Episode 37 – Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby! – Baby Boomers and their Sexual Health

Sex is a powerful emotional experience. It’s a tool for improving the personal health and well-being of not only the young, sexy, active people but also of the aging population. In this episode, our topic is all about sex – the sexual health, sexual identity, sexual behaviour, sexual dysfunctions and issues of men and women beyond 50 years old.

Transcript

Wayne Bucklar: It’s time for Boomsday Prepping, the Baby Boomer podcast. Our regular look of things of interest, by Baby Boomers. And today our topic is “Let’s talk about sex, baby.” We are joined as usual by our panel, with us today Amanda Lambros, Bron Williams, Brian Hinselwood. And we are ably led off by our resident gerontologist and expert in all matters aging, Dr. Drew Dwyer. So Dr. Drew, let’s talk about sex baby.

Dr Drew Dwyer: Thank you Wayne. Hello panel and what a great conversation we’re going to have today. So I’m going to jump straight into the topic, I know everyone has read it who’s a listener and thought “Yes ,I’ll tune into that.” Let’s talk about sex baby. So this conversation is  probably going to go off into tangents, I have no doubt considering that we do have our resident sexologist Amanda Lambros. Hello Amanda, are you ready? Are you eager?

Amanda Lambros: Hello everyone, I’m always eager when we’re talking about sex.

Dr Drew: Yes and we have our lovely Bron and our beautiful Brian. And unfortunately, I think Glenn is away overseas somewhere, I saw his post on Facebook, he’s in some exotic place in Europe. But let’s talk about sex, so why I had the conversation. Well first off, sex is a powerful emotional experience. It’s a great tool I suppose for protecting and improving our personal health and well-being, certainly not only designated to young, fit, sexy, healthy people. It’s designated to all human beings, all human beings have the ability to be able to have sex. But how do we see sex as we age and how do we feel about sex and sexual health and sexuality, sexual identity as we age? So particularly over the age of 50, once your body starts to change, we will have very physical and mental changes in the lifespan over the aging atrophy and what happens to us that are normal changes as we age – and we’ll get into some of these subjects at the moment and some of the issues we face. But specifically, I can say that we have both male sexual dysfunction and female sexual dysfunction and of course I suppose, if we want to add it in in the topic of the modern world, we have intersex sexual dysfunction because I hate to be the bearer of bad news into people’s worlds but they are only my categorization that is three sexes. There are male, there are female and there are intersex which we used to call or we have a medical term called hermaphrodite, which of course intersex people particularly don’t like. However using our emotional intelligence, we’ll move through the language and we’ll just sit in the realm of normal science. So the subject of sex and sexuality in aging is pretty prominent at the moment because a lot of people are aging and a lot of people are looking at the subject of ‘what about their sexuality, their sexual identification in their sexual life?’ So primarily when we do age, we do live with the issue of an ageing body and the atrophy and changes in sexual desire and sexual behavior throughout our lifespan are normal and the cycle of change of sexual behavior and sexual desire is normal. There is no specific rule on it that I’m aware of and of course it’s a lived experience of the human being in their own space, their time and their own element. So but I will make this very clear that in our conversation, I’m going to keep drawing a line in sands as we all get conscious about the difference between sex, sexuality, sexual identity and of course when we talk about sex and sexual health, the difference between intimacy, connection and sexual intercourse or lovemaking or doing the act of sex which are these are important things to discuss when we talk about sexual desire, behavior and change. So a couple of things we’re going to bring up and we’re going to talk about, specifically I want to focus with the panel on the changes in sexual health and sexual well-being and sexual desire or arousal. So the personal changes, the physical changes in the human body and of course the mental changes in the human body and how do we feel about that. So I’m going to open the stage by giving it over to Amanda who’s our resident sexologist to just explain to the listeners and to the panel why Amanda do you do the work you do as a sexologist? And people might ever giggle about that but it’s becoming more common as a study. And what is the biggest issue around aging that you see is some of the things that we get to discuss as counselors when we do look at sexual health and sexuality and sexual desire or behavior in older people? Boom, your turn.

Amanda: Awesome, thanks Drew. I think the reason I do what I do is because I’ve always been interested as a mental health professional and always been interested in behavior and some people look at different types of behavior, my behavior I wanted to look at was the sexual behavior. So I kind of know as much and I’m always learning as much as most people think they would want to know and then we start explaining to them “So this is what I know.” They’re like “Oh I don’t want to know that.”

Dr Drew: Too much information.

Amanda: And I think one of the important things to remember and unfortunately something that a lot of people don’t have done is that annually from the age of 40 and definitely from the age of 50, you should have a full blood workup done. And the reason you should have a full blood workup done is to understand where your hormone levels are so that you have an understanding of your baseline. So if you know what your baseline is, as you age and as you mature your hormones are going to wax and wane with the years. That’s completely natural  normal and we notice this.

Dr Drew: Let’s just stop there Amanda. That’s for both men and women?

Amanda: Yeah.

