Vera always thumbed her nose at women who she said make a fool of themselves by running after toyboys. If she were to have a relationship outsider her marriage, it would be with men in the same bracket as her. So now in her sixties and her husband of over 20 years resting in his grave, she was lucky to have landed a man in her age bracket for a date.
“When the relationship started,” she said, “I had really high hopes. We had been on a few dates, laughed and joked together and appeared to get on well. It was now time to take things to the next level.
“Ladi, my new catch, who had a marriage that was now for convenience sake, booked a room in a posh hotel for the night. I had spent the best part of the day preening, honing and styling my hair to look as good as I could hope for a woman who just turned 60. He was a few years older and attractive for his age. It had been years since I had last made love, but now, with any luck, the long drought would be over. I was excited as well as nervous as we checked into ‘our’ bedroom. That was after we’d had a meal and a few glasses of wine at the restaurant.
“Then Ladi started to get undress. Although slim and stylish enough in trendy clothes, he was hardly a stud to set young loins on fire when stripped down to his underwear. I tactfully ignored the gradual revelation of his sunken grey hairy chest, the ageing flesh and his stick-thing legs! By now I was in bed, waiting for him as he started putting packets of pills by his bedside table. Was Viagra included? Hardly – just supplements – the standard nightly ritual of today’s elderly male. Yet there was worse to come. He swallowed all his pills, plumped up his pillows and flicked around for news to watch on the telly. He reached for my boobs and wanted to twist off the nipples as he tried to absorb the news. Then things quietened a bit and I realised he was snoring! And that, I suspect, is the sad reality of most over-60s so-called sex lives.”
Linda Kelsey, a former editor of Cosmopolitan, once enthused about how wonderful her sex life was now that she was over 60. It was as if she’d discovered heady passion for the first time, she wrote. And her marvellous partners of five years is a ‘young’ 58, so hardly a toy boy. In her support, she cited a new large-scale survey from Saga magazines saying the over-50s are more rampant in the bedroom than ever before. Believe that at your peril, dear readers. According to sexologists, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and sex surveys. You cannot believe a world you read in any survey simply because the respondent’s capacity for self delusion is almost infinite.
Perhaps the most honest comment on older people and sex came from former countdown presenter, the late Richard Whitley. Although popularly known as ‘twice nightly Whitley’ – a reputation he enjoyed and played up for years – he said, ruefully, that towards the end of his life the reality was more like ‘once yearly, nearly.’ The fact is that older women look better and younger than previous generations did at that age, they now have the utmost difficulty in finding men to match them. And that’s why sex is often such a disaster in later years.
Vera confessed that: “Most men in their 60s are, like my would-be-lover, on buckets of pills for their heart, their cholesterol, their blood pressure. This noxious cocktail of prescription drugs means that they can no longer perform in bed, however much they may want to. If you have an over-60 as a partner, you are much more likely to be accompanying them to their doctors than making mad passionate love at every opportunity. While these days we older women are healthy, slim and fit, most men of the same age have diabetes, dodgy hearts and high blood pressure. And don’t forget the prostate problems. Getting up to pee several time during the night is common for this age group, and hardly a libido-enhancer. Then, when they come back to bed, their hands are cold from the effects of beta-blockers, which restrict blood circulation to the extremities – yes, all extremities.
“If I want to have a fabulous time in bed, I know that I would have to become a cougar and find myself a younger man. And that leads to another problem Whatever would we have in common to talk about? Besides, the only way an older person of either sex can hope to attract a vastly younger partner is if you are super-rich. Otherwise, forget it!
“The Saga sex survey suggested that many long-married couples were eagerly reviving the heady passion of their youth with each other now that the children had grown up and left home.
Really? I wonder where they found these loving couples because I have never met any. Every long-married person I know has told me the same story: that they’re no longer having sex (at least with each other) and haven’t done for years. One man in his early 70s, married to the same woman for half a century, said he hadn’t had sex with anybody for at least 20 years! I doubt that he is a lone statistic. There is an inherent implausibility in the idea that a couple married for 30 or 40 years would suddenly find each other irresistible just because they’re now on their own.
“So to all over-60s who boast of having their best sex ever, I would say (a) I don’t believe you, and (b) even if you are, please keep it to yourself and think of the rest of us, tucked up in bed at 9pm, our only excitement coming from the latest paperback thriller.”