The Intersection of Sexual Culture and Age
People often think of young youth when they hear the words “sexual culture”, but the reality is that sexual culture affects all age groups, in different ways and for different reasons. Here is a breakdown of how the two intersect:
Young adults between 18 and 24 are often the target of educational material related to sexual health and safety. From introduction to contraception and safe sex practices to abstinence messaging, young people between these ages often face the toughest barrage of information. As well, changing ideas around gender and sexuality can often mean navigating a winding road of social norms and personal values.
Adults between 35 and 55 are often faced with a different set of questions and considerations. Middle age can often see the end of a long relationship, the re-entering of the dating world or even the discovery of new sexual attractions. Supporting family, or balancing at-home roles and sexual expression can be a difficult mental challenge.
As people age, the needs surrounding sexual culture become more about safety and connection than about performance and pleasure. For those over the age of 65, maintaining sexual expression and intimacy is not only a mental and emotional challenge but also a physical one. Many older adults often find themselves unable to explore sexual expression as they once did, leading to potential loneliness and depression.
Safety for All Ages
No matter what age, the goal of a healthy sexual culture remains the same: safety. Remember:
- Always practice safe sex. This includes using condoms, dental dams and other materials to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections.
- Be honest and open with partners. Communication is key to making sure your partner(s) are consenting to everything and protecting themselves.
- Check in with yourself. Step back and explore how you are feeling emotionally and physically to make sure that you are engaging in safe and consensual sexual activity.
Engaging in a healthy sexual culture no matter what age is a key goal to respecting yourself and others. Even if you face different considerations and needs, safety must remain the same priority.