Dr Drew: Because I’ll keep throwing in some technical terms we have very much sitting around the women sexual deficit. In particular we tend to focus more there in the science because it’s more prominent and there’s a lot more literature on it but I’m going to, let’s throw in the word ‘anorgasmia’ and the ‘gasmia’ used to be referred to which is you see we all referred to as Coughlan’s syndrome but that is the hormonal dysfunction, of sexual dysfunction which causes signs and symptoms particularly around women but also in men, the inability to reach orgasm or delayed ejaculation for men, most common and a sexual arousal or sexual frustration and sexual dysfunction because of anorgasmia. So where does that sit with you? Do you deal a lot with it what about the fact that people from that age you’re saying, say over 40’s, over 50s in particular the inability to reach orgasm quickly or enough or long enough or premature ejaculation, sorry, delayed ejaculation and not being able to ejaculate as a man? Ad for a woman of course not being able to have an orgasm and what does this cause to an older person?

Amanda: Okay. So when we look at it from a sexology perspective, there are four types of sexual dysfunctions. So there’s a desire disorder, an arousal disorder, an orgasm disorder and a pain disorder. And anything that happens from an intimacy or sexual issue after the age of 50 will fall into one of those four categories, so it’s either desire, arousal, orgasm or pain. When we’re looking at desire arousals, those are the lack of sexual desire or any interest in sex. Now we know that actually directly links to hormone, so that’s a hormone fluctuation and that’s why having your annual hormone checks are really important because you can say “Oh my testosterone has dropped. The simple fix, you can wear testosterone patches, you can have testosterone injections, for men there’s tremendous testosterone creams that you just rub on your forearm so there’s so many different ways like alternative treatments to actually fix it which is great.

Bronwyn Williams: I’m glad you said forearm.

Amanda: Yeah definitely, the forearm.

Brian Hinselwood: I was stunned when you said ‘forearm’ there Amanda. I have to say I was not expecting that.

Amanda: And for women, women put their testosterone patches just kind of on their lower stomach basically, so they’re not obtrusive, they’re not ugly, they’re not you know “Everyone’s going to know.” There’s really nice ways of having alternatives to increasing your hormone levels which is great – so that’s desire. Then you have arousal disorder, so that’s the inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity.

Dr Drew: Just to interrupt for a minute Amanda, for those guests do yourself a favor if you’re in Australia in particular if you ever get the opportunity you can google it, but we have Sexpo in Australia and I used to present at them and I used to think they were wonderful. I haven’t been invited to one of late but Sexpo is a place to go, it’s like a big exhibition of sex and you can see all sorts of stuff there, but these hormones, and lubricants and gels and creams and pads and patches and things are all for sale. They give you complete demonstrations of them, you can rub the I think one that I know a person, I won’t mention names, but I know a person who bought a clitoral burning gel or stimulating gel which you rub on your clitoris prior to intercourse and it stimulates the clitoris and it invokes all the hormones into that area of the body and draws heat into there and vibrates or vibrates and stimulates the nerve endings and kaboom, there you go.

Amanda: And to a really good distinction to be made too because yes, you can buy lotions and potions and all that stuff at Sexpo but true hormones rubs, you’re going to need a prescription for it.

Brian: And a forearm.

Dr Drew: And with a bit of luck Brian, someone will rub them in for you.

Amanda: You will have to go to a GP have that diagnosed and actually have those prescribed to you. So there are plenty of things that can mimic the hormone bursts that you’re going to have in your system but to have your levels elevated, definitely go and get a prescription for that.

Dr Drew: When we talk about painful or difficult, painful sexual intercourse, we’re talking about the act?

Amanda: Yeah.

Dr Drew: which is it’s called dyspareunia which is, it’s a word a technical word, a medical word but it means painful intercourse so dyspareunia or ‘unia’ being the urinary tract area, very highly prominent in women. I don’t see many cases or read in any of the literature around men, although men do get shaft or pain generally from lack of pre-seminal fluid that comes out of the penis prior to ejaculation so they can get painful rubbing and down the shaft of the penis internally in that area. But these things do have names, you can google them, you can look them up and you can understand them and they are quite normal. Aren’t they Amanda?

Amanda: Completely normal and I would say also if you are going to google, don’t feel overwhelmed because when you google like sexd ysfunction or sex problems, a lot of stuff is going to come up and that’s why I kind of break it down and say there’s only four things that can go wrong – so desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain. And usually they don’t all happen together. They don’t all happen at once but if you leave one untreated, the severity and the duration of it being untreated could lead to one of the other ones because what happens is then your psychology gets disturbed around like ‘Why is this happening? Why is this happening? Why is  this happening?’ which then leads to a problem with one of the other one.

Dr Drew: Yes I think that communication is probably one of the keys there. If you’re a single or a couple or whatever and you’re experiencing these things as you age, I think maintaining and satisfying sex life means to talk to your partner, your sexual partner, have a discussion about it and together work out ways of spending or changing intimacy, connection as you say lubrication. Now the other panelists are being very quiet, Brian?

Brian: No, I am absolutely rubbing my forearm as we speak.

Amanda: Brian is madly taking notes.

Brian: I have to say, so far nothing’s happening. I am a little bit amazed Amanda, you were just saying the there are four areas that in your experience are the vital ones and that if you let on of them go too long, it can lead to another, then psychologists or whatever. If it gets to a point where you’ve got two or three of these things happening – no arousal, painful or whatever – is curing one of them going to cure the others as well?

