The age of love: sexual rights for older people in the UK

Возраст любви: сексуальные права пожилых людей в Великобритании

Many older people have an active sex life. The age of love: sexual rights for older people in the UK Human rights

Some women came alone. Others are with friends. Some of them were 70 years old. They all attended an “Age of Love” event at a community center in Northampton, England, on a Saturday afternoon.

While the women were waiting for the program to start, the organizers turned on pleasant music. The curtains were drawn to maintain privacy. Some women were chatting with friends, while others sat in silence. 

“Everyone was a little nervous at first, considering that for the next three hours, conversations will be about sex and health, said Audrey Tan, psychologist, teacher and co-organizer of the event. “But almost immediately people started talking openly and enjoying it,” she added. 

Sheffield University psychology professor Sharron Hinchliffe, who came up with the idea for the meetings, says she wanted to create a platform where older people could get answers to questions about issues in a friendly and confidential environment. ;your body and sexuality. 

The first events were focused on women, but in December 2023 the first meeting for men, dedicated to their mental and sexual health. “Men want to talk about these things, too,” Hinchliffe noted, “but we don’t often give them the opportunity or the right environment.”

She said that such events help fill the information gap that older people often face when they want to learn about issues such as menopause, erectile dysfunction or the effects of diseases and medications on libido. ;nbsp;

“We hear from older people all the time that it’s not easy to find reliable information,” Hinchliffe said. Part of the problem, she says, is stereotypes: Many people think older people aren’t interested in sex. “But we know that many older people people have active sex lives,” Hinchliffe emphasizes. Others would like to, but don’t have the opportunity: one study in the UK in 2019 found that around one in four men and one in six women aged 55 to 74 years old have health problems or take medications that affect their sex life. 

“There is a large unmet need for information and services among older people in the UK,” Hinchliffe said. And this need is likely to grow as life expectancy increases and the population ages. Life expectancy in the country is about 80 years, and today about a quarter of the country’s inhabitants are people aged 60 years or older.  

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Older people tell Hinchliffe that doctors often ignore them needs and problems in the area of ​​sexual health due to age. “Cases vary: some were not told when it was safe to resume sex after a hysterectomy, others were told that painful sex was ‘age-related’ but were offered no help or advice,” Hinchliffe explained. & nbsp;

Research data shows that the sexual rights of older people are often violated. That’s why Hinchliffe and other experts developed the UK’s first Charter for Older People’s Sexual Rights, which aims to ensure that older people are treated with respect and without discrimination when it comes to their sexuality.

The ideas set out in the Charter are already being put into practice: the website has been created with& ;nbsp;information about sexual health and sexuality for women and older men.

Denial of sexual rights to older people can take many forms. For example, in some nursing homes they are prohibited from having intimate relationships. Older people are often excluded from sexual health campaigns, including those aimed at preventing and treating sexually transmitted infections. 

For example, in 2019, the results of one study showed that between 2014 and 2018, the number of such infections fell by more than 7 percent among men aged 20 to 24 years, but during that period same period increased by almost 14 percent among men aged 45 to 64 years and by 23 percent among men and women aged 65 years and older. ;

Older people are less likely than younger people to report sexual abuse because they fear they won’t be believed because they don’t fit into the public consciousness, Hinchliffe said. “the image of a rape victim.” sexual issues or postpone this step. Professor Hinchliffe notes that all these problems are even more acute for older people from minorities, conservative groups or poor families. rights is designed to help medical and social workers, public organizations and politicians better navigate the problems of older people and find effective solutions.

*The article was prepared based on materials latest report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).


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