WHATT HOLY SHIT… Does your granny want to get married? It’s her time to get ready to go in grave, and look the old lady wants to get married. A buzz of such comments clamored when a distant friend’s grandmother disclosed her wish to get married. No one seemed to digest the fact that there might be a chance that she had some sexual or intimacy needs. Everyone was so convinced with the idea that old age meant devoid of sexual pleasure, and people in such an age need to be religious and should not disclose their sexual needs to anyone as such an act goes against the norms as old age is a time when one should prepare their deathbed.
Many older people juggle with loneliness, health maladies, financial hardships, and different psychological issues. Majority of elderly people face the death of spouses, empty nest syndromes, death of relatives, siblings or majority of friends in their close circles face health disparities. Such issues leave them lonely and depressed and most of the people don’t have enough support group to cushion them in their hard times. Studies showed that elderly people possess sexual needs and needs of intimacy and desire to be in a stable relationship but they prefer not to disclose because of shyness or fear of being ridiculed from society.
Let’s discuss factors that create intolerance for the expression of sexuality for the elderly population. We have seen that in dramas and films the sexuality of elderly people is mocked and discounted. Usually, older males are shown as handsome and physically attractive for young females while this goes opposite for elderly females. Elderly females are portrayed as motherly figures for everyone and if she happens to disclose her sexual needs she subjects for unlimited bashing. Being a mental health professional, I have observed that clinicians often ignore the sexual problems of elderly males and blame sexual problems as a side effect of disease or medicines without double-checking the diagnosis.
It is a speculation that lots of us have parents, grandparents, aging uncles and aunties in our friends and family circles whom we never asked or probed about their inner feelings. Let’s not generalize the fact that every elderly person wants to get married but chances are high that there may be some who want someone special in their lives to share the burden of loneliness and can hold their hands in the journey for the rest of their life. Let’s not judge, mock and ridicule their needs to find a partner. Let’s support their decisions and help them to have their fair share of happiness.