Amanda: Well if that’s the case, if it’s one of those things you almost have to work like with a mental health professional at the same while taking medication so it’s not just like a quick fix of just take medication and then you’ll be fine. It will be like we have to work on the psychology behind it because now your mind is already kind of deceiving you essentially.

Dr Drew: I can tell you Brian, men remain quiet rampant in their sexual desires and their libido. Libido changes really but I must say all of the statistical data that I read when I look at sexuality in the older person, males have a particular pattern where libido stays particularly high, not aggressively as in there, not always the need for sex but it can be turned on very quickly in all men right through their aging process. So men get erections, crack one up and you only have to tap a man on the shoulder at any age past 60, 65, 70, he will be erect, he will be aroused, his libido will drive.

Brian: Hang on, now I’m confused. I’m rubbing my forearm and now I have to tap on my shoulder at the same time?

Dr Drew: Correct. It is all about touch Brian.

Amanda: It’s all about touch Brian.

Dr Drew: That’s right Amanda, it’s all about touch.

Brian: It seems like tapping your head and rubbing your tummy.

Dr Drew: What Amanda is talking about relates to this because so for women the libido changes and sex becomes, well the act of sex, the sexual intercourse, the touch – it changes. So women then refer back through the ethical data that we have all the inferior good idea that women want more intimacy, more touch, more pre-luding  and so forth. So penetration, intercourse is exactly the thing that arouses women and wants women as they get older and that’s generally because of painful, dryness and stigma that sits around aging. And basically in the common world and when you read the literature, the feedback is ‘Who could be bothered, it’s too painful anyway’ whereas men are like ‘Bing, did you just tap me on the shoulder?’

Amanda: Exactly.

Dr Drew: Bron?

Bron: What I’m thinking is, I actually believe and I can only speak from my own experience as a woman who is a sexual being, that sex for me as a woman starts in my head. It starts between my ears. Amanda’s nodding her head. So in a sense, that feeds into what you were saying Drew but I actually think that happens at all ages with women.

Dr Drew: Well I think it all happens with men. Sex begins in the head, it starts in the head

Bron: Yeah, not in the same way nor the same head.

Dr Drew: That’s right.

Bron: I’m talking about the head that has ears on it.

Brian: Oh okay.

Bron: So yeah, so whereas men yes certainly might be aroused by a rubbed forearm or a tapped shoulder a woman is far more likely to be aroused by a kindness, intimacy as you say as banal doing the washing up, opening a door. Anything that actually connects a man with a woman in a way other than physically, but a physical affection is incredibly important.

Dr Drew: Bron, are you talking about fantasy?

Brian: I don’t think washing the dishes is a fantasy.

Bron:  No, it’s not. I’m not talking about fantasy, though fantasy can play a part, okay. I often say I don’t need to watch porn because my own imagination is perfectly good, thank you very much. Yeah, so yes, so fantasy plays a part. However, it’s just in the normal interaction between a man and a woman who are living together, spending, doing life together, the little things that a man does for a woman will make her very ready to be physically intimate at some point during the day, yeah, because it’s all of those things add up.

Amanda: That’s really a good point. It does need to start in the head so it’s in your brain, it’s what you’re thinking and follows on by touch and then the physical act. So there is actually a really nice pattern to it and I think Drew what you were mentioning earlier, was that sometimes men just have that little pattern go a little quicker.

Dr Drew: Yeah, well the information in literature’s you’re aware as much as Amanda is like that. There’s quite a large divergence between young men and older men young women and older women. So let’s despill a myth that only be young are sexually attractive and have great sex. That’s a myth, that’s an absolute myth.

Amanda: Yes, a huge myth.

Bron: Totally.

Dr Drew: Many many older clients, find older people and younger people quite sexually attractive and really age is not a barrier or a limit to them. And of course, they’re able to do what they want to do and the reality that older can actually be quite sexier for a lot of people because they’re more focused in the head as Bron says around their sexual wants and needs so it no longer becomes just a physical quick or sharp or physical thing. It’s now more a journey or a pathway or it’s more intimate, it’s more thinking and it has a lot more added to it. So that’s why I brought up fantasies because and I do counsel a lot of people and talk to them around some sexual issues they have, I had to clear up the myth that things like fantasies are not filth and that they’re not thinking dirty or provocative and it’s quite normal. Do you agree Amadan?

Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. And fantasies always are a nice thing as well to be able to have imagination because again, if it starts in your head, if it’s a fantasy or reality, it can actually bring on those feelings which is actually really important.

Dr Drew: And get the juices flowing, as they say.

Amanda: Exactly.

Brian: I have always and I mean always and thankfully I’ve never had a major problem with finding, before I was married obviously, well even now, finding sexual partners with my lovely wife. For me, the chase was always far more important than the actual deed itself. I mean building up to it for me, was always more important than just that … screw. I mean, let’s face it, you can masturbate anywhere you’d like, anytime you like, take 5 minutes or 5 hours whatever you take.

Amanda: Well there are legal limits to that.

