Sunday, 2 May 2021

Britain is a country where old men in bed have a Champion in a Charity called 'Relate' and a campaign called : 'Let's talk the joy of later life sex'

The charity, 'Relate' began life in 1938 as the 'National Marriage Guidance Council', when the 70 year old clergyman Herbert Gray, noted that the divorce rate was increasing and decided to do something about it. In order to do this he teamed up with a young Methodist Minister in his 30s called David Mace and a Eugenicist called Dr Edward Fyfe Griffith. After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the organisation expanded with the help of Government funding received from the Labour Government. Relate adopted its current name on Valentine's Day 1988 and in the 1990s its public profile increased after Princess Diana became its patron in 1989.

Despite recent funding cuts, it still sees over 150,000 clients a year, at more than 600 locations across Britain where it provides counselling for couples, families, young people and individuals and sex therapy, mediation and training courses. In its most recent initiative, 'Let's talk the joy of later life sex', it says : 'We've teamed up with renowned British photographer, Rankin, to shine the spotlight on the unseen – sex and intimacy in our later years, in the campaign : It was conceived by advertising and marketing agency, 'Ogilvy', after seeing advertising failing to represent older generational intimacy. Relate chose to film five old couples and one older woman 'in their most intimate settings, the team set out to show what sex and intimacy can mean in later life in a way that’s never been done before'. Its aim was 'to tackle the stigma around this unspoken subject'.

'There is a notion that older people shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t want to have sex and be intimate. Why? It is rarely talked or written about yet we know that for many older people, sex and intimacy remains a really important part of their lives'. Apparently, according to new research :

*  two-thirds of over 65s (67%) say sex and intimacy for their age group is 'either rarely or never  represented in media'   

* only one-fifth of people across Britain think society is 'OK talking about sex and intimacy in people aged over 60'                                                                                                                                              *

* fewer than 10% of people aged over 65 think society is 'comfortable with talking about sex and intimacy in people aged over 60' 

* the majority (60%) of people aged over 65 'aren’t comfortable talking openly to anyone about sex and intimacy' and cite : 

embarrassment as the top reason at 66%

followed by, ‘it just wasn’t talked about when I was younger’ (64%)  

not wanting to make others uncomfortable (63%)                                                                                

not knowing when to bring it up (58%) 

and lack of confidence (57%)

'Relate' announced : 'It’s time to break that taboo. This campaign champions the importance of sex and intimacy in later life, exploring everything from long-term love to new adventures, tender intimacy to the more risqu√©. The series of images feature a whole range of older people, from Andrew and Mark who have been together for 31 years, to Chrissie who has had a double mastectomy and her partner Roger, to Daphne and Arthur who still hold hands when they walk. The people featured are of varying ethnicities, sizes, shapes and sexualities, aiming to show that we can all feel empowered to think and talk about sex and intimacy as we grow older'.


With Billie and Cora, Billie said : "I think you’re as young or as old as you think you are. Or how you feel. It’s all in the mind. I’m 83 now but I’ve never felt my age whatever it was".


With Mark and Andrew, Andrew said "We’ll lie in bed, and we both love reading in bed. And we’ll lie back to back. But feet would be touching and it's moments like that, that are important to you".



With Lynne and George, Lynne said : "Intimacy in a relationship is very important. You've got to love each other, be intimate with each other". 


With Daphne and Arthur, Daphne said : "Sex is great, and when your relationship is new. Sex is, you know, first last and in the middle. But, as you get older when the first flush of youth dissipates. I think intimacy comes naturally because intimacy is sharing everything, not just your body".

With Chrissie and Roger, Chrissie said : "There are barriers to having sex when you get older, but many of them revolve around health, particularly if you've had surgery, you physically cannot have sex. Then the intimacy, the love the couple share, often shines through".

Margaret said : "My sex life with my husband was intense through the whole of our marriage. As we got older it got better".



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