When It Comes to Sex, Boomers Keep It Up

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We Baby Boomers must still have enough disposable income (or at least high enough credit card limits) that the New York Times Magazine (when I worked at a very low level job at The New Yorker my colleagues sniffed that it should be called the New York Times Sunday Color Advertising Supplement) will devote whole issues to flattering us. By stroking Boomer egos, the Times hopes that we will eagerly flip through the ads for the high priced merchandise that decorate its pages. The current issue devoted to the New Middle Ages is a case in point (and No, the magazine is not predicting the onset of a new Medieval age).

At this point, the younger folks may want to avert their eyes because I'm about to cite some Times statistics on Boomer sex. The Times reports:

73 percent of American men and 65 percent of American women 40 or older say they find sex physically very pleasurable.

That is true of 58 percent of men and 56 percent of women in Sweden [and] 43 percent of men and 32 percent of women in Italy [and] 18 percent of men and 10 percent of women in Japan.

Hmmm–perhaps the Japanese numbers are part of the explanation for that country's falling population.

The Times also reports other fun Boomer sex survey results.

74 percent of Americans 40 and older report having had sexual intercourse in the last 12 months versus 94 percent in China, 80 percent in India and 58 percent in Britain.

As a self-indulgent Boomer I can't think of any relevant public policy issue here except maybe that the last set of statistics indicates that we're falling behind some of our international competitors in this area?

NEXT: Made It, Ma! Top of the World!

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  1. The offset of the two statistics suggests that there is either some survey bias or cultural bias going on here. As with the infant mortality stats, it is incredibly hard to survey anything across language and cultural barriers and correct to anything near consistent data.

  2. I don’t care if old people, I just don’t want to have to see any of it. Can we please have an end to all of the old people sex commercials? You cannot watch a sporting event anymore without having to see two old farts sitting in matching tubs on a beach somewhere and being told that “if an errection lasts more than four hours see your doctor”. I think we have all paid enough penence for complaining about feminine hygene commercials growing up. Run all the tampax ads you want, just no more old people sex commercials.

  3. Boomers are people “over 40”? Isn’t Generation X turning 40 about now? Boomers should be about 60-something or so, right? What post-war baby boom are we talking about?

  4. John: I did tell you to avert your eyes. πŸ˜‰

  5. plus, some people love to claim how laid they get, while others (maybe japanese) may find the topic to be something to play down, as a matter of cultural propriety?

    no, no, it’s science john! Science knows all!

  6. Do Reason editors hope we’ll ignore the ads in their mag? Would ads for lower-priced merchandise be less offensive? Personally I like browsing the classifieds for $5m Long Island estates.

  7. IW: BB generation is generally defined as though born between 1946 and 1964.

  8. I am trying Ron. I am really trying.

  9. IW: Now that I’m getting on in years, I’ve got to be more careful about those neuronally stored cognates such as “though” and “those” — So
    “BB generation is generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.”

  10. I think that younger people would be heartened to hear that older people can still ‘do it’. I mean, they’re going to be old one day.

  11. The question nobody asks is “why are people too old to have children still having sex”?

    It seems like your body naturally does you the favor of slowly lowering your sex drive as you get older, so you can do more important things with your remaining time.

  12. If the NYT really wants to stoke my boomer ego, it will debunk the old “men peak sexually at 18, while women peak at 30” canard.

  13. Dan T. I would tell you to go f*ck yourself, but apparently you aren’t interested any more.

  14. It seems like your body naturally does you the favor of slowly lowering your sex drive as you get older, so you can do more important things with your remaining time.

    Correct observation; wrong conclusion. It’s not so you can do more important things with your time. It’s so you’re less likely to make an ass of yourself over a young skirt and blow your retirement savings.

  15. Growing up on the back half of the baby boom (1957) was like following after a horde of locusts. The leading half consumed everything in sight and left devastation in their wake πŸ˜‰

  16. Drugs? Posh. Cyborgs last forever.

  17. Only 18% find it pleasurable? Maybe they’re not doing it right.

  18. I once heard a psych prof say that, in an anonymous poll, 90% of male college students surveyed admit to having masturbated at least once in their lives

    “this shows us,” he said “that 10% of respondents lied to an anonymous polls”

  19. I always wondered how they got the tubs on the beach for those commercials. The logistics are improbable. Have you ever moved a tub? Two tubs? Where’d the water in them come from?

    If you get an erection lasting more than 4 hours, you may be awesome.

  20. “73 percent of American men and 65 percent of American women 40 or older say they find sex physically very pleasurable.”

    Huh? No way will you ever convince me there’s that many people (27% & 45%) of any age that don’t “find sex physically very pleasurable”.

    John,
    Kiss my hairy, sagging, growth ridden ass, pal.

  21. Pedro’s Dowry: I once heard this joke from an RC priest.

    A young priest who feels troubled by his continuing urge to “self abuse” asks an older priest if this is normal. The older priest replies that the younger man should not worry. He cites a survey of a 1000 priests that discovered that 998 of them admitted to masturbating on occasion. The older priest added that one can only conclude that the other 2 priests were armless.

  22. Boomer guys are still guys and guys will lie through their teeth about three things.

    1. How much action they get
    2. How much they earn
    3. Gas Mileage

  23. John, you funny guy.

    Baby Boomers are early 40’s to early 60’s, the official boom lasted from 1946 until 1964 (1957 was the peak). As is often pointed out, younger baby boomers really don’t have anything more in common with older baby boomers than Gen X does.

    BTW, thank you again, Gen X, for all that great coffee. You guys deserve a sound Socialist Security system on that basis alone. Sorry, though, we’re going to suck it dry before you get there.

