A deeply under-discussed subgenre of Indian sexuality is the sex lives and habits of our older counterparts – senior citizens who are over the age of 65. Sex is often considered as a young person’s game, whether in pornongraphy or pop culture, and is perpetuated with a healthy dose of ageism. We’re bombarded with imagery of young, attractive people living immensely exciting sex lives, but hardly see similar treatment of older people. Senior citizens’ sex lives are often structured as comedy or sappy romance, leaving out the carnal desire from that intimacy. A recent Bollywood film, Badhaai Ho, voices this very issue this by illustrating the drama that unfolds between friends and family when an older couple gets unexpectedly pregnant.
This lack of representation doesn’t mean that older people don’t enjoy healthy and experimental sex lives; it just means that we don’t hear about it because of stigma and shame. “Psychologists have suggested that one of the reasons we might feel squeamish about senior sex is that it’s not about reproduction. Senior sexuality is only to do with love and eroticism. It’s about time we understood that Nana has needs too, and people over 65 have also experienced a modern sexual liberation,” says Adult Products India, a website selling sex toys in India. So by studying the purchasing patterns of a staggering 20,000 of its Indian users who are over the age of 65, Adult Products India has found data that tells an interesting story about the sex lives of senior citizens in India.
The company found that while both men and women aged 65 and above are increasingly buying sex toys online, men tend to search for and buy more toys, specifically masturbators, condom sleeves, and sex dolls, at a rate higher than the average male. In fact, older Indian men search for sex dolls 32% more than the average user of Adult Products India. “What does this tell us? Indian men over a certain age aren’t as interested in a wide range of products - they don’t spend time checking out the wide range of products available. They know what they want in their sex lives, and are determined to get it!” says Adult Products India.
Women, regardless of their age, aren’t encouraged to talk about their sexual needs and desires half as openly as men are; and these barriers are often more difficult to overcome for older generations because of their years of conditioning. So it’s surprisingly pleasant to see senior women above the age of 65 take an active interest in sex toys, too. Adult Products India reports that among its top five searches that included the previously mentioned male-focused products, dildos, strap-ons and “realistic” dildos– searched by senior women made the list too. Interestingly, “strap-on dildos” were searched for 113% above average.
“Of the top 5 products, there’s a real mix of solo toys and toys to use as a couple – while we might have expected to see sex dolls and dildos in the list, it’s surprising to see strap-ons and condom sleeves. This proves that senior couples are still looking to spice up their sex lives!” says Michael Middleton, spokesperson for the company.
This study also revealed that most of its senior users interested in sex toys hailed from Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi in that order. Other states among our 29 that made the top 10 on this list are West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and our Prime Minister’s own, Gujarat.
“Senior sexuality is something that doesn’t get spoken about frequently - when it does, it’s often the punchline of a joke. If nothing else, this eye-opening study proves sex is still important to seniors all across India. It’s great to see so many older people in India interested in our products - it looks like the tide is finally turning for acceptance of sex toys in India,” says Michael.
Feature image illustrated by Nidhi Iyer.
If you enjoyed reading this, we suggest you read: