Sex and aging; did I just meet a bunch of swingers in an assisted living facility?

Seniors laughing about sex wearing Partners ID jewelry

 

Is sex something only enjoyed by the young? Every swinger I know would say this is completely untrue.  Here I discovered how wrong this statement actually is. 

I recently went to visit a relative of mine who lives in an assisted living facility.  I’m sure you have seen one.  It houses mostly elderly people who live in their own apartments.  They generally eat their meals and spend their days downstairs in a common area.  Many people use walkers and many have oxygen tanks, which they push in front of them.  The concept is wonderful as it offers people a variety of daily activities to keep them busy and entertained.  

It was my first visit to this place and she gave me the grand tour.  She showed me the card room, the bowling alley, the shuffle board area, the movie theater, etc.  The place was quite impressive and I remarked how she must love all it has to offer.  Although she said she enjoys some activities, she mentioned that she really loves to swim more than anything else.  This place has a pool so it seemed logical that she would spend her time there.  When I asked if she swam often, she told me she does not.  Apparently there is an issue with the pool…

What she told me next I found a bit shocking.  Swimming would be wonderful if “Dave” were not always hanging around the pool.  It seems she and “Dave” had a brief fling in the past.  “For me it was just sex, but he was hoping for more.”  It is important to note that this woman is 92 and “Dave” is in his late 80s.  The conversation at this point turned to what really happens here at this facility. 

We generally do not think in terms of elderly people in sexual terms, but it seems that we are all mistaken.  At first I thought perhaps my great aunt was different.  I considered that maybe my high sex drive is genetically linked to this woman.  Evidently, sex amongst the residents of this complex is rampant.  As we walked into the dining room, my great aunt pointed to different people and gave me a brief synopsis of each person’s sexual past.  If what she was telling me was accurate, swinger’s should look forward to their futures!  They will no longer have to drive to a swing club at night!  This place was a 24 hour party!

Of course there was no hint of any gang bangs or threesomes, but she did point out one man who liked to fondle women without their permission.  When I asked if the administration has tolerance for this type of behavior she was quick to tell me no.  This man is on probation and will be asked to move if there are any more complaints against him.  

It seems there is quite a bit of activity that goes on at night behind closed apartment doors.  There are many established “couples” but there are also residents with a reputation for availability for an evening of fun.  Mind you, some of these people are in their mid nineties.  I did ask at one point if sex is still enjoyable and my aunt was quick to tell me yes.  It seems these gentlemen have access to Viagra (compliments of Medicare) and they are not shy to pop them into their mouths in full view during dinner time.  Night life here begins around 7:00, most like to be in bed by 10:00 pm.  

The second glass of wine they served with lunch gave me the nerve to ask about the act itself.  My aunt explained that sex changes simply because many people are not able to physically accomplish what they could do in the past.  Sex was more stimulating each other, intercourse was rare.  The younger men were very popular with the more sexually active older women simply because they could still have intercourse.  

I asked if she thought most of the residents were actually still having sex and my aunt could not answer.  She believes that this dining room was somewhat like high school all over again.  There were groups of friends, some more popular than others.  Some people always sat alone and the same groups always congregated to the same tables.  Her group was outgoing, flirtatious and drinking a lot of wine.  Some other tables acted similarly, but most seemed quiet and reserved.  Once you were a part of a “group,” you did not get to know the other residents very well.  If they were all doing what those in her group were doing, then yes, everyone was having sex.  

After lunch I said my goodbyes and left.  Who knew that a trip to this assisted living facility would uncover a twenty-first century Peyton’s Place?  Behind the doors of this seemingly innocent home for the elderly, is a community of residents craving the same physical attention as their younger counterparts.  What most of us see when we visit a place such as this are their walkers and oxygen tanks.  Most people don’t stop to consider that although their bodies have aged, their needs have not. 

What I wondered most when I left was whether the sex was a physical need or an emotional one.  Are elderly people craving the physical closeness of another or did they truly retain their sex drives?  From what I was told, it was simply a sexual desire.  It explained why my aunt does not want to swim any more.  She was not interested in a relationship, just still enjoyed the sex.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think my visit would turn into a lesson on sex and the elderly!

To be honest, when I thought about her group of friends at lunch, there was something familiar about their camaraderie.   Obviously, she does not know I am in the lifestyle but something told me that maybe she is too…

It left me wondering if perhaps I should be selling lifestyle jewelry to them.

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