Is nursing-home sex the last taboo?

thumbnailby Cree McCree


  • Sexual desire doesn’t come to a screeching halt when people move into retirement homes, but expressing that desire is verboten at most facilities. That could change. A paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics argues that sex is a basic human right which shouldn’t be denied to eldercare residents.
  • Part of the problem is logistical; many facilities lack single rooms with locking doors. But cognitive issues like dementia can also complicate consent, leaving nursing homes liable to lawsuits.
  • At least one facility struck a humane compromise. Staffers at Hebrew Home in Riverdale, NY, determine whether patients are able to give consent. If yes, they get the green light. Patients also have the right to “materials with sexually explicit content,” opening a whole new market for elderporn (, 26 June 2012).


  • Younger consumers may snicker about “old-people sex,” but it’s no joke to older adults. Sex is as much about intimacy as it is about lust, and can help alleviate loneliness. With free-love-era Boomers about to storm the gates, eldercare facilities need to re-evaluate their policies.
  • Don’t expect Matures to turn celibate. With STD rates spiking among 65+ adults, Medicare is seriously considering adding coverage for infections like chlamydia.


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