Senior Sex

29 Sep

Letterbalm Older CoupleDear LetterBalm: I’ve been dating a man for a month. Both of us are divorced seniors (I’m 66, he’s 69). We aren’t serious or anything, so the sex is casual, and we aren’t exclusive. He’s said that he has several other older lovers, which I’m O.K. with. But something is bothering me. He doesn’t use a condom with any of us. He claims that if a woman is clean, there’s no problem, and he says we’re all too old to get a sexually transmitted disease including HIV. Is any of this true? I’m afraid that if I tell him that he and I need protection when we have sex from now on, I’ll drive him away, and the sex is really good. What should I say?

–Last of the Red-Hot Lovers

Where to begin? Visualize an apartment complex jammed with twenty-somethings. Add 40-plus years. Put a group of sexually-active seniors together in close proximity, add Viagra and ignorance about safe sex, and you have copulation disaster. One is never too old to get an STD, including HIV. There’s no age immunity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia infections among Americans 65 and over increased by 31 percent and syphilis by 52 percent. Those 55 and older accounted for 19 percent of HIV-infected persons in 2010 and more likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection later in the course of the disease, which makes treatment more challenging. All this is due in part to Viagra, Cialis and the mistaken belief that condoms are unnecessary. The 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that condoms were used in only about 6 percent of sexual encounters among those 61 and older, and it’s likely this statistic has remained unchanged. So, Ms. L.B. says: Talk with your guy right away. If he won’t use protection every time, stop seeing him. In any case, get tested for STDs. Don’t buy his bluster or spare his feelings:

Milton, we must have a serious talk. I’m not concerned that our dating relationship isn’t exclusive. If you’re seeing others, that’s no problem for me. What is a problem is that you’re not using protection. I’ve done research. Age doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. You’re playing sexual Russian roulette with yourself, me, your other women and every sexual partner those women have ever had. It could be hundreds of people. And, you’re putting me and everyone at risk. Unless you get tested for STDs – which I’m doing this week – and use latex condoms every time you have sex, we’re over. The danger isn’t worth it. If you don’t stop your reckless behavior, it could have disastrous consequences.

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