Seniors Get New Lease on Love and s_x



What happens when a sexually frustrated 66-year-old woman advertises her plight and calls for men of all ages to step up to the plate?

If Jane Juska's experience is typical, she spends a weekend in a romantic hotel room with a man who makes her feel young again. Young by comparison, at least. Her new lover is 82.

So much for friendly companionship in the golden years. Juska's new memoir "A Round Heeled Woman" is a graphic reminder that not everyone approaching 70, 80 or even 90 is content just to hold hands and gaze at the sunset.

Long-divorced, widowed and never-married older people are finding it easier than ever to satisfy their desires, partially due to the growing popularity of online dating. The same dating Web sites that were first adopted by people a third their age are helping isolated senior citizens connect with others who do not wish to spend all their days doting on grandchildren.

The popular Internet dating service features hundreds of members over the age of 80, including one 83-year-old man from Missouri who said he wanted a woman who was "lovely to look at, delightful to know and heaven to kiss."

One 70-year-old retired New Jersey school teacher who tried the service thinking it might be a good way to find someone to go to lunch with said she was turned off by the overtly sexual messages of most of the men who wrote to her. said a survey of its members suggests that seniors as a whole remain a lot less romantically and sexually active than their children and grandchildren.

Only 20 percent of those who responded to one survey said they had been in a romantic relationship in the last year. Just 37 percent said they had been kissed.

Juska, a long-divorced schoolteacher living in liberal Berkeley, California, took a more conservative approach when she decided it was time to end a 15-year celibacy. Rather than placing an ad on the Internet, she turned to the august New York Review of Books, where she thought she might meet someone who shared her love of literature.

"Before I turn 67," her ad said, "I would like to have a lot of s_x with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me."

Juska minced no words either, when she began to hear from eager suitors. "If I can't kiss you all over then cancel your travel plans," she wrote to one suitor. "Because long walks on the beach will simply not do."

A recent study of 1,300 men and women over the age of 60 by the National Council on the Aging found that 61 percent of the men and 37 percent of the women were sexually active. Some 61 percent of the men and 62 percent of the women said that s_x was as satisfying or more satisfying than it was in their 40s.

Juska, who slept with a handful of men ranging from 32 to 84, and her book are drawing attention to s_x among seniors.

"Dating is just as terrifying and interesting, risky, fun and exciting at 70 as it is at 26," she said in an interview. The "round-heeled woman" the book is named for is an old-fashioned term for a promiscuous female.

Still, her frank memoir also devotes considerable time to showing that s_x after a certain age is different.

"What once was firm was loose, what once went up went down," she writes of her own body. Perhaps because of these flaws, a baggy sweater is her preferred attire when she goes to meet a new man.

The men, of course, are flawed too.

"His color is gone, his hair is gone, and My God, I think this man is old," she wrote of her initial reaction when her 82-year-old lover stepped off the plane.

But Juska spent a torrid weekend with him anyway. After a 15-year dry spell, she said, just about any man would have done.

"I was just teeming. If he had gotten off the plane in a wheelchair -- or on a stretcher -- it probably would not have dissuaded me. I was just in white heat."