Brian: Yeah, I realize that. And so it’s getting back to what was Bron was saying of not literally doing the dishes but doing things to make the other person think “I’ve got an hour, I don’t have to do anything so maybe just taking some of the workload, taking some of the pressure, taking some notice of other people.” I think is really important.

Dr Drew: So a question the panel. Is sex and sexuality which are different things in later life, is it an undignified thing to talk about and look at and understand?

Bron: No.

Brian: Sorry, end of conversation. No. Why would it be any of those things? I mean I talk to people my age and in my age group and not constantly about sex, obviously we talk about all sorts of things. But, no I don’t think it’s a problem at all.

Dr Drew: Well the reason I say that is because when you read through the extent of literature in this area, society is quite ageist and is inclined very heavily to desexualize older people and they do this through language and expression of words to take away the desire or to divert away from the fact that older people can be sexy. For example, the stereotyping and the stigma that sits around the ‘dirty old man.’

Bron: Well all I could think of was having been someone who’s used dating sites, there’s lots of randy people out on dating sites.

Dr Drew: Oh Bron, come on. Give us the … is it swipe left or swipe right?

Bron: Well it depends on who comes up on it but the reality is like men are putting it out there to women on the dating sites and my conversations with men who’ve been on dating sites has said exactly the same thing so men and women in the older age group are putting it out there. And I’ve been propositioned by men who are young enough to be my son.

Dr Drew: Tell me Bron, do they put it straight up? Do they put it straight on to you? Do they just full-on just put it straight up ‘How bout a bit love?’

Bron: Well not quite that but it is couched in terms like, because I do like being on the back of a motorbike, “Would you be happy to show us your tips?” I’ve had that and my response was “Yeah, I’m happy to show my tips to whomever I choose to.”

Dr Drew: That’s right. And Bron who just did that publicly in a photo shoot which I think is amazing.

Brian: Yes, that’s right.

Bron: Quite true, but for a totally different perspective. I’ve also had men saying he was going Dancing and you’re just making conversation and I said “It will be great. I’d love to go dancing with you.” At some point, he said “I just need to let you know that I use dancing as foreplay. I thought “Oh okay, maybe not.”

Dr Drew: Amanda, how can we express our sexuality and their sexual health as we get older?

Amanda: Well sexuality is you need to be an individual expressing it, so there’s a lot of different ways to express it but you have to be comfortable with yourself in order to express it. So I think what happens is that as people age, they become more comfortable with themselves because they’re really not pleasing anybody else anymore, they’re finally taking their own reins and going “Okay, it’s about me and I’m going to put my own pleasure first.” So when they go to express themselves, they finally fall into themselves and get comfortable with expressing themselves which is important. From a sexual health perspective though, I think it’s really, it’s crazy important for people to really understand and pay attention to their health especially from a sexuality perspective. And I know there’s going to be a good chunk of people that talking about sex or sexual function is completely taboo and they don’t really want to pay attention to what’s going on with the body but they should because oftentimes if there’s a physical cause around anything going on sexually, many of the physical or medical conditions that people can get as they age can cause problems with your sexual function. So sometimes people go “Oh well it’s this … “ No, so conditions like diabetes, heart or vascular, like blood vessel diseases, neurological diseases, hormonal imbalances, chronic diseases like kidney, liver failure.

Dr Drew: Which are all quite common as we discussed and we have discussed many times around the aging body.

Amanda: Absolutely.

Dr Drew: The buildup of chronic diseases over years. Of course at some point when we get older, we will experience unless we’re extremely lucky, we’ll experience one of or two or three of these issues.

Amanda: Absolutely and it’s one of those things that sometimes people ignore it until it’s almost too late or they’ll ignore it until it is actually impacting on their sex life and then somebody else, their sexual partner goes “What’s going on? This isn’t normally like you.”

Dr Drew: Yeah and I think I think it’s timely Amanda that we put out the message to for listeners and for health professionals that are listening to start considering the sexuality in older patients and clients that we deal with because this is one of the barriers we face in the stereotyping and stigma of Aging. And that is, as health professionals we need to do what you just said, encourage the conversation, de-stigmatize the issue and if you’re a listener, start talking to your health professionals openly about your sexual health issues as you age because they are extremely core to the human body. We know this, they are core to the human being and everybody must experience it. So sexuality, sexual health and any problems you have, have to be communicated with your health professional. And health professionals, you have to start checking yourselves to make sure that you’re listening and asking the question. There’s a great article recently written where it’s called ‘catch-22,’ the patient doesn’t want to raise it because they think that the health professional will raise the issue and the health professional doesn’t raise it because they think that the client will raise the issue if they’ve got a problem. Hence, no one raises the problem and the whole problem goes unaddressed.

Amanda: For a very long time.  

Brian: Is there also a thing Drew and Amanda, when if you go to your GP, a lot of people don’t like to talk about their sex life or their lack of sex life with even like your GP, they’re relatively speaking a stranger. There’s that awkward thing of going “Can I just talk to you about the fact that I can’t whatever?” Could you never quite sure, I imagine people are never quite sure how the health professional is going to react.

