50 shades of grey hair are turning sexual statistics in Ireland on its head. It seems far-fetched and unlikely, but the flimsy statistics that are available about Irish men from the age of fifty five upwards, support the suggestion that middle-aged and elderly men, are having more sex than any other group in the male age spectrum.
In 2011, prescriptions for Viagra were dispensed to 115,000 medical card holders, a staggering increase since 2000, when 29, 000 prescriptions was the figure. The low number when Viagra first appeared, may have been due to caution on the part of men, suspicious of the drug and scared about the possible side effects, which it was rumoured, included priapism.
Initially the finger of suspicion pointed at rich and powerful older men as the probable cause of this rise in drug-assisted sexual behaviour. Their wealth, accumulated over a lifetime, allowed them to persuade beautiful women to become trophy wives. Or they bamboozled women half their age into sharing, a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle with them on some tropical island. Or if they didn’t want any kind of romantic or emotional complications, they could always phone down to the concierge and order a hooker.
But this growing phenomenon is one-up for your regular old medical card holders. Justice at last for the working class. They deserve it for the way they can handle the ennui that goes with attending HSE public clinics.
Researchers can’t be sure how people over sixty feel about sex, because no formal research studies have been conducted up to now. This shortcoming is being tackled, at last, by Kate Burke, a trainee clinical psychologist in NUI Galway, who is engaging with 200 volunteers in an attempt to nail the sexual mores of the geriatric community.
“Older adults are largely neglected when it comes to this kind of research. However, I think older people have a lot of experience and can offer a different perspective that younger people can’t.”
Ms. Burke could do worse than start at the Pfizer factory in Cork, which manufactures the miracle drug, Viagra. The wonder drug is used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. What makes the job difficult for the researchers is that no one can quantify how many men are taking Viagra to spice things up and how many are using it to cool things down?
What they do know is that twenty nine per cent of those using Viagra are men aged between 55-64, which means the other two thirds are in the 65 and over category.
But just what are my fellow greybeards up to? Either there is a lot of hypertension out there, or the oldies but boldies, are doing it for themselves. Whatever doubt the ordinary Joe Schmos had in the beginning seems to have disappeared fairly rapidly. By 2005, the number of prescriptions was up to 60,000, rising inexorably to its present colossal 115,000.
One man who is alarmed is Fine Gael TD Billy Timmons, who asked for details of this apparent anomaly in the antics of the elderly Irish population.
“I am at a loss to understand this trend” said the Minister. He also said he is going to seek to have intercourse with Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, in an effort to find out if he knows what’s going on. Last year the HSE curtailed the number of tablets given to patients to try and ensure the system was not being abused.
”To ensure availability for genuine need, but to reduce the possibility of inappropriate usage, the HSE expert group advised the maximum reimbursable level on the GMS and Community Drugs Schemes be set at four tablets a month.”
There they go again, picking on the old folk, trying to take from them the little bit of comfort and entertainment that is available to them, especially in light of what Ms. Burke’s research shows.
“So far in testing in this area, we think that old people see honesty as the fundamental driver of all other elements of successful romantic relationships. Honesty is an interesting concept as it involves self-disclosure and risks, putting an individual in a vulnerable position. And yet, the ability to disclose honestly can facilitate a deeper level of intimacy.’
The vulnerable position is not in the Kama Sutra, but because of creaking old bones it sounds like it might be better if it was avoided. It might bring about a collision between erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension, with who knows what consequences.
Meantime, I was reading about grown up children returning home because of the recession and the austerity that goes with it and the thought occurred to me what a shame it would be that the presence of grown-up children in the house might inhibit the “oldies and boldies” and put an end to their bit of nookie that comes courtesy of a bright blue pill.Article Written by Shay Healy First Published in The Irish Daily Mail, Saturday 11th May 2013 Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99 http://shayhealy.com/ The Kindle Reader FREE app