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Invisible Seniors: Older-Age Sexuality as a Human Right
August 17, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am
“We’re sexual beings from the day we’re born until the day we die. When I am 95, I will still be a sexual person.” – Joycelyn Elders, former United States Surgeon General
Is our work truly inclusive of seniors? Or do we assume, like most of our society, that our elders are no longer sexual and no longer interested? From there, it’s a short hop to seeing seniors as no longer deserving of the medical and educational assistance needed to remain sexual. Our society views people age 60, 70, 80 as having “aged out” of sexuality.
The older we get, the more invisible we become as sexual beings. Researchers ask us the wrong questions – or don’t ask us at all! Our doctors dismiss our concerns or never hear them. Our society defines us by our wrinkles and chronology and assumes we are “done” with sex.
So we seniors fall into accepting that stereotype ourselves, blaming aging for our sexual challenges, assuming there are no solutions and no one to ask. We may be ashamed of our sexual desires, especially if we’re alone after our partner’s death.
As sex educators and activists, we need to understand the problem and be part of the solution. In this interactive session, we’ll question our own misconceptions about seniors and sex, discover where our own education might be lacking, and examine ways to use our professional and our personal communities to become educate and empower seniors. We’ll memorize a “medical mantra” to help seniors discuss sex with medical professionals and counselors. We’ll practice conversations that will mobilize health professionals to be more inclusive of seniors and more knowledgeable about their sexual concerns. We’ll learn the right — and the wrong! — ways to ask seniors about their sex lives and their sexual concerns.