don't ask why they're smiling

Here’s an interesting image to start your week off right: your grandparents are getting it on more often than you are. Let that sink in.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has seen a huge increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases in elderly Americans– because, essentially, old people are raging, careless horndogs. According to Ezekiel J. Emanuel at the New York Times,

While they are having a lot of sex, seniors didn’t seem to get the safe sex memo, or when it came through they ignored it because they did not think it applied to them. They obviously don’t have to worry about pregnancy. And they grew up before the safe sex era. So seniors might think they have no reason to use condoms.

That makes sense. Think about the ineffective abstinence-based sex ed in our public schools today– then subtract women’s lib and the AIDS crisis. It makes sense that there are some giant gaps in their knowledge of sexual health, and people over 65 are unlikely to start searching Wikipedia for the “Dental dam” page. (They’re missing out. Very informative/entertaining.)

Emanuel goes on to add,

Combine retirement communities, longer life, unfamiliarity with condoms and Viagra– and what do you get? You get an STD epidemic among the Social Security generation that rivals what we imagine is happening in those Animal House fraternities.

Yikes. So what are you supposed to do? Every high schooler in the US has seen Farrah Abraham have a meltdown on Teen Mom, and it’s still a big challenge convincing young people to use protection. How do we expect information about safe sex to seep into retirement homes? Nick Keppler proposes some pretty decent solutions on Nerve:

We need a mass media push. Get the people who do the ads for diabetes testing supplies on the case and have them produce something where Wilfred Brimley unrolls a condom onto a banana. Rewrite the Peggy Lee hit “Fever” to be about herpes. Trojan needs to partner with Foxwoods to pass out rubbers during the casino’s midafternoon hours. Planned Parenthood should station an outreach coordinator in every Cracker Barrel in Florida.

Sounds about right. And while we wait for that to happen, let’s do everything within our power to influence change. The next time you go to visit Meemaw, bring her a bouquet of fresh-cut daffodils, baby’s breath, and female condoms.

Via Nerve / Photo: Shutterstock