orgasms and count and performance and just do it for the how it makes both of you feel, it’s like the sex you have before is just sex but at 50+ it works at a whole different level, grown up sex is what I’d call it, and the intensity and passion is beyond what you have when you are a kid and because of this passion, this intensity, you want to experience it more and more often and because of all that deeply shared intimacy you become even closer still, a virtuous vicious circle for a change..
Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part as my 50th approaches but I’ll do my best to report back when I’m the same age as my mother in 35 years time, assuming of course I’m not completely shagged out ;)