Yes, baby boomers and senior citizens are still having sex, and they are having more of it compared to people their age decades ago. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 67 percent of men and 39 percent of women aged 65 to 74 surveyed are still sexually active; 38 percent of men aged 75 to 85 reported the same.
I know this may sound disgusting, if not ridiculous to some readers. Many teens and young adults cannot even begin to imagine how their middle-aged parents can still be sexual beings. So how much if it were their lolos and lolas? I can hear a resounding "Ewww"...
This is especially true for us Filipinos. Our concept of lolo and lola are those old people whom we visit on weekends and special occasions, wearing eyeglasses, wearing conservative clothes. Many of our grannies have retired and have been making themselves busy by serving their Church or enjoying the company of other seniors -- playing bingo on the weekend, ballroom dancing or belting out tunes on the videoke.
We also grew up with our grandparents' teachings on the Ten Commandments and the Seven Capital Sins, based on Catholic doctrine. They listen to every word we say and are quick to reprimand us if they hear the slightest hint of malice or profanity from us. “Sasabunin ko ang bunganga mo kapag nagsalita ka uli ng ganyan!,” was their usual warning.
Our lolos and lolas, pretty much like most of our parents, are also not big fans of "public displays of affection." Many Filipinos did not grow up seeing their folks do anything sexually suggestive in their presence. Discussions about sex and intimacy are also taboo in a lot of Pinoy households -- and we're okay with that. To most Pinoys, parents (and grandparents) will always be the paragons of virtue.
But, times have changed and cultures have evolved. Statistical evidence does not lie -- even senior citizens are still indulging themselves sexually.
Perhaps our modern-day society has become more open-minded and accepting about the concept of sex. Perhaps it's also because of the power of science to make age-defying breakthroughs -- both for men and women -- when it comes to sexual performance and enjoyment.
Men can take the blue pill to treat erectile dysfunction. Women can use lubricants to make up for vaginal dryness that comes with menopause. There are more movies, TV shows and reading materials that can set the mood for a fiery, romantic and intimate moment -- solving the problem of diminished interest in sex, especially for older women.
It can also be because older women are more aware now of why their husbands philander -- because their need for sex and intimacy could no longer be satisfied by their wives, who would rather take care of grandchildren, clean the house, cook, crochet, or socialize in Facebook.
Many of these women have learned to psyche themselves up to work on maintaining their sexuality, by taking care of their bodies and by being responsive to their husband’s sexual appetite. This is their way of keeping the marriage and saving the family!
Those with open minds will regard this as good news, right?
But there is a downside to this development. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STD rates are up by almost 50 percent for men over 40, between 1996 and 2008. Moreover, studies have also shown that men over 50 -- regardless of marital status -- are six times less likely to use condoms than men in their 20s, partly because, by that age, they (and their partners) are less worried about pregnancy.
As concern for sexually transmitted diseases grows, it seems likely that US taxpayers will have to pay for the STD screenings of seniors. But more than this, it is imperative for lolos and the lolas to benefit from lessons on safe sex that their grandchildren can learn as early as middle school.
Yes, studies show the seniors are having sex with their spouses. Others have been widowed, separated or divorced and are having intimate moments with their their girlfriends and boyfriends. Some have sex with other senior citizens in nursing homes!
I do not know how those who oppose the passage of the Republic Health Bill in the Philippines will respond to this news. While this a US issue, I am guessing the same reality is also happening among senior citizens in the Philippines.
Going back to the arguments of ultra-conservative and religious people that sex is meant for procreation and that one should not to give in to the baser instinct of sexual desire -- are these lolos and lolas committing mortal sin? Can their continuing sexual relations be considered yielding to the call of lust which is one of the seven capital sins? After all, they can no longer bear children. Must there be safe sex education not only for the young ones but also for the really old?
This issue will make the debate on the RH Bill even more complicated and exciting!