Seniors and a Renewed Temptation

Sam Rainer

August 28, 2007

Ok, so this subject may be a bit taboo – maybe a lot taboo…senior adults are having more sex than we like to think. While sexual activity reported among a survey of 3,000 men and women decreased with age, it is still much higher than expected. About 73 percent of those 57 to 64 years of age and 53 percent of those 65 to 74 years of age reported some level of sexual activity.

While the church should celebrate long and healthy marriages, clearly the results of the next set of data are driven by unchaste relationships. By the year 2015 the majority of HIV carriers will be over the age of 50. And an Ohio University study found that 27 percent of HIV-infected men and 35 percent of HIV-infected women over 50 engage in unprotected sex.

Monogamy seems to be a relevant issue for all ages.

And with the first of the Baby Boomers reaching into their sixties, the issue cannot be ignored by the church. But another trend undergirds the severity of the above stats: many couples over the age of 55 are living together. They want companionship, but not marriage. They want more financial stability but without the commitments of a binding union.

What can the church do about it? Ken Gosnell offers some suggestions:

1. Continue preaching and teaching God’s design for marriage. For older adults still growing happier in marriage, it is always a good reminder. For those who are single, it should be an encouragement to hear that God’s plan for them doesn’t expire with retirement.

2. Create a seniors fellowship and accountability group. Our students need authenticity and reality from the church – seniors are no exception.

3. Be willing to confront in love. Hearing of an unmarried older couple living together just doesn’t sound as bad as hearing of teenagers within your church shacking up. But God’s design for marriage applies to all ages. The sin is viewed the same no matter where you are on the age scale.

Perhaps most important is realizing that God chose the analogy of a marriage to describe Christ’s relationship with the church. To degrade marriage by engaging in activities outside of God’s design is to disgrace Christ and what God wants for his church.

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