Countdown to SFS15: Sexuality and Aging

We are less than a month away from Woodhull’s 2015 Sexual Freedom Summit! We’re thrilled that it’s almost time to share a weekend full of provocative thinking, maybe a little provocative dancing, and some collaborative activism in the fight towards sexual freedom. Just in case you aren’t already counting down the days until August 13th (and if you need another reason to register if you haven’t already…!), I’m going to highlight some of the most thrilling aspects of one of the most taboo topics we’ll be talking about at the Summit: sex and aging.

If you didn’t know, one of our daylong institutes this year is Sexuality and Aging, brought to the Summit in partnership with Widener University’s Sexuality and Aging Consortium. Senior sex is often silenced, dismissed, and assumed to be nonexistent. People don’t lose their sexuality as they get older. For you younger folks out there: would you want to stop being sexual once you hit a certain age? Didn’t think so.

From playtime, to dementia, to beauty standards, to doctor appointments, we’ve got all of your aging sexual needs covered. Here are just a few of the workshops and speakers we think will make you start walking to the Alexandria Hilton Mark Center right now! (That’s where we’re meeting, in case you missed the memo.)

Gayle Appel Doll, Ph.D.
Gayle Appel Doll, Ph.D.

“Sexuality and Dementia: Strange Bedfellows”

  • Speaker: Gayle Appel Doll, Ph.D. who is the director of the Center of Aging at Kansas State University. She also shared her wisdom in a New York Times article about a sexual abuse case involving a spouse with Alzheimer’s.
  • The questions: How do we talk about sexual consent in terms of someone who can’t remember where to wash their hands? Why aren’t there long-term care policies for when dementia and sex cross paths?
  • What you’ll learn: Borrowing from her own training practices, Doll will help us to understand the needs of patients in long-term care and how to establish policies that will look out for their safety and happiness.

“Embracing the Beauty of the Aging Body”

  • Speakers: Melanie Davis, who is the Program Associate for the Our Whole Lives curriculum. Also featuring Robin Goldberg-Glen, who is a faculty member at Widener University.
  • The questions: Why are beauty standards and sexual appeal only targeted at young people? Why aren’t wrinkles considered sexy?
  • What you’ll learn: Davis and Goldberg-Glen will show us how to fight ageist messages and re-frame them for sexual self-esteem. You’re sexy and powerful at any age! We’ll be watching videos, looking at pictures, and doing lots of activities in this interactive workshop.

“What’s So Funny? Using Humor to Open the Doors to Sexuality Discussions with Aging Adults”

  • Speakers: Jane Fleishman, who is co-chair of the Institute, and Ashley Mader, the editor of the online publication SHINE: Sexual Health in a New Era.
  • The questions: How do we start conversations about STIs without freezing in fear? How do we laugh about an uncomfortable topic without saying that senior sexuality is a joke?
  • What you’ll learn: Providers and older adults alike are invited to try out some ways to break the ice with laughs about changing bodies and desires. You’ll be leaving with a smile on your face!

“What Your Clients are Not Asking You About Sex”

Joan Price
Joan Price
  • Speaker: Joan Price, an all-star advocate for aging sexuality and author of several best-selling books on senior sexuality, including Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex (you can get your copy signed at the book signing!)
  • The questions: Why is Joan Price receiving so many questions about sex after 50 while there are crickets during conversations with healthcare providers? Why do we feel uncomfortable sharing our hopes, fears, and desires as we get older?
  • What you’ll learn: Price shares her most-asked questions to see what aging adults want to know about sex. She’ll also be sharing tips with providers on how to crack these conversations with their clients, before they email her instead!

Attend a whole day of sexuality and aging or drop into just one workshop, it’s up to you!

Many of these workshops are also available for Continuing Education Credits. (Check out the schedule for all workshops labeled with “CE”!) We can’t wait to talk about being sexy at any age at these presentations!


What are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, click here to register for the Sexual Freedom Summit today!