22,000 words into the novel, a chap needs a bit of light relief from the life and death decisions involved in character and plot. So he turns to Twitter (where else?) and discovers that the nation is obsessed with geriatric sex.
It’s the burning issue of the hour down there in Chatterati Gulch: it seems that somebody finally decided to ask people over 85 something other than a shouted “‘ave yer been?”, and the one they chose was “how’s the nookie these days?”
The sex life of the senior citizen has always been a delicate subject, and so at the outset I’d like to reassure you that I propose to discuss it with my familiar lack of any sensitivity or good taste whatsoever.
As a former market researcher, I must first of all express some doubts about the nature of the sample being surveyed here. As some of you out there may well be young, it’s only fair that I point out the obvious: these people are seriously old. They get confused about stuff. Things like what century it is, the name of the planet, where babies come from, is there really a little green Uruguayan under the table…you know, the stuff nobody really needs to know about, but which is quite important if you have to rely on the answers they give you in a qualitative research study.
When I write “quite important” in that understated way we British used to have, what I really mean is fucking vital. You see, after thirty years as a focus group leader, you learn to distrust those respondents who – when asked their age – answer “gardening”. Especially when further questioning reveals that the problem is not one of hearing, but rather the substantive nature or otherwise of what lies between those ears. We’re sticklers for this kind of thing in the research space. We can’t help it. It’s who we are.
In investigating the sex life of those shuffling through the ninth decade, unfortunately the behavioural observation alternative is not one many investigators feel comfortable with. The few that are relaxed about that approach – and far be it from me to doubt its efficacy – we tend to call voyeurs, perverts, MI6, and earnest people who thought Little Britain was a documentary. (See earlier reference to ‘the Young’)
I realise that much of the foregoing lays me open to charges of ageism, but on the other hand, I plead common sense in mitigation – that, and being myself only seventeen years away from respondent rather than researcher in this regard. Also, let’s be clear here: I didn’t start all this sicko shit.
I mean, who cares how much sex they have? What are we worried about, the illegitimacy rate? But other people like tabloid editors do care, and it’s all over Twitter and in my face so I need to point out the wasteful insanity of it all. I’m old. Have some pity can’t you.
There now follow some random observations – don’t worry, it’s just some kind of early onset problem I have – that might serve to make my point about what the research “showed”, haha. Namely, that sex over 85 is really hot.
I suspect that the recall of sex among over 85s might well be related to what else of any interest at all is going on. I’m talking relativities. If the year’s high point was an outing to Skegness, then an erection of any kind at any time is going to beat that into a cocked hat, if you’ll pardon the expression. Just the hint of a female orgasm, I submit, will be recalled as the galactic clitoral explosion of the century.
Or taking another angle on it, sex seems better after 85 because you forget immediately how unmemorable it was.
If you take sex over 85, and multiply it by 365 over 12, the equational outcome “shows” that you’re having sex three times a month, even if you only had sex once after your 85th birthday. These are not what we social scientists call reliable data. One is reminded of the ever-present overclaiming problem among males. Also the old gag about the 103 year-old bloke being asked when he and his missus first noticed erectile dysfunction, to which he replies, “Three times this morning, seven times this afternoon, and twice this evening so maybe it’s time you left”.
There are just so many variables to take into account, not the least of which is Death. The way the Ministry of Justice and Crown Prosecution Service think these days, what starts out as a happy romp of a Sunday afternoon could end up in charges of necrophilia. And if you think that’s in bad taste, just take a look at what’s being done to 88 year old Rolf Harris.
I don’t know about you, but when I was aged twelve it seemed to me a cast-iron certainty that my parents last had sex to produce me in 1948, and my brother in 1944. I simply could not conceive haha of them doing those beast-with-two-backs gymnastics for fun. So perhaps I am guilty of underestimating the possibility that Life Begins at Eighty.
But I doubt it. I’m a big boy now, coming up to the soixante-neuf age in 11 days, f’nar f’nar. And my bottom line re this one is that the only survey of post 85 year old sex I’d be likely to take at all seriously would be one conducted by folks over 85 years old.
That in itself, of course, could lead to all kinds of credibility problems….and the length of an average blog doesn’t run to anywhere near enough of the space required to contain such a discourse.
So instead, I shall sum up my conclusion on this latest study in one word: tosh.