Why baby boomer sexual health is important, and a look at non-existent policy


Baby boomer sexual health L_Kirkman This link takes you to the presentation I gave at the Ninth Asia/Oceania Regional Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics on 25 October 2011. Below are my reflections about attending that conference, and working out how I feel about ageing and sexuality in general, and mine in particular.

Reflections 6 Nov 2011

Going to an ageing conference was a bit confronting. I felt out of place on the first day, but on the second day hung out with friends, met new people and started to feel as though I was with my tribe. This was because I met up with Sue Malta. Her presentation was really interesting, and added more information to my topic. The specific concept I learned was Living Apart Together (LAT) which seems to be a growing phenomenon, and has been researched in Europe but less in Australia. After her talk someone wanted her to speak at a conference in Brisbane next year, and she pointed me and my work out, and maybe we will get a symposium together? Very exciting stuff.

I did start to get freaked by the whole ageing concept. Maybe it is the “Keep young and beautiful, if you want to be loved” concept. I don’t agree with it, but there has to be some influence of mass media. I was pleased when my friend and PhD colleague Sue wrote,

I would love to read your reflections about your own worries about ageing as it seems that worries about ageing may be central in conceiving yourself as a sexual being – if you are worried about it you are less likely to be prepared and take precautions – so again that lived experience is so important in finding ways to connect with people about their sexual practices – sexuality is so deeply personal and private

I think too of all those relics of women goddesses who are so lush and powerful and think that not a lot of them of them are firm and young – there is potential in ageing and sexuality I think –

Those lush and powerful goddesses are certainly persuasive, and this notion gave me heart.

My reflections on ageing? It’s a very relevant suggestion, because if I am to study it my work will be enriched by such reflections, and probably my daily life, and attitudes to myself. I’ll do a free think.


Wrinkles; wisdom; physical decline; reduction in social acceptability, but an increase in perceived respectability – middle aged women are seen to be trustworthy, not like teen age boys, which is unfair to teenage boys; uncertainty; I’m gorgeous; employment; unemployment; being alone, or fear of it; finding a person to be with; forgetfulness; assumptions that I’m technically incompetent; patriarchy.

Wonder what all that says about me! Not brave and fearless, that’s for sure, but a mix of anxiety and some positive self talk thrown in. I’m holding myself together, but started to feel things unravelling yesterday. I’m not sure if the unravelling is a good thing or not. My carapace keeps me upright, and without it I might just pour everywhere. If that is unleashed, maybe what is left will have less baggage and be lighter?

Yes, Sue, I will have to reflect more on my attitude to ageing, and what it means and what attitudes I carry, and what I’d like to carry. Thank you for asking.

Suggested APA citation for the presentetion: Kirkman, L. (2011, 25 October). Sexual health policy and practice for baby boomers. Paper presented at the Ninth Asia/Oceania Regional Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria.retrieved from http://latrobe.academia.edu/LindaKirkman/Papers/1092364/Baby_boomer_sexual_health_policy_and_practice

About fwbresearch

This site is to inform people about an Australian study exploring the experiences of rural baby boomers in friends with benefits relationships. The research team consists of Linda Kirkman, a PhD candidate in Health Science at La Trobe University's Rural Health School, and supervisors Dr Virginia Dickson-Swift and Dr Christopher Fox. Posts include presentations about the research, publications, and reflections on sexual health promotion.

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