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You’re Never Too Old For Sex Education

Posted in Sexual Health 04 Feb, 2015

You might think you’re out of the woods now you’ve hit middle age, but that isn’t the case. You’ll know as well as anybody that just because you’ve gotten older, it doesn’t mean you’ve stopped having sex. Unfortunately, this also means the chances of you catching an STI are as high as anyone else’s. In fact, a rise in sexually transmitted conditions in people over 40 has occurred since the start of the millennium. Some people have – quite strangely - blamed EL James and her Fifty Shades series of books, but I think that there’s more to it than that, a lot more.

The Reality of Sexual Health

In reality, the rise in sexually transmitted disease had occurred – or begun to occur - long before Fifty Shades of Grey hit bookshelves and maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but it seems a little too coincidental to me that the rise began in 2000, 40 years after the 60s began. A time of massive change, sexual freedom and, indeed, Free Love, doesn’t it make sense that the evidence for sexual activity in the over 40s should rise in line with that era? Social taboos were flouted, sexual inequality began to be addressed and we saw the first signs of social progression, and yet sex education wasn’t quite where it is today.

Talking About Sex?

To be honest, British sex education isn’t at the level that it is in a lot of other European countries, but it’s even worse if you’re not in your teens or early twenties. Tailored almost exclusively to the younger generations, sexual health campaigns seem to ignore anyone past their 30s – perhaps there’s an assumption that they already know what they need to know, or maybe there’s still a taboo hovering over talking about sex after a certain age, but in any case there’s a lack of information that seems to be feeding a rise in bad sexual health practises. Even companies like Durex only aim their advertising at the young and, as NHS statistics increasingly show, it’s causing problems.

Don't Need Contraception?

Of course, there might be other factors. For women of a certain age, although it varies from person to person, there comes a time when having children is no longer an option. So why keep using contraception? Or at least that’s what some experts are pointing at to explain the rise in infections. Divorced at 58, it might not occur to you that you and a new partner need to be careful, but that really isn’t the case and many sexual infections can lie dormant for years - it might be a shock for both of you when you start showing symptoms, but it happens.

So yes, people over 40 still have sex, and they still enjoy it too, so why don’t we start addressing the facts? Campaigning for sexual health awareness is always going to be a good thing, but we need to remember that sexual health is not something that only affects the young.

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