Dr Drew: Well health professionals are trained. However, I think it’s just a simple method of ‘Let’s start taking off the cuffs.” Uncuff yourself, we need to uncuff our conversation. At some point in your older life, you reach a point where you go “I couldn’t give her stuff. Hey Doc, I’m having problems getting an erection. What can we do about that?”

Brian: Okay, alright. I was thinking, my GP is not one of these, I was thinking if your GP happens to be a particularly religious person. Whether they would be offended by you asking any of those sort of questions. I don’t know.

Dr Drew: Well if they would Brian, they’d be totally out of context with their practice and their professional standards.

Brian: Okay.

Amanda: Yes, absolutely. And unfortunately, what will happen is that there and what you’re bringing up Bryan is completely a normal reaction to it.

Dr Drew: It is one of the known fears.

Amanda: That they don’t want to talk to their GP or it’s a like a longtime family friend GP or it’s the old GP who knows everyone in the family. So what happens is they then go and see the mental health professional like the counselors, psychologists, whatever and then we say “Oh by the way, have you talked to your GP and had your hormones checked or you’re …?” So then it kind of becomes this catch-22 because it’s like if you haven’t had the conversation with them and there’s nothing psychologically wrong with you, you’ve got to go back to them to say “Do the test, run the test so I know what’s going on.”

Dr Drew: Yeah, these are natural fears. Everybody has them but at some point, we have to unchain ourselves or break the cuffs, the handcuffs and we have to have a conversation. I think it’s really up to the listener to decide who they want to have that conversation with but as I said earlier, it’s a communication issue. If you have a partner, communicate with them. If you don’t, find someone you trust to have a communication with. So I want to raise the issue about intimacy and physical touch because I work a lot nursing homes as everyone are aware and I often have this conversation. There’s a great academic and she’s a doctor or nurse and Catholic X or not a Catholic, an ex-Christian nun, I don’t know her denomination to be honest and her name is Elizabeth McKinley and she does a lot of work, a lot of publications around sex, intimacy with people with dementia and who work is astounding. But some of the work she does and other people that work around her have always put very clear lines for us to understand, for people who work therapeutically in this area that there is a difference between intimacy, physical touch and the connection of sexual health and sexuality. And I’m going to throw this context in to when we have discussions in nursing homes around pets, pet therapy, doll therapy and and why it’s common for older people to have a lap dog, a poodle and so forth. Now I’ve heard very many conversations around this, quite some derogatory ones but at the end of the day, it’s not about let’s say an older woman when I use the term ‘That dog is part of her intimacy’ and people looking at me like I’m some sort of psycho, weirdo, animal sex person. And I say to them “No, you’re not getting it.” It’s intimacy, it’s not love and it’s not sex. It might be love, love as in loving a pet but it’s intimacy, it’s connection, it’s touch, it’s companionship and for a lot of really older people that’s all they want and desire and to be quite frankly a good pet, a cat, a dog that’s loyal on your lap isn’t going to be a pain in the ass.

Bron: Absolutely.

Dr Drew: Those choice of words Drew.

Drew: So why is intimacy important Amanda?

Amanda: Intimacy is important because it is one of those things that it plays on the psychology. So intimacy is what really leads to sexual act, so it’s like if you don’t have intimacy, yes you can have sex, yes you can masturbate, yes you can do all those kind of things. But really to have the connection, you require intimacy. And so some people just want to go and have a root or just go and have sex. That’s fine but that doesn’t include intimacy, so intimacy is what leads to connection and so those are conversations, hand on the back, holding hands while walking, sitting on the same couch with your hand on each other’s knee. All of those kind of things and the more you communicate so the better your communication, the better your intimacy levels are.

Dr Drew: Yes. Let me add to that though, having a little dog a poodle or something on your lap, a very old older person and that dog then becomes your connection with self and intimacy and love and companionship and so forth. It is not about sex, it’s about intimacy which is good to have in this conversation so people understand. We can talk about sex but I want at the moment about intimacy and connection. I know very clearly from some of the clients I deal with, their intimacy comes from believe it or not, poetry, mills and boons and for many many people, food.

Bron: It’s all about, you use that word ‘connection.’ I house sit, I’ve got two beautiful dogs here and they more often than not, if I’m sitting on the lounge will come and curl up either on top of me or right next to me and I’m very aware of the comfort that I give them and that they give me. There is this intimacy, yes. I like the physical act of eating, the whole joy of the texture, the taste, the smell, all of those things. It’s about the connection, the giving and taking.

Dr Drew: And comfort. I suppose that’s why they call it comfort food really, don’t they?

Bron: Absolutely. We all have our favorite comfort foods.

Dr Drew: Question. We’re in this conversation level so I’m going right out, there are no holes barred today. Prostitute, sex health worker. As we get older, we lose our partners. We become isolated and separated. Is it okay, do you think in a modern world for older people to be using sexual health workers, sex workers, prostitutes?

Brian: People have been using sex workers, if I could, that’s a dreadful way to put it.

Dr Drew: But that’s what they are, that’s what they call themselves.

Brian: Yes, I’ve realized that. For hundreds of hundreds of years

Dr Drew: Oldest profession in the world, Brian.

