I am getting older (62) and am somewhat disabled as a colon cancer survivor. I still want to have a love life and I expect that there are others in similar circumstances that do as well. I wonder if you know of any resources that could be of help in finding them. Thanks
It sounds like you are hoping to find other older adults including, perhaps, others with disabilities or who can relate to your experience as a cancer survivor. Meeting romantic and sexual partners can definitely be an obstacle for folks with disabilities, so I applaud you for seeking some outside help! Despite stereotypes, stigma, and shame, many older folks want a “love life” and are sexually active.
From your question it is unclear whether you are interested in men, women, or both, or if you are interested in romance/partnership or just sex, so I will try to make this as general and inclusive as I can. Without knowing where you are located I won’t be able to recommend any local resources.
My first tip for meeting other folks may sound pretty basic, but it is relevant to anyone trying to meet people or date: be proactive and do things you enjoy doing! By pursuing hobbies, volunteer work, political organizing, or other activities, you can make connections with potential partners. In Santa Cruz we have a community center with special programs for seniors-The Loudon Nelson Center. Going to a community center, joining a book club, or attending a cooking class (whatever you’re into) can be a way to get out there and meet people with similar interests. This can be really important if you are seeking more than sex.
My second tip is to explore online dating. More and more these days people are looking to the internet to help their love life for several reasons: 1) There is a much larger pool of potential partners than you might find at any local events or groups—bigger pool=better chances, 2) You can search online 24/7 when it fits your schedule, 3) You can search for specific age groups or genders, 4) You get to know people quicker than typical dating and can be upfront about your desires and abilities from the start.
There are websites that focus on relationships and finding a life-partner, but there are also adult dating sites that are geared toward casual sex. You can sometimes get a free trial membership that allows you to explore the features of the site in order to decide if there are even enough people within your local area on the site before you pay. In general, something like Match.com can be a good place to start because it is so huge and has many older adult users. Here are some other ideas, although this is not an inclusive list and they have not all been tested for quality).
If you’re looking for sites for hooking up/casual sex:
Here are some older adult specific sites:
- aarp.org/home-family/dating (yes, AARP does have a dating site!)
Here are some disability specific dating sites:
http://www.disabled-world.com/communication/disabled-dating/advice/ *this also has general good advice about how to set up a personal profile and how to be safe when dating online.
The last piece of advice I would give is that, the more you can know yourself—your sexual strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and interests—the better able you’ll be to communicate that to a potential partner. You will want to be able to talk about your expectations and values and write about them accurately in online profiles. While you’re looking for others to share with, to the extent that you can, try to keep your sexuality alive through fantasy, masturbation, sensual massage, etc.
At Pure Pleasure we have two books that provide dating and sex advice for folks in your situation: The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability by Kaufman, Silverberg, and Odette, and Sex Over 50 by Joel Block. You might find these helpful once you’ve met someone!! They both have additional resources listed in the back.
I wish you luck in your search!
About Rose: Rose has a BA in psychology and women's studies, and a Master's in social psychology. She is working toward a PhD at UC Santa Cruz, focusing on social justice, gender and sexuality, sexual empowerment, and sexual rights as human rights. Rose has been a teaching assistant for sexuality-focused college classes, presented research to academic groups like the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and worked with non-profit organizations across the country on grant-writing and event planning. Her goal is to use social psychological research and teaching to contribute to community-based organizations' efforts and policy-level changes that promote sexual well-being.