Sexual rights and the journey to age equality

Yesterday (1st October) was the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP). The IDOP has been celebrated every year since 1990 when it was formed by the UN. It is one way to make a stand against ageism.

The UN point out that disparities in older age tend to reflect disadvantage that has accumulated over the life-course. Such disadvantage is often connected to our gender, health, income, location, and our social-class. I would add our sexual orientation too.

We know that globally the population of people aged 60 and older is increasing. The UN argue that this ‘rapid population ageing’ alongside demographic and structural changes can worsen the inequalities of older age.

The theme for IDOP 2019 was the Journey to Age Equality (#IDOP2019). The aim was to raise awareness of the inequalities that older adults can face, work to prevent future inequalities, and change the narratives around older age that maintain negative age-related stereotypes.

There are many ways in which we can support the Journey to Age Equality across the world. And there are many areas we can address. One of the most important is the intimate relationships of older adults. We need to make sure that the sexual health and sexual well-being needs of older adults are being met. An important first step is to recognise, acknowledge, support, and promote the sexual rights of older adults.

See the work we have been doing at the University of Sheffield here including our Sexual Rights in Older Age here (#SexRightsAge).

And a team in Manchester has dedicated this week to raising awareness of the sexual lives of older adults. See the Sex and Intimacy in Later Life Forum and the @GMSHNetwork.

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