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AARP-VA holds workshops on sexual health, dating after 50

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Tuesday, October 10, 2023   

Sex and relationships after age 50 are the topics of a series of online workshops hosted by AARP Virginia, starting tonight. The group says the idea is to provide information about sexual health and wellness, and dating, for heterosexual couples and the LGBTQIA community. The National Council on Aging finds both men and women over 50 experience a multitude of health-related changes that can sometimes be tough to talk about, even with their partner or their doctor.

Philisa Johnson, associate state director of community outreach with AARP Virginia wants to use this series to dispel the misconception that people lose interest in dating, and sex, as they get older.

"With living longer, and they're taking better care of themselves as well, so that part of their lives can extend - if not for the rest of their lives, well into their 80s or 90s," she explained. "And we want to encourage people to engage in healthy sexual practices."

A 2021 study finds a majority of people from age 65 to 80 said they are interested in sex. A 2018 study from the University of Michigan found similar results. The first workshop, Sexual Health in Older Adults, is tonight at 6 p.m. Register online at events.aarp.org/Sex50.

Johnson would like to see this become an annual event, but said it can be difficult to create a space where people feel comfortable asking questions - which comes down to, for some, generational attitudes about sex.

"Depending on what generation you come from, the idea of even having a conversation about sex is something that is not done in polite society, and they may not feel even comfortable with that," she said.

One study finds older adults are willing to talk about their sexual health with their doctors, but few doctors actually bring it up. Instead, it is up to the patient to initiate most of these conversations.

Disclosure: AARP Virginia contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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