Brian: Yes, indeed and one of the better ones I’m told. But no, I don’t see any problem with  people accessing it. It’s no difference, I’m not suggesting for one nanosecond Bronwyn should you, but it’s no different than the online websites now. I mean you can’t tell me that everybody on there is genuinely looking for their other half, their soulmate or whatever.

Bron: No.

Brian: They’re not. All they’ve done is done away with the red light district patiently and spread it all over the globe. I don’t have a problem with it at all.

Dr Drew: Amanda?

Amanda: I think it’s absolutely something to do like if that’s what you want to do, more power to you I would say however and this is where some people who age forget, is that regardless of what you do, with whomever, use protection because yes you may be elder and more experienced but you can still get an STD.

Dr Drew: Yes. I have to add to that, that it’s quite prevalent. The history or the data with inside the medical resources, journals that I’ve read and go to, the data for sexually transmitted disease amongst the older person is on the increase so good opportunity to inform our older listeners, you may be older and you may think you’re clean and you haven’t got any problems but just be warned, you have a human body. Germs and antimicrobial and all these other things that go wrong with the human body are normal, they remain the same so you are still highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases and illnesses as you age and probably more so as you age because you’ve dropped all your boundaries and your barriers because you’re older. It’s not a young person’s disease.

Brian: I think that the other good news out of that Drew is that if it’s increasing in older people, it means that older people are getting more sex.

Dr Drew:  Yeah, absolutely Brian. You can put your finger on that. I mean regardless of what people may think, older people are having a lot of sex. It’s just not talked about, as I said it’s the subject that no one wants to talk about but when we look at the data and we look at the information we have, particularly people with sexologists that look at this like Amanda, nursing and gerontologists at work with it like me, I took a sabbatical some time ago for nine months and really went into the study of sexual health, sexuality in the older person. I was astounded at the amount of figures and data and research we actually have on the shelf in universities over this subject. It is staggering, the amount of information that we have. For me as a implementation scientist in transferring that information out into the public domain is what’s important. We need to get more of it off the shelf and more of it out into the common man, the common person on the street so that we have these discussions openly and understand this is so normal and it’s something that we should not be afraid of talking about. I have millennial children as I’ve discussed regularly and I can assure you when you get around them, it’s all they’re talking about. It’s sex, sex, sex, sex, sex.

Brian: And I don’t think that has changed either since people walked upright. As a teenager or mid twenty, something like that, yeah, eventually your whole life in some way revolve around some sort of sexual play.

Dr Drew: Okay so and now I’m going to jump across in the conversation to look at sexuality and sexual identity because at the moment, this is very prevalent in the news, in the media, in the magazines, journals, articles, everything, everyone reads all about sexual identity and LGBTQ and transgender and intersex. And when I discuss these things with a lot of my older clients that I meet, I go to activities and groups with to catch up with, they’ll ask me straight up “Oh Dr. Drew, come and have a look at this. Tell me, I had to ask somebody. What does this mean? What is this intersex?” And so it confuses them, they’re quite afraid to talk about it because it’s a subject matter that older people, people particular over 65, it’s not subject matter that they talked about or were educated in when they were young. Of course growing up and having sexual health or sexuality issues meant you remained in the closet because there were no gays in this village so to speak. But we must understand and clear up a few things I think today that as I’ve said very early, I’ll put my science out there, I’m talking science now that there are three sexual areas or sexual identity areas, sex areas, sex to me is male or female or intersex. Sexuality, sexual health is a whole bigger, broader spectrum of conversation and that’s where I want to get this conversation for a few minutes. I want to make it very clear from a science and very good data, known biology of the human being through science that we must at least acknowledge that space until it changes, that there is male sex biologically, female sex biologically and there is what we now determine intersex or medical term ‘hermaphrodite’ and biosexuality organs. So men or women, people who were born with both sexual organs. If we jump across that Great Divide, now we talk about sexuality and sexual identity, we’re now talking about the mind, body, the soul and we’re talking about a person’s own choice and their own growth and development. We’re not talking about now what you were given at birth, we’re talking about now what you are developing, what you are thinking and what you are generally doing in your own head, your mind, your body and becoming natural and normal with it. So  sexuality or sexual identity is a choice. It does come naturally. People say “I was born…” we can’t have the argument that you were born gay or you weren’t born with your sexuality or your sex so it’s a conversation that should not be had because it’s strange and it’s not real so we have to draw a line. Okay, you’re born with a biological sex, later as we grow and develop and find ourselves, we have the right, an option to change, nurture, mold, diversify, play with our sexual health and our sexual identity. Amanda?

Amanda: I totally agree with that. I think it’s really important but I think one of the things that you’re going to find now is that the Boomers that we’re talking to, that listen to the show and all that, they were raised in a time where you couldn’t freely be who you really were.

Dr Drew: Of course, I totally agree.

Amanda: And so what’s going to happen is you’re going to have a whole set of people who now feel comfortable coming out of the closet, changing sex, dressing up as women or men of the opposite sex, those kind of things that they now finally feel comfortable doing. Whereas I think the next generation coming through, they’re already experiencing that from a younger age.

