Updated: Thursday, 23rd November 2017 @ 12:04pm

Frisky - or risky - at 50? Love in a time of chlamydia.... and HIV, and warts

Frisky - or risky - at 50? Love in a time of chlamydia.... and HIV, and warts

by Holly Brooke-Smith

STRIPPING social prejudice bare, Manchester City Council has published a sexual health guide for the over 50s.

Together with the NHS Manchester Primary Care Trust, the council has gathered real life concerns from Manchester residents and compiled the 48-page book of advice to tackle the taboo of ‘sex and the senior citizen’.

The book, with chapters such as ‘Let’s Talk about Sex’ and ‘Practice and Being Prepared’, was released in time for the UK Day of the Older Person on October 1.

Research for the project suggested that people over the age of 50 feel there is very little sexual health and relationship advice tailored to their age group.

Martin Rathfelder, 57, of patient watchdog Manchester LINK, said: “It's important there isn't a taboo over this. Some of us do foolish things and might not feel entirely at ease if we're the oldest person in the sexual health clinic."

The council are attempting to remove any self-consciousness older generations might feel when discussing sexual health.

Manchester City Council Deputy Leader Councillor ,Val Stevens, said: "All previous work in this field has been aimed at young people. 

“In Manchester we value older people and we felt they have every right to sexual health and relationship advice.  It is time for a rethink about ageing.”

Undeniably, we live in a world that pressures us to look and feel young.  Every day we are bombarded with advertisements that glamorise youth culture, and products that claim to reverse the implicitly negative effects of ageing.

The media’s attitude towards age has recently been re-evaluated. 

The BBC has been forced to defend accusations of ageism after  Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Phillips, 66, was replaced by Alesha Dixon, 30 years her junior.

Increasingly, however, the over 50s are wearing their wrinkles with pride.

A contributor to the book, Pam, 68, says: “We’re more experienced, more mature and more confident and we’re able to talk about what we want… which makes us better lovers.”

With divorce rates on the rise, more and more over 50s are finding themselves confronted with a dating game that has evolved.

Martin Rathfelder adds:  “Some of us might need a bit of a reminder. I don't know that it will be to everyone's taste. Some people have given up on that sort of thing by my age but I'm not sure that's entirely healthy either.

“I don't think you can assume because people are over 50 that they know what's right and healthy. For some of us the world's changed since we were boys and girls, for example there was no HIV when I was young.”

Acting Director of Public Health for NHS Manchester, Dave Regan, said: “Sexual health is not just a concern for younger people and the research we have done suggests that many people will find this new guide useful and informative.

"There are believed to be few other similar sexual health promotion resources for older people across the country.”

The book also coincides with the Full of Life fortnight that celebrates positive ageing.

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