Sex and the Senior Set – 3
Sexuality in Senior Homes
Thursday, May 10, 2012
There’s nothing golden about living in lockdown, feeling like a criminal while trying to steal some sexy time with your sweetie – or yourself.
And yet for some seniors in assisted living facilities or residential care communities, this is a major concern, sex therapist Stephen Braveman says.
“Most caregivers don’t have a clue on how to handle a resident’s sexuality,” he says. “If they come in and see a resident masturbating, they may shame him. Then comes the guilt: Am I a dirty old man or woman?
“If a caregiver sees a couple having sex, they may shame them. And unless the couple is in a specific LGBT senior facility, if a caregiver sees a man having sex with a man… ” his voice trails off.
Aside from the emotional trauma and public humiliation, there’s also the physical risk of disease (see sidebar, p. 19). Women typically live longer than men, and women tend to make up the majority of nursing-home residents.
“Let’s say you’ve got 40 women and five guys,” Braveman says. “The guys are a hot commodity. Whether straight or gay, they’re going to get a lot of action. Good for them – but they are at risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases, so they should keep that in mind.”
Most facilities have rules that allow residents to be intimate, Braveman says, but seniors need to know to ask for it. “Go to whomever’s in charge and say, ‘We’d like to have some private time. Can you make sure we’re not interrupted?’”
Cue the Marvin Gaye.