Dr Drew: It was bred into them by the Boomers and I’m going to Brian and Brian because you were a little bit older than me during the 60s and 70s, they often say ‘If you remember the 60s and 70s, you weren’t there.’

Bron: Or you just weren’t drunk.

Dr Drew: Or drunk or drugged. But that was the sexual revolution decade or bi-decade so it was the sixties and seventies that actually brought sexuality and sexual health into the public domain open out, loud, proud – that’s where it all began.

Brian: Yeah, I totally agree. I just think that one of the things that happened of course in the 60s is scientists developed the birth control pill and this opened absolute floodgates of being able to have sex pretty much whenever you wanted, with whoever you wanted because the thought was they wouldn’t get pregnant unless they wanted to. Now I know it’s not that full proof, it never was, it never will be.

Dr Drew: But that changed society.

Brian: Yeah, it changed society totally. And at the time that we’re talking about, the sixties and the seventies, I was in London and it was then regarded certainly by people in London as the epicenter of the world. Everything was happening in London and it was, I mean I know we had the stonewall thing in New York where the gays came out and did that thing and that’s become massive now when you look at some of the great parties.

Dr Drew: Absolutely, great story to read.

Brian: Yeah, the Mardi Gras. I mean over here in Australia, they broadcast on national television for heaven’s sake. So I think what’s happened in the last 30-40 years is that so many barriers have been broken down. People now don’t worry about going to a gay pub or of being in the club or whatever it might be. I think it’s just way more open and I think way more healthy. I think it must have been horrendous for people who were gay whether be they male or female years ago who couldn’t stand up and say ‘Yes, I like women or I like men’ or whatever the case may be. It must have been horrendous.

Dr Drew: It must have been horrifying. And Bron, what about your experience and particularly we know your history coming from a religious background family and all that? How did this 60s 70s sexual revolution play a role for you when you were younger and your expectation or your understanding of it now you’re older?

Bron: Well I was raised in a conservative Christian background and for that sort of religious background, like many religious backgrounds, there were only heterosexuals, that was it. You weren’t gay or where you got healed.

Dr Drew: Where you got healed.

Bron: That’s right. Look and there were a lot of

Dr Drew: Evangelistic.

Bron: Oh totally, evangelistic. Things where there was like camps and all sorts of things to heal people of their homosexuality and I did not sit comfortably with anything other than heterosexuality and so interestingly, it’s been my own journey post divorce when my own thinking about the things that I was taught around divorce changed that I was then able to open my own mind to those different sexualities and certainly shifted significantly so that and it was really just my god never had to think of myself and I’ve never thought of myself in any other way than as a heterosexual woman. I’m a woman, I like men and I’ve just thought “Gosh, if I had to, I tried to put myself into other people’s shoes, what if I’d been a woman who liked women?” I’ve never had to do that but I can’t say I can’t now say to them “Your experience is wrong or your experience is not real.”

Dr Drew: But it’s also leads to the stage Bron where now older women or older men from the work that was done back then, we’re discussing that now they have the right and the safety to be able to make the transition across that and be their sexual person that they want.

Bron: That’s right and so they should.

Dr Drew: Absolutely.

Bron: Tough journey.

Dr Drew: I was the Boomers paved the path, paved it out. They’re the ones who blazed the trail so I think we’re in a good spot. What I want to get the message across today is that I think it’s really important now once we listen to the press and the news and the media and the language, it’s all so bloody confusing out there for a lot of people that I think that these stories need to be told more and Boomers need to start telling their stories more and sharing their knowledge of these times of where this come from. This LGBTIQ plus or whatever, let’s add an alphabet to the end of it at the end of the day. But at the end really I think most stories come from the elderly, the older person into their own communities and families to make sure people understand this is no life changing, new extravagant way of swinging to the new world. This has been going on forever and in actual fact the Baby Boomer generation were the ones who pushed it to the wall so to speak and brought it into the fold of community conversation and acceptance. So yes, we’ve put it back into the box several times and we’ve pulled it out of that box several times.

Brian: I think the other thing to bear in mind is that the more open we become as a society, the less chance there is and yes now being now being out whatever but I suspect there’s less of that going on now simply because we have a more open society and that’s got to be good whether you agree with people being gay or intersex or whatever they are, it doesn’t matter. The fact that we cover the open society has got to be helpful.

Dr Drew: Amanda?

Amanda: I totally agree. I think as society grows and ages and has matured over the years and seen the stuff like Brian was talking about, I think we’ve become more aware and more willing to talk about it and I think there’s only good that can come from that.

