Sometimes it might feel like there are no taboos left in the world but that’s not true: old people having sex. That’s taboo. Nobody wants to think about grandma or grandpa or both having any of the kind of fun it took to turn them into parents and then grandparents. Our culture tends to infantilize the elderly. Once your hair turns sufficiently gray, it seems, you suddenly are no longer a sexual creature.
Probably the coolest PSA of all time is setting out to change all that. It’s from the group SaferSexforSeniors.org, and will have you thinking of the old couple next door very differently next time you see them. The simple, eloquent video showing elderly couples in kama sutra poses … clothed, yes, but certainly more limber than you might have given them credit for, what with all the doggie style, wheelbarrowing and faux fellatio we’ve got going on here. After you look at all these ways to do it you read the tagline: “There’s only one way to do it safely: with a condom.”
Fast Company’s Joe Berkowitz spoke to Matt Eastwood of the DDB New York, the company that made the ad. Seniors, he said, are simply not used to the idea of condoms, which is a serious business because the STD rate in Florida alone went up 62% in seniors from 2005-2009. Families and physicians don’t want to talk about safe sex with seniors.
Viagra has changed the senior landscape in that men who might not be “up” to looking for sex in their older age are looking for it these days … but neither party might be on the lookout for their health. Sometimes newly single seniors, who came of age when condoms weren’t for STDs, but for birth control, figure they don’t need them.
They may also think that STDs are a young people’s disease and assume, like many young people do, that it won’t happen to them.
“Our goal was to make the under-discussed impossible not to discuss,” Eastwood said.
Mission accomplished. After you see the video and consider the issue it’s difficult not to think about seniors in a whole new way and hopefully it will be easier for them to start talking more about this all-important issue. And when they talk (which they will) do them and yourself a favor … listen.