Boomers are facing the ‘use it or lose it’ dilemma so they’re redefining their sexuality.
By Luke Vorstermans
The first wave of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) hit 60 this year and good health is a top priority. One area of increasing concern is their waning sexual health. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that 72 percent of the respondents said physical intimacy was more important than having enough money. However, when asked to rate their intimate relationship, over half claimed it was unsatisfactory. Like their bulging waists and weathering skin, the boomer’s sexual health is also showing the effects of aging.
Contemplating the ‘use it or lose it’ option, boomers are keen to put some energy into their sex lives. Reconnecting with their sexuality has become a booming trend. TV talk shows, sex columns, books, sex shops, DVDs and online erotica are all flourishing venues to explore and discover new attitudes on sex.
Sex therapist Dr. Joy Davidson, PhD., author of Fearless Sex says that dialogue on sexuality has become more public and points to the Internet as a major influence. “It’s had a dramatic impact on sexual openness, with online communities springing up to discuss just about every aspect of sexual expression. Shopping online also avoids the embarrassment of going into a sex shop to buy sex aids and toys.”
Another factor bringing sexuality to the forefront is menopause. Slightly over half of the boomers are women, and with the average age of menopause at 51, most of them will experience menopause by the year 2012, if they haven't already. As can be expected, boomers aren’t buying into the old attitude that entering menopause means the end of satisfying sex.
Menopause is now viewed as a time to re-discover oneself and chart the course for the next 20, 30 or 40 years. No longer constrained by monthly periods, birth control concerns and maternal instincts, women are free to be sexy, flirty and hot, even if they are in their 50’s. As anthropologist Margaret Mead said over 20 years ago, “There is no more creative force in the world than a menopausal woman with zest.”
Liz Paul, who was awarded the 2003 British Female Inventor of the Year award for her efforts to enhance female sexual health, sees menopause as an opportunity to get more sexual. Working with one of the leading researchers in aromachology, she developed an aroma patch that is designed to boost the waning libidos of both women and men. Launched in the U.K. last year, Scentuelle has become a major sexual enhancement aid in Europe.
“Sexual desire isn’t just about the motion,” says Paul. “A women’s sexual desire starts on the inside as an emotion. Isn’t that where the focus should be?” The patch is being launched in the US this fall and is expected to be a huge hit with the boomer crowd.
Sex shops are being repositioned with erotic names like Our Pleasure Boutique, BabeLand and Liberator. On shelves lined with numerous variations of vibrators, you’ll find arousal oils, sexy lingerie, vibrating rings that fit male genitalia, pleasure-enhancing creams and a whole variety of other delectable items to heighten the enjoyment of both partners.
Along with pumping iron and aerobic exercise to prop up their aging bodies, women are toning their pelvic muscles often weakened from childbirth and the natural aging process. Along with simple Kegel exercises, pelvic toning systems are designed to give women more control over the intensity of their orgasms. The added bonus is that healthy pelvic muscles prevent another aging – and embarrassing issue – incontinence.
Sexual health is not just about sex but more importantly, enhancing sexuality. To combat old attitudes that sexuality turns off at middle age, boomers are experimenting with a variety of new techniques to spice up their sex lives, recharging their libidos and enjoying a deeper intimacy with their partners – or by themselves.
Where will the boomers take this new interest in their sexual health? Like the sexual revolution of the 60s that led to a change in society’s attitudes towards sex, the boomers are redefining the attitudes on sex and aging and setting the stage for a new expression of mature love.