Sex at 70

When I was in my teens, I thought that people in their 60s and 70s couldn’t possibly still be having sex. The very thought of geriatric sex gave me a frisson of disbelief. How could such a thing even be possible?

Even if the machinery of sex was still somehow able to chug along and climb the mountain (“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”), surely desire could no longer coexist. How could lust still make a cameo appearance and share the stage with bat-winged underarms, topographical cellulite and Michelin Man love handles? The image was so preposterous and disturbing that I assumed that it was an impossibility: an urban myth like Nessie or albino sewer alligators. But as I greeted each new decade, I kept waiting for the thrill of lovemaking to fade. I kept expecting that I would wake up one day to discover that it was gone, like the lost city of Atlantis or those cheap sunglasses that I keep misplacing. But it just kept tagging along on my life’s adventures, like a loyal dog, wagging its tail and happy to see me. I look over at my guy and he’s thickened a bit in the middle and his hair isn’t the lion’s mane it once was. Now, I am that woman “d’un certain age” with the crow’s feet and graying hair. We have between us so many years of tenderness and deep knowledge of the other. Perhaps we are less acrobatic now but we can still stick the landing. Perhaps we are slower now, but we know what Aesop wrote about the tortoise. Some years ago, I met a woman who worked in a nursing home. She told me that many of the residents struggled with Alzheimer’s and could no longer recognize relatives. Nevertheless, she said, she would often find them entwined together in various Kama Sutra positions and would have to disengage them to give them their medications. I find that hopeful. We all still long for human touch, long after we can no longer taste food, smell flowers, or see the sky.

Randie Denker ’72 lives in Tallahassee, FL. She is an environmental attorney and activist, sole proprietor of Denker Law Office, co-founder of Waters Without Borders, and currently a Fulbright teaching scholar. She specializes in water issues and is also a certified scuba diver. She speaks eight languages and can still do 50 regular push-ups.