Opinions

Sexuality a “critical piece of identity, regardless of age”

George Hopkins demonstrates how to use a condom with the help of a broom handle. Seniors A GoGo is a group of seniors who discuss issues related to sexuality through monologues and presentations. Rebekah Jarvis photo

Seniors A GoGo is a performance group led by Mariette Sluyter of the Foundation Lab, Inc. and funded by Calgary Sexual Health.
The performances are powerful, real-life stories of human sexuality told by seven diverse Calgary seniors.
I’ve been volunteering with the group this fall and felt moved by the powerful and courageous stories these brave seniors are bringing to our city.
Before I got involved in the Seniors A GoGo group, I didn’t think seniors even had sex.
Well, boy was I wrong!
The most startling thing I realized working with this group is that seniors have exactly the same needs as everyone else: the need to be loved, to feel needed, to feel important, human, and to express their sexuality.
However, sexuality is more than just sex. Hearing the stories these people have to tell, I realized sexuality is a critical piece of an individual’s identity, regardless of age.
Sexuality and love are two of the anchors of life. They are rooted deep down inside of us.
Being quite young (17 to be exact), I found myself listening to these stories wondering what it will be like for me when I get older.
I wondered if I wouldn’t be able to have a boyfriend because of my age, if it would be frowned upon to cuddle in public, if I would become ashamed for showing my sexuality. I thought about what these pressures on seniors say about our society as a whole. We value youth far too much.
The stories of these remarkable individuals are an amazing expression of courage and strength. To be willing to confront the preconceived notions of propriety takes ovaries of iron and balls of steel.
Frankly, now when I see an older adult in the Safeway parking lot I don’t just think “do they need help carrying their groceries?” I also wonder the same thing teenagers wonder about any adult.
I wonder if they’ve ever been in love, if they’ve fallen out of love and survived, and if they’ve ever felt so close to someone that it feels like you are one person.
After working with Seniors A Go Go and hearing these stories I wonder one more thing I would have found impossible to think about before.
Now, I also wonder, “Are they gettin’ any?

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