Not that sex is unimportant for younger folk. Not at all. But so much is written about sex for young people and so little about sex for Seniors, that the ideas get skewed just by the sheer volume. There is still an ick factor when we speak of Seniors having sex. Even among Seniors themselves, there is an aversion to thoughts of sex. Many people, at some arbitrary age, make a decision to stop having sex.
Women are the largest group to abandon sex. That is partly, maybe mostly, because we were never taught about healthy sex when we were young. It was a taboo subject. If we did have sex education, it was designed to keep the girls from having sex with their boyfriend. Yes, sometimes they did see a pen and ink drawing of the female genitalia and occasionally those of the males, but the message was Keep Off. Of course, our teachers had been brought up that way too. I had a high school biology teacher (Let that sink in) who blushed to write the word “Penis” on the blackboard.
We will get to the message given to the boys in a moment. But for now, consider how this message which the girls got on a regular basis affected their lifelong sex lives. The message most often was, “Boys and men will always want sex. It is your job to fend them off, at least until they have made a firm commitment to marriage. Then, and only then, it is your job to fulfill this needs of your husband. You will not enjoy it of course, it is gross and ugly and messy, but that is the way nature (God) has set up for procreation. Procreation is the only legitimate reason for sex. So if your husband or you happen to enjoy it, that is a secondary benefit factor.”
Boys got a different message. “Girls have this golden treasure that they deliberately hide. You are a searcher, an explorer, trying to convince/force/cajole every woman into allowing you to have sex with her. When you do, you will be giving her a wonderful gift.” The ancient idea, that the males carried the seed, which they plant in the woman is carried forward to this day by the use of the phrases like “I plowed her” “I planted her deep”. Women “beg for it”
I would like to say that things have changed, and in a few school districts, they have. The idea that sex is pleasurable for both men and women is sometimes being taught. Of course, the big change is that some schools are teaching about contraception which makes sex available for pleasure. But there is still a large swath of schools which still promote the abstinence until marriage rule/idea.
As we age, we often still carry the remnants of our early attitudes about sex. And these attitudes have disastrous consequences both for men and women. It is even worse for older people from strong religious backgrounds. Not all religion is anti-sex. In fact, some religious faiths celebrate sex.
Some religions see sex as spiritual as much as physical. We are joined by sex, to one another, and it a very real sense, we become one with each other without relinquishing our self-hood.
I will be writing much more about the spirituality of sex in later articles but for now, let’s just enumerate the three most important reasons for sex.
- It is pleasurable. No one would argue against the reality that it is among the most pleasurable activities in which humans engage.
If I have to explain this, I’m dumbfounded. The main purpose of most sex is pleasure. The best, is pleasure for both parties.
- It is immensely healthy. We know that people who have healthy sex lives live longer, happier lives.
There are research studies at medical schools like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, The University of Auckland and elsewhere.
- It is or can be, intensely spiritual.
Judaism, Christianity, and many other religions acknowledge the depth spirituality of sex.
Happy Valentine Day. Make love to your lover/partner/wife/husband. Or make love to yourself.