Discover more from Stephen's People
The amorous aristocrat, playtime with Miss Palmer, and octogenarian wall walkers
(No. 17) Plus, a few stats about sex as we age, by Stephen P. Williams
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But first, this: A few of the current presidential candidates are long in the tooth and, if elected, appear they might expire before the end of their first term. But this list shows that many former world leaders live well into their second century.
Regarding sex, each of us is unique.
The body electric. Photo by Michael Prewett on Unsplash
A few years back some friends asked if I’d like to meet a woman they knew. They felt we would be perfect for each other: She was outspoken, a treehugger and a had lived in Ecuador, like me. However, she now lived in LA and I live in NYC.
One Sunday morning a few months later this mystery woman texted me: she was in the city for a few hours and wanted to say hello. I immediately invited her over for a toad in the hole.
A toad in the hole, aka egg in a nest. Photo by The Egg Board.
She was very much how my friends had described her, yet even more interesting, with a striking presence. She dove into her breakfast, and we had a nice long conversation, including quite a bit of talk about her boyfriend. I hadn’t realized she was involved with anyone.
At the time, she was 39 and I was 56. She wanted children, I already had three, and no wish for more. She was wealthy, of high English pedigree. I was a mongrel American from Kansas, a writer. It was obvious there would be no romance between us, especially since she already had a man.
Our differences became especially clear when she mentioned that she liked to have sex 5 times a day, every day, year in year out. “There’s nothing weird about having sex that much, right Stephen?” she said. “My boyfriend thinks that’s too often.”
“Of course not—everybody wants sex all the time,” I said, though inside I was thinking, five times a day every day, rain or shine? I was afraid to reveal the truth — that I’d feel smothered by that much contact with anyone. That I would probably die of intimacy within a week. Somehow, these feelings didn’t seem masculine.
I think many of us are afraid to express our true sexual inclinations, desires and needs, even as we get older and profess not to worry about what other people think. To a large degree, that’s because we feel like the odd people out. Since we don’t know that much about how other people view sex, we don’t know if our thoughts are “weird.”
I considered my English friend today while researching ways that sex lives vary among the different generations. It turns out there are differences, based on our physical and emotional ages, but also many more similarities than we might imagine.
Here are some sexual behavior tidbits, by age, all culled from quite reputable sources.
American men, on average, lose their virginity at age 16.8; women at 17.2
Twenty-eight percent of Americans over age 45 have sex once or more a week. Forty percent have sex at least once a month. One in five Americans visits Miss or Mr. Palmer * at least once a week.
Older men are less likely than younger men to have an orgasm.
Older women are more likely than younger women to have an orgasm. Somewhat mysteriously, despite this statistic, women over 50 engage in 5 percent less sexual intercourse per year, and 7 percent less oral sex.
It appears that age 25-30 is the only time that men and women have vaginal sex at the same frequency. In younger years, women have more vaginal intercourse. Above age 30, men have more vaginal intercourse. So clearly there is a lot of double dipping going on, as shown in this chart:
Septuagenarians are squeaking the springs like teenagers these days. Chart by Statista.
About 95% of men age 18-44 say they are straight, compared to 92% of women of the same age.
About 40% of adults age 65 to 80 are sexually active. Of those, 54% are in a romantic relationship. Only 7 percent of single respondents in that age group are sexually active.
About 25% of 76 to 80-year-olds are sexually active.
Nursing homes are starting to encourage intimate relationships, rather than policing sex.
A survey from 1999 found that the percentage of people who see their sexual partners as physically fetching increases year by year.
Here’s looking at you!
*During my first divorce, a Trinidadian friend advised me to stay away from relationships for a while, except for occasional visits to Miss Palmer — a euphemism for masturbation.
Sources for statistics:
This is a pretty great movie trailer
Still Doing It: The Intimate Lives of Women Over 65
Other news for libidos big and small
I find this one hard to believe. I guess that makes me ageist. The proof is in the video. At 82, Arlene has started practicing parkour.
Is the grey so bad?
I think a lot of people wonder, in the back of their mind, if dying their hair year after year is toxic. This won’t make them feel any better.
Wuhan virus strikes young and old, though older people are more at risk.
This time lapse video shows how to build a “hospital” to contain patients in just 10 days.
For a true live feed of the process, go here.
At the moment this kid, below, is working on your next newsletter.
Stephen, age 14 or so. Nothing has changed.
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