This marvelous PSA dips with aplomb into the Kama Sutra to promote condom use. It’s a response to rising numbers of STI infections in people over 50, among whom rates of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have doubled in the past decade.
First a bit of a rant. The tags for this interview with visionary activist Maggie Kuhn are: Aging gracefully (twice, in case you don’t get the hang of it in one go), Kuhn, Gray Panther(s), Meaning, Potential, and Purpose. Where on earth is Ageism? Interviewer Ken Dychtwald is a high-profile gerontologist and marketer, writing here for the Huffington Post, hardly an internet backwater. How much longer will ageism remain missing from the mainstream mindset?
I knew that applied to neurons and gift certificates, but I had no idea it was true of female genitalia. That tissues grew thinner and dryer after menopause, yes, but not that visitor-free vaginas can actually atrophy: grow shorter and narrower. I didn’t know it because no one ever talked about it, any more than they talked about how people can enjoy satisfying, passionate sex into their 90s—if they make it a priority and embrace the ways sex changes over time.
I missed the 12-12-12 concert in New York's Madison Square Garden to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims and I wish I’d missed this vile write-up in the New York Times. Snarkily titled “The Music Is Timeless, but About the Rockers ...”, it sneered at the star-studded line-up of “retirement-age rock icons,” described their “visible aging” as “tragic,” derided “geriatric acts” like Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters for refusing to “accept with a certain grace the ravages of time,” mocked Iggy Pop’s “freakishly impressive” body and Roger Daltrey’s “snare-tight” abs (“a specimen for his age, to be sure”), and called out these “men of Viagra-taking age” for “violat[ing] an obvious dictum for seniors: keep your clothes on in public.”
Just heard about the work of Joan Price, an author and speaker whose mission is to prove that "society's view of seniors as sexless is wrong, wrong, wrong!" Also to explain how sex changes, for better and worse, as we age. That's the topic of her award-winning book Naked At Our Age, which I'm ordering today.
Last March I questioned novelist Louis Begley's grim assessment of the "awful discontents" of his and his mother’s later years. How surprising and pleasing, then, to come across this elegy to his wife of many years in yesterday’s New York Times. It tells how the "handiwork of time" has enabled him to become more worthy of her, and to love her - and much else about his life - better and more deeply as the decades passed.
“There’s an interesting story in the paper today about aging,” said my partner yesterday morning. He and I and I are inveterate fans of the Sunday New York Times Style section, where the lead story was that of Bob Bergeron, a therapist in New York whose suicide at 47 had taken everyone by surprise.
On the one hand, this three-minute video of Esther and Bruce Huffman trying to figure out their new webcam is all about ineptitude. On the other hand, it’s all about pleasure and perseverance, and the couple is perfectly happy that their granddaughter Emily posted it to YouTube, making them viral celebrities. No matter that it shows Bruce getting plenty frisky with Esther. "We're still trying to figure out how to work it," he says, "but we're having fun trying." I bet Esther nails it.