Western society has a tendency to shun sexuality in older adults. We don’t talk about it. We certainly don’t encourage it. As a whole, we would rather not think about senior citizen dating, and heaven forbid we talk about senior citizen sex. Collectively, we may think that senior citizens should be quietly sitting in their living rooms or on their front porches. Yet, as America’s population ages, older adults are finding ways to make their voices heard on topics relating to dating and sexuality.
Thanks to free senior dating sites and larger sites like eHarmony, online dating for adults between the ages of 40 and 70 has skyrocketed. The senior singles dating scene is alive and well, and websites like senior-dating.org have cropped up with the sole intention of helping seniors navigate the world of online dating. Studies from the National Institutes of Health note the importance of companionship and intimacy at every age. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of 5 tips for senior dating, both online and in person:
- Remember that your children are not your keepers. Dating for seniors can be difficult for seniors with adult children who often have concerns about their parents’ potential partners. The Society of Certified Senior Advisors (CSA) notes that there is evidence of changing attitudes and more positive support from children toward a parent’s remarriage (and, by extension, dating). For many couples late in life, family approval with regard to a partner is extremely important. Remember that your family can be your counselors, but ultimately, your dating decisions are your own.
- Find the right avenue. Online dating is not for everyone. If you prefer to meet new people in person, then consider getting involved in group activities. You are not limited to singing in a church group or joining a book club. Seniors Meetups is a site where anyone can start a group for any activity, like bowling or walking in the park. Other people join that group if they like the activity, and together they decide where and when to meet up. You can be part of as many groups as you want!
- Communicate your expectations. If you were happily married for 50 years to a wonderful spouse who recently passed away, remarriage may not be on your mind even if you’re ready to date again. That’s ok! According to the CSA, senior citizen marriage statistics show that living together is on the rise, in part thanks to social changes surrounding the idea of marriage. The CSA also notes that men are more likely than women to remarry, so discussing your expectations with potential partners can save a lot of confusion.
- Practice safe sex. The AARP has reported that STD rates are on the rise among older populations, especially in retirement communities. You may not be looking for a sexual relationship, but if you are, make sure to use protection. If you are on the fence because you haven’t used it in the past, you should know that as the body ages its immune system weakens, and STD’s can make you more likely to develop other infections.
- Meet in public. This is always a priority for any meeting, but especially if you’ve met someone promising online, make sure to meet in a public place on a first date and to tell a friend or family member where you’ll be. Meeting in public also has a larger benefit: the more people see senior citizens dating and having romantic lives, the more society as a whole will begin to embrace sexuality in later years.
Have you or a loved one had success with dating later in life? Share your stories below.