Along with golf lessons and joining bird watching Facebook groups, my husband and I have been dabbling in hiking. Think being confused by head torches and zip off trousers in Anaconda and getting around in gear that’s the antithesis of the edgy urbanity we cultivated when we lived in Collingwood.
We were in polar fleece and hiking boots on the way home from a You Yangs walk a couple of weekends ago and passed adult toy store Sexyland on the Geelong outskirts. Let’s stop in, said Chris. Saturday night special. We had an hour to kill before our bowls club dinner booking, so in we went.
Given the goods he’s surrounded by at work the pierced, tattooed 20-year-old behind the register has seen a lot, but even he betrayed a flash of surprise at the sensibly-clad oldies wandering the floor. I had to put my glasses on to check the provenance of the flight attendant costumes. My husband had our sandwich bag of scroggin in his pocket. S
till, the staffer was game to approach us. Could he help with anything? Yep. Something for the man in my life. We discussed size requirements, price, purpose, quality. It was a franker conversation than I’ve had with my gynaecologist and I’ve given birth three times. He stopped me at one point: “Have you ever used anything like this before?”
And there it was – perspective.
From his, we were as we looked: middle-aged dags who like fresh air and turning in early (but only to drop off to sleep before seeing the mystery house on Escape to the Country on the bedroom telly). From ours, we were as we felt: cool, experienced, sexual beneath our waterproof parkas. Throwers of all-night parties who feel 30 inside, still really want to go to that infamous Berlin disco and recently had the hottest night ever in Thailand, skinny dipping in our private pool courtesy of a long, legal, local joint.
And yes son, I’ve been using “something like this” for about two decades since before you were born.
Why do younger people assume that those who have gone before them have never done anything “naughty”, especially when it comes to sex? How do you think you got here? Perhaps it’s too terrifying to think about – mum and dad doing it – but rest assured, we’ve all had a good crack at it in our time and many still are. I’ve gotten into Netflix’s hit How To Build a Sex Room although I’m still working up to the studded dog collar our shop assistant showed us.
Global research shows older people continue to have sex and value intimacy as an important part of their lives. So much so that between 2000 and 2018, rates of STDs among Australian women aged 55-74 rose faster than among younger women. A 2018 poll found two thirds of people over 65 are still keen on having sex.
As a newly-minted 56, I know the value of sex to a relationship and treasure that part of my marriage. It feels more relaxed than when I was younger, less goal oriented, definitely something I want to do for decades. Hot tip for those ladies my age: HRT has been a game changer. Happy to talk to you about it.
I do get the inherent sexiness some older people feel often isn’t visible to anyone else. Our Sexyland experience came a couple of weeks after we checked into a Singapore hotel. On the booking, I’d ticked the special occasion box. It was the anniversary of the first time we took our clothes off together, giddy from listening to the Readers’ Digest Best of Air Supply on vinyl.
The guy checking us in was thrilled to break good anniversary news. An upgrade – to a room with twin beds! No need to sleep together on our big day! It was funny. Thanks, but no thanks. We stuck with the king bed and the fun.