Our society too often reserves sexuality for young bodies through the images of eroticism conveyed by the media. With our new ad that nods to sexuality in people aged 70 and over, we hope to lift the veil on this still taboo subject.
A discussion with Jocelyne Robert, sexologist and author of the books Les femmes vintage and Vieillir avec panache, published by Éditions de l’Homme, according to whom mentalities are changing and opening up, but very slowly.
A still delicate subject
According to Jocelyne Robert, sexuality in a more global context is still a taboo subject. “Still too many people are ill at ease talking freely about sexuality within their relationship or with their teenagers. It’s neither natural nor easy,” she says. So, from the moment when sexuality was a sensitive and uncomfortable subject from childhood, the taboo remains and is amplified among seniors.
“We live in a society that fosters an ideal of performance and eternal youth. The model is so strong that it reinforces the taboo,” she explains.
Yet every human being needs to please and be loved as long as they are alive. This fundamental need can take the form of emotional as well as erotic needs.
“You have to get it out of your head that physical pleasure isn’t noble. As long as we are alive, we have the right to all the pleasures of life, including erotic pleasure and sexuality,” says the sexologist.
Sexuality is good for health
The studies are clear: sexuality is very beneficial, particularly for seniors. “When they meet someone and fall in love again or are fulfilled with their life partner, we see that they come alive again, that they need less medication and are at lower risk of depression,” explains Jocelyne Robert. The physical and psychological benefits of sexuality, no matter age, have been demonstrated time and time again.
“For an older human being who no longer corresponds to the ideal of beauty as set out by society, the fact of feeling wanted and chosen is very beneficial for self-esteem,” asserts the sexologist.
How to break the taboo?
Faced with any sexual signs from older people, those around them often tend to ignore them, create a diversion, laugh at them or, worse, reproach them. If we want to demystify sexuality in seniors, we must first be aware that it bothers us and examine our conscience as to why.
Older people deserve to be treated as full and equal human beings. Realizing that ageism exists can be part of the solution, according to the sexologist.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed or afraid to talk about it; you need to educate yourself and read up on the matter to understand that sexuality in seniors is completely healthy and natural. There is still too much ignorance connected to the subject, according to Jocelyne Robert.
Moreover, young people are part of the solution. “They must realize that we will all get old, one day or another, and that we are all affected,” she says
Exploring sexuality differently
Just because sexuality changes with age does not mean that it no longer exists. Sexuality goes far beyond coitus and erection, says Jocelyne Robert. Men may have erectile difficulties and still be sexual. As you get older, you must be open to exploring other spheres and setting performance aside in order to surrender to the pleasure and relaxation that sexuality brings. Erotic pleasure deserves to be accorded the same value as other pleasures in life, such as the pleasure of eating well, for example.
If you don’t have a partner, you have to allow yourself to please yourself if you want to, advises the sexologist.
A question arises: have I chosen to no longer be sexual or was this something that was forced on me?
Starting at a certain age, people with an active sex life are often afraid of being judged. But, know that if you still feel sexual desire at age 70 or 80, you are not abnormal, concludes Mme Robert.
Madame Robert est sexologue, "sexosophe", conférencière et autrice. Pour en savoir plus sur ses écrits, veuillez visiter son site Web.