AGE ON TRIAL – IT’S A PODCAST THING
The Joy of Later Life Sex, Relate, © Rankin, 2021
Age on Trial is a new trailblazing podcast which asks some of the thornier questions about age and society.
The heart of the podcast is to address the question — “What’s age got to do with anything?” The first trial which runs over 11 episodes is an enticing one — Sex and intimacy versus age. Age on Trial is presented by 28 year old Ella Moonan-Howard, a social gerontologist and 54 year old George Lee, a designer, innovator and Co-Founder of our very own This Age Thing. They are both passionate about ending ageism for all ages.
The questions raised, debated and scrutinised with 10 expert witnesses include: Does sex really change with age? How does getting older affect the stereotypes and myths surrounding sex and intimacy? And what products and services can improve our sexual experiences across our whole life course? Witnesses being called to the podcast stand include sex toy designers, psychologists and innovators. Everything is on the table in this trial as they explore why sex in care homes should be encouraged, how you don’t need an erection to have an orgasm and what it’s like to visit a sex club in your fifties. The season finale features a multi-generational jury (aged 19 to 88) discussing what they’ve heard, comparing their own life experiences and then delivering their verdict. Does age have anything to do with sex and intimacy?
“Everything is on the table in this trial as George and Ella explore why sex in care homes should be encouraged, how you don’t need an erection to have an orgasm and what it’s like to visit a sex club in your fifties”.
The podcast was created in order to amplify voices and views rarely heard in mainstream media exploring issues which have global resonance. World-renowned photographer Rankin, one of the better known witnesses, points out his campaign for Relate which featured naked portraits of older couples and which was seen by over 2 billion people worldwide. Yet, despite this, sex as we age is still something that is rarely spoken about.
Making the podcast, George admits, fundamentally changed everything she thought she knew about sex. She explains, “Putting this podcast together I realised that I was still looking at sex from the standpoint of a teenager and I was in desperate need of some re-educating. For a start, I learned that sex doesn’t just mean penis in vagina. And, as my vagina does get more dry and sometimes painful as my body changes I found this wider explanation of ‘sex’ as liberating. The witnesses who brought their testimonies to our virtual courtroom have not just changed my views on sex and intimacy, but my behaviour day to day as well! For example, I now take time to masturbate which I’ve found is vital, not only for me feeling sexual, but also for my health and well-being. I have invested in sex toys, or tools, as they are called by Joan Price, an advocate for ageless sexuality, and one of our star witnesses in the case. I recognise above all, that it is important for us to invest time in finding out about our bodies again, and to be able to see the changes, not as a loss but as an opportunity to re-evaluate what feels good and have the confidence to be able to share that with our sexual partners.
I have also learned that there is no ‘normal’. So if I want to have sex with young men, as Eleanor (Mills) shares about the stories on Noon then that is perfectly good and normal and that I don’t need to feel ashamed. Some of the stories saddened me like the witness interview about the man who didn’t want to go into a care home to be subjected to a life of celibacy. It was such a powerful moment in the series, and helped me see that we have to see people as sexual beings at every stage of their lives.
“This is about desire, joy, living longer and healthier. And we should not only be all doing it, but all talking about it. Time to take the shame out of sex!”
Putting the podcast together has given me the tools and the data and ammunition to be able to talk about the importance of sex and intimacy as we age, for both men and women. This is about desire, joy, living longer and healthier. And we should not only be all doing it, but all talking about it! Time to ditch our reserve and our shame around sex. My new opening line with everyone I meet now is, “did you know that an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away?”. It ALWAYS leads to some really interesting and really enlightened discussion. And the great thing is that I am helping people live longer, one orgasm at a time. My daughter, Iris, at 19 is maybe a little less excited about me sharing my new found knowledge!”
Joan Price is an author, speaker, educator and leading advocate for Ageless Sexuality. You can read more about her on her blog
You can see Rankin’s brilliant campaign on later life sex for Relate, here
Eleanor Mills is the founder of Noon, a new online community for women in midlife