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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
'At 78 I still like sex'
Ada is delighted that she still has an active sex life
Sex has long since come out from behind closed doors - except for those who are many decades over the age of consent. Ada, a great-grandmother from north London, agrees with a new report that sex between older people shouldn't be taboo.

My husband died 18 years ago, and now I have a partner who I met about eight years ago. At 76, Sam is two years younger than me, and yes I do get toyboy jibes.

Geoffrey Palmer and Judi Dench in As Time Goes By
The passion doesn't have to go with age
We don't live together so instead we commute to see each other. He comes and stays with me each weekend, and sometimes during the week. That suits us both fine, especially as I've always been fairly independent.

Widows always joke that although they like their freedom, it would be great to have a little man in the corner to do the odd jobs about the house.

Sam and I laugh about it, as it's an added dimension to our relationship. As soon as he comes in the door, he sees something that needs fixing and so gets his tools out.

Young at heart

I met Sam through the pensioners' movement. He was chairing one of the committees I'm on, and we started going for drinks after each meeting.

Aging in the UK
Life expectancy is 78 for women and 74 for men
Over-65s make up 20% of population
People gradually realise that we're together and there's a little bit of ribbing: 'Oh, here come the lovebirds'.

I do still see myself as a sexual being, even though I no longer get wolf whistles in the street. I've never been particularly hung up on my body image, but I am sometimes surprised that Sam finds me attractive.

This is not only because of the normal signs of ageing but also because I've got Parkinson's disease. I've got very much thinner; my arms are saggy; and my feet are bad because of this disease.

Honor Blackman, former Bond girl
Honor Blackman: Still a sex symbol at 76
But once we get into bed, we're both young again.

I do have to listen to a lot more moans and groans of the 'Ow, my aching back' variety; and we both suffer from cramp from time to time, which always sends us into fits of giggles.

Sex has always been important to me, but sex when you're older is of a different sort. I don't mean the sex is different but the need for each other is greater.

When I was younger there was always screaming children or work or such like to distract you. Now we've got all day and all night for each other.

Dating scene

There's a lot of pairing off in the pensioners' group, as indeed there is in similar groups and in nursing homes.

Women who have been widowed or divorced do feel that although it can be wonderful to be on their own, they want kisses and cuddles if not necessarily full sexual contact.

Sir Paul McCartney, 60, and Heather Mills, 33
Age hasn't slowed down this sexagenarian
The men, who are less likely to have a wide circle of friends, do tend to need the regard of women more than we need the regard of men.

Thus it does tend to be the men who do the chasing, although I have seen women do that too. Well, they don't run because their sticks get in the way - that, and desperation is never attractive.

I don't talk about sex with that many people, but I am at an age when it needs to be discussed. Yet despite any physical problems involved, my friends and I agree that sex when you are older can be better.

There's a feeling of freedom that means you can just relax and let go. You lose your inhibitions.

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The myth that old people never have sex must be dispelled, say experts. Old age sex
Experts dismiss myths about the elderly
See also:

08 May 02 | Health
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10 Jul 02 | UK
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