Check the Expiry Date

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – April 27, 2006

When Grandpa slipped Grandma the tongue at Easter dinner, little did we know the affectionate display could forever change our own romantic futures.

Senior citizen sex, with all its hardened toenails, is enough to turn anyone off sex. Then again, it shows us there’s sex way beyond 30.

So what are you worried about?

I’m getting that a lot of single folks feel like yogurt: They need to chill and be consumed within a certain time frame lest they rot into curds. There’s a real fear that getting older means Captain Stubing is gonna flip you the bird as the Love Boat passes your sorry ass by.

It’s a bit unreasonable to believe that once you hit the big 3-0, every year you spend away from the turning point – and your tits and ass bond with gravity – represents 365 days away from your best chances at scoring some booty.

I’m sure you have single friends like this in your life right now. You know, the frantic ones who describe an e-mail from their online crush with maniacal acuity that’s so charged, who needs speed? Or how about the ones who live in a fantasy world with a fictitious mate, or endure the reality of a shitty one just ’cause they think their time is running out?

Representations of senior citizen sexuality can help these desperate but admiringly hopeful people by culturing them into the understanding that sex and love don’t depend so much on what you look like, but on who you are. And if we improve with age, doesn’t it follow that we get better at attracting someone nice?

For some women, second adulthood (or menopause) is marked by a new assertiveness, explains Suzanne Braun Levine in her book Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood. Sure, freedom after 55 sounds delightful, but it doesn’t diffuse the reality that my ass will flatten into two small flabby flapjacks, which I’m wondering if Jack will still want to slap.

I always wanted a book of nude photographs of older ladies to help me grow accustomed to what I’ll become. I haven’t found that book, but I have checked out Joan Price’s Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty (Seal Press, 2006). Price is priceless. As an ageless sexuality advocate, professional speaker and fitness expert, she just saved my shrinking ass from a whole lotta bullshit.

For starters, cracking the tomb will loosen the vice grip that keeps your head firmly focused on the past. Instead, as a collection of testimonials about sex from gay, straight, married and single 60-plussers, the book’ll whip your skull over yonder toward the future, and alert you to some sizzling possibilities!

Senior sex encourages sex with love instead of meaningless casual sex, and can instruct married couples on how to keep the flame alive. Senior citizen sex reminds us that more than the body is responsible for great sex.

Take it from Erica Jong, 64, the female writer known as the “patron saint of feminine sexual autonomy.” Jong was famous for her feminist manifesto Fear of Flying, which sold 18 million copies worldwide. She had a way with men. Several, actually. But now that she’s a senior citizen she’s slowing down, and will tell you – according to an April 2 review in the Ottawa Citizen – that open marriage is a crock, age brings experience and “real intimacy,” and “a willing spirit makes up for weak flesh.”

Beyond Jong and Price, who are both married, are the older ladies who go after younger guys.

Lisa Rutherford, a former Carleton University graduate now living in Montreal who has studied the language used to describe women and its connection to meat, explained in a March 7 interview in Concordia University magazine The Link how “most swear words reduce a woman to the status of an animal and reduce her to her biological nature.”

“Cougar,” anyone?

And while websites such as Urbancougar.com invite women to send in photos of themselves, this attempt to celebrate cougarness is pathetic. The fake breasts and tarted-up women represent, to me, a blatant rejection of natural aging that is too unbalanced to be beautiful.

Absorbing images of positive and realistic senior sexuality and appreciating its variants beyond our youthful years should redefine the limited, restricted roles we place upon both sexes.

Think of the Polident commercial with the two grey-hairs on a sleepover date, where the man borrows a denture tablet to freshen up before making out. Believe it – women don’t have an expiry date like denture cleaning tablets, and not all men prefer the perky secretary.

But how is thinking about your mom and dad screwing going to help you now in your dry spell? Easy: Don’t let it turn your stomach. Instead, accept that your pathetic sex life, or lack thereof, is an uphill adventure, not a downward spiral.

Yeah, I’ll go ponder that as I work off my blue balls.

XXX

STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT SEX AFTER 60 Come explore the challenges and celebrate the joys of older-age sexuality in an upbeat, interactive workshop with Joan Price at Venus Envy (320 Lisgar Street) on May 6 and 7, 6:30 p.m. Take home new tools, techniques and attitudes that help women over 60 experience hot, joyful sex. For more information, visit www.joanprice.com or www.venusenvy.ca. Tickets: $15-$25.

– Sylvie Hill