Sex After 50: Can Cannabis Help Older Adults Rejuvenate Their Intimacy?
Meet the Fockers came out in 2004, my senior year of high school. I remember watching Barbra Streisand’s character, a senior sex therapist, thinking, “Wow. I love that she’s so enthusiastic and open about sex for older adults! I’ve never met anyone like that!” Fast forward nine years, and I'm at a sex conference face-to-face with Joan Price, a passionate writer, educator, and advocate for all things related to sexuality for the over-50 crowd. She was wearing a black t-shirt with the words “Naked At Our Age” proudly emblazoned upon it, and I knew right away I’d met a solid role model.
Joan has authored three books on the topic, the most recent being The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life. In her introduction she shares a piece of wisdom that hit me right in the feels:
“Part of embracing our sexuality across the lifespan means redefining what sex means at different stages of our lives. I celebrated my sexuality in my late fifties and early sixties with my beloved Robert, who was my lover and then my husband. I celebrate it now, widowed–as many of us are–with drawers full of sex toys and occasional lusty dates. Things change. We change. But with knowledge and creativity, sex can remain a part of who we are.”
I reached out to Joan to see if she had some additional insights into the growing trend of cannabis use in the older adult population.
Joan Price, senior sex writer, educator, and advocate
Ashley: CBS recently ran a story about cannabis use increasing among seniors. What have you noticed in terms of shifting attitudes related to cannabis in your communities, peer groups, and folks you've worked with?
Joan: The CBS story doesn’t surprise me for two reasons. First, pain and the avoidance of pain are huge issues as our aging bodies challenge us. Of course we’ll try something that alleviates pain and helps us sleep!
Second, many of the people we’re calling seniors now are the Boomers who were smoking pot when today’s Millennials weren’t even a gleam in their parents’ eyes! I don’t hear much from people who are discovering cannabis for the first time. Rather, people who used it in the past (some still do, some don’t) are asking, as I am, “Why is medical marijuana, which helps people, legal in only 24 states – while cigarettes, which kill people, are legal in every state?” I do hear from women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s who read my review of Foria and want to try it for increased sexual pleasure, but it is illegal in their state and they can’t.
Ashley: Do you think cannabis could positively impact senior sexuality when used mindfully? How might it be helpful?
Joan: Yes, if products like Foria and recreational cannabis were legal in all states, and the stigma of doing something shady and illegal were removed, seniors could benefit from the increased sensation and relaxation and decreased pain during sex. They’d also probably be interested in having sex more often because it would be so pleasurable! That’s just my guess, though.
Ashley: What's one common misconception about seniors and sexuality that you'd like to see corrected?
Joan: The most serious misconception is that we have an expiration date when it comes to sexual expression and sexual pleasure. We do not! We are lifelong sexual beings.
As Joan points out, pain and avoiding pain are two major challenges for the aging population. Cannabinoids like CBD hold much promise in this area, even in states where THC-infused products are still illegal. One Denver-based company, Apothecanna, used CBD derived from industrial hemp, so they’re able to ship their products to all 50 states. My father, 60, speaks highly of the extra-strength pain spray for relief of arthritis and joint pain.
What are some ways you’ve found cannabis helpful for sex after 50? Tell us in the comments!
Joan Price calls herself an advocate for ageless sexuality. She has been writing and speaking about senior sex since 2005. In 2013, Joan conceived and edited the steamy anthology, Ageless Erotica. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life. Joan continues to talk about senior sex — partnered or solo – in speeches and workshops, and on her blog about sex and aging, NakedAtOurAge.com, which includes senior sex news, views, and reviews of more than 80 sex toys from a senior perspective. She also writes the “Sex at Our Age” column for SeniorPlanet.org. Joan received the 2014 Catalyst Award for “inspiring exceptional conversations about sexuality.”
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