Thanks to Viagra and other treatments like hormone therapy, more seniors than ever can now enjoy active (and we mean active) sex lives well into old age. In retirement homes and senior-centric communities, many residents may have lost a spouse, or are divorced, and seek out companionship from their neighbors. And more and more are making use of online dating sites.
Nothing wrong with that, and more power to them. Staying sexually active is a great way to keep your zest for life. But while those little blue pills have been a boon to silver-haired Casanovas, they've had some unanticipated health consequences for the senior population. Unfortunately, many seniors have had less basic sex education than the average teenager, and are less likely to take the sexual precautions considered standard these days.
Unlike those of us brought up post-HIV, they never got indoctrinated with Safe Sex 101, and may not be comfortable talking with a partner about STDs. They're past child-bearing age, so they don't need condoms for birth control. Plus, really, no one expects seniors to be passing around sexually transmitted diseases, right? Well, it happens - HIV rates in those over 50 have skyrocketed in the last decade, and the fact that diseases like chlamydia, herpes and HPV are spreading like wildfire in senior homes is a tip-off that there's some serious swinging going on. After all, the folks hitting retirement nowadays came of age in the Age of Aquarius - they're the free-love generation.
You probably don't even want to think about Grandma getting it on with one of her nursing home suitors. But if you have a loved one who's single and dating in their golden years - a parent, a favorite uncle, your godmother - you might do them a favor and delicately broach the topic.
Another suggestion: the next time you drop by the old folks' home to visit Aunt Marge, drop a a few condoms into the dish of hard candies on the coffee table, or sneak some in with the Sweet & Low packets in the cafeteria.