Dr Drew: Yeah and I just want to iterate why I bring it up and why we have the discussion is because I do believe our older generation now, the Baby Boomers and above, they need to be more active and proactive and more louder and I’ve said this in every podcast we have. It’s a time for Boomers, the time for Boomers to speak, to educate, to train, to lead, to mentor our society as Boomers themselves start to transition out because I don’t like looking back over our shoulders but I do look at these things and look back and think “Where the hell are you all going with all of this rubbish?” There is some pretty ‘keep it simple stupid’ methodology around all of this when we talk about sex, sexual health, sexual identity and predominantly I think the message should be ‘it’s okay, everyone should accept everyone for who they are’ and don’t hold others out for what they like or dislike. So basically it’s like religion, keep it to your bloody self and if you want to overtly send the message and dress a particular way, excellent. I’m not going to bogged down with worrying about what somebody’s pronoun might be because I really can’t be bothered. You’re either going to present physically in a space where I can get you because I have a lot of fourth-dimensional stuff – sight, smell, touch and feel and colour and vision – and I’m going to see you as you present to me. If I’m confused or I don’t know, guess what, I’m going to ask. S I send the big message out to Boomers, “Don’t be afraid to ask people when you see these young people.” The lady other day she said me “Oh I don’t know about that one, what is he trying to do?” I said “He’s sending a message Margaret.” She goes “Well that’s quite scary, How do you know?” I said “It’s pretty simple. Watch this, I asked him.” Now the person didn’t take offence which was quite pleasing and quite openly told and expressed and it showed and then we were all on the same platform and we moved on in the conversation. I think older people need to start asking more questions and telling more stories about their own interpretations of sex, sexuality and sexual health so that we do as Amanda said, become more balanced as we evolve. I don’t think we should swing too far one way because in actual fact we’ve been humans a long time.

Brian: Yeah. Look, I think that’s a very good thing to say Drew. I think if people could just accept anybody, everybody for what they are, for who they are and as you say, ask questions to people. Any form of life at all, it doesn’t matter if you are talking about your sexuality or your job, if your communication isn’t there, it is not going to work.

Dr Drew: I had a young neighbor’s child ask me the other day “Drew, what’s a prostitute?” And I turn and I thought ‘Okay well I’m going to say, I’m an educator and I’m a leader in the community.” I say “Yes, a prostitute is a person who has sex with other people for money as a business.” Well I thought that was a perfect answer, that’s what it is and they looked at me, their parent looked at me with absolute horror and dismay and the young boy said to me “Is that alright? Is that allowed?” I said “Well in our country it’s legal and it’s okay.” And he just looked at me and went “Okay” and off he skipped down the street. The mother turn to me and said “Oh my God. I would never have known how to answer that question.”

Amanda: And I think Drew, you just picked up on it, is that in order to answer the question, you have to be open, honest and genuine and answer the question that is being presented in front of you. Just like in anything else, you just ask. They said, ‘what’s the definition?’ you gave the definition, end of story. If they wanted to continue the conversation, they would have.

Dr Drew: And that’s the thing about sex, sexual health and sexuality, as we do age, we should just have the conversations amongst each other. Talk to people that we trust, ask the questions that are challenging your mind and look for the answers that suit and the ones you can work with because I think it’s important as we age, that we understand that we’re going to experience sexuality, sexual health and sex problems as we age but it’s not the end of the world and I believe and as I will preach that everything is fixable, doable and manageable even as you age.

Amanda: Yeah. And I think another issue that we’re going to find is that something as simple as that kid asking a question and you openly answering that question, he’ll grow up to know that it is okay to ask questions about it whereas our Boomers grew up in an age where you were not allowed to ask questions so now where they are old enough that they have to ask their own question, they don’t feel comfortable.

Dr Drew: Alright. I want to know your thoughts in general about sex and aging and what it means to you and the message you want to send to other older people, Bron ladies first.

Bron: I think it comes back to those whole words of ‘Trust yourself.’ Know what you want, know what you like, be prepared to talk about it and know that it’s okay.

Dr Drew: And Brian?

Brian: Yeah. Look, I would like to second what Bron just said. Apart from getting the message across and I was thinking as a number of you have mentioned in this last hour, ‘Talk to people. Converse with people. Say what you want. Say what you believe. Just be upfront.’ In that way, at least it kind of comes back and bites you on your proverbial bum.

Dr Drew: I agree. Amanda?

Amanda: I would say that what Bron said was absolutely brilliantly said. I would also include that it’s really important to remember that sex, suxuality and intimacy are unique to the person experiencing them so don’t try to compare or judge yourself against other people because they are unique to you.

Dr Drew: Brilliant advice. And for me, everybody and all our listeners I’ll make it very simple and short and sweet and that is ‘It’s not about the deed as Brian calls it, it’s more about the thinking and the process.’ So whatever it is that you’re thinking about, it may not have a deed involved, employ your sexual health and sexuality as your age. Get your sexy on and get your mojo happening and ask and communicate because you can enjoy a great space as you age and carry yourself sexually as an older person.

Wayne: You’ve been listening to the Baby Boomer Podcast. Today we have been dealing with ‘Let’s talk about sex baby’ with our regular panelist Amanda Lambros, Brian Hinselwood, Bron Williams and Dr Drew Dwyer. If you enjoined our podcast, please think about helping us out on patreon.com where you can show your support and lend us a dollar or two. Or if you are on social media, we just like you to say ‘hello.’ Click on one of those faces, the smiley face, the frowny face, the like, the share, any of those buttons – let us know that you are listening. And if you have a question for any of our panelists or for Dr Drew, just drop it in the comment section on any of our social media channels you are watching and we’ll be able to see it and we’ll pass it on one of our panelists or to Dr Drew Dwyer for an answer. My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’re listening to Boomsday Prepping.

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