    And, of course Baby Boomers are still doing it, we invented sex, remember? And free love. All girls grew up and got married as unsullied virgins before our generation became enlightened.

    One interesting little sniglet (that I will not back up with evidence) is that there is a huge baby boom making it’s way thru childhood right now. There’s more kids now than there were in the original baby boom. Whoa. Mrs TWC says its because the old time baby boomers waited to have kids late and so now you have 2.5 generations all having kids at the same time.

  24. Gas mileage? What? I’ve never met anyone who has boasted about their gas mileage. Is that a weird California thing?

  25. … when I worked at a very low level job at The New Yorker my colleagues sniffed that it should be called the New York Times Sunday Color Advertising Supplement

    And this would be because, unlike The New Yorker, the Sunday Times Magazine is a weekly glossy packaging self-indulgent prose around absurdly expensive advertising space, right?

    BTW, to elaborate on TWC’s point, we Baby Boomers invented everything, including sex, so naturally we get to invent middle age, too. Middle age now officially begins at age 50 and runs until age 75 and will continue to do so until enough of us get close to 75.

  26. The Wine Commonsewer | May 8, 2007, 11:28am | #

    Boomer guys are still guys and guys will lie through their teeth about three things.

    1. How much action they get
    2. How much they earn
    3. Gas Mileage

    Word to that.

    Although I would have said, “#3 – Everything else”.

  27. Does anyone younger than baby boomers actually read the Tines anymore?

  28. Times, dammit, Times!

  29. Baby Boomers are early 40’s to early 60’s, the official boom lasted from 1946 until 1964 (1957 was the peak). As is often pointed out, younger baby boomers really don’t have anything more in common with older baby boomers than Gen X does.

    I understand that the scientific concept of a generation is the approximate length of time it takes for a human to reach reproductive age (about 18 years), but a *cultural* generation is clearly a much narrower thing.

    As such, I place the cultural Baby Boomers as being born between 1946 and at most 1955 (more like 1952). Folks born after that came of age in the mid-’70s, didn’t serve in Vietnam or get drafted, and were more likely to own a copy of Dark Side of the Moon or Toys in the Attic than Surrealistic Pillow.

    That said, I think we’ve learned that the Boomers are going to age as ungracefully as possible. Not that I’m painting with a broad brush or anything.

  30. As such, I place the cultural Baby Boomers as being born between 1946 and at most 1955 (more like 1952). Folks born after that came of age in the mid-’70s, didn’t serve in Vietnam or get drafted

    I was in the last group of 18-year-olds to register for the draft (which of course was reinstated about 10 or so years later). Vietnam was on the TV every day of my life from the time I was old enough to understand that the news was “real” and not “entertainment”.

    The consequences of Vietnam were still apparent to someone that came of age in ’75.

  31. The Baby Boomers. Voted Worst Generation in History in 2875.

  32. BTW, thank you again, Gen X, for all that great coffee. You guys deserve a sound Socialist Security system on that basis alone. Sorry, though, we’re going to suck it dry before you get there.

    I leave a white and turbid wake; pale waters, paler cheeks, where’er I sail. The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let them; but first I pass.

  33. The consequences of Vietnam were still apparent to someone that came of age in ’75.

    But clearly not the same as if you had come of age in ’65-67. The culture had changed, and indeed I think your generation rebelled pretty strongly against all of the hippy idealist stuff.

    Hell, I was *born* in ’67 and clearly remember Tricky Dick Nixon, but that doesn’t make me a Boomer.

  34. Vanya, the gas mileage may be not as prevalent as it once was, but still, you hear guys bragging that their 1 ton Ford 4WD (with the big V-8) gets at least 22mpg–and that’s pulling the toy box out to Glamis with a full load.

  35. TWC — Subsets of “how much they earn” are (i) what their net worth is and (ii) the return they’re getting on their investments. My father-in-law’s mouth-breather friends pull all kinds of obviously ridiculous numbers out of their asses, and he, poor sap, believes them and feels like dirt.

  36. “Growing up on the back half of the baby boom (1957) was like following after a horde of locusts.”

    You raise an interesting stat here. 1957 was the peak of the boom. I was born in 1957 and yet I am certainly not what you’d call a boomer. I mean, we ’57ers were still in high school when Siagon was evacuated. We didn’t march with Dr. King. In fact, most of the folks that DID march with King were pre-boom born.

    People confuse hippies and boomers all the time.

  37. I earn a hundred thousand, no, a million dollars a year… I mean a month. Yeah, that’s it, a million a month. Lucky for me, too, so I can afford to keep the tank filled in my Hummer, I mean my Hum-Vee, er, my Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Yeah, that’s it, my M2. I get thirty, no fifty miles per gallon on regular when I go cruising around town looking for action… with my wife… Morgan Fairchild! Yeah… that’s it.. that’s the ticket!

  38. JP, my brother in law tells me last time i was out there that his property taxes are only 800.00 a year cuz Arizona is sooooo much better than Ca. Well, of course I know he’s full of shit cuz I have clients in Az. I look it up on the internet, and it turns out they’re 800.00 all right, except he left off the ‘4’ in front of the 800.00. πŸ™‚

  39. My doctor is worried about my heart and he has advised me to cut out half my sex life.

    I’m not sure which half to cut out; the talking about it or the thinking about it.

  40. “Vanya, the gas mileage may be not as prevalent as it once was, but still, you hear guys bragging that their 1 ton Ford 4WD (with the big V-8) gets at least 22mpg–and that’s pulling the toy box out to Glamis with a full load.”

    22mpg? I wish…

  41. ChrisO, I plan to ungracefully age into extinction, kicking, screaming, moaning, and complaining all the way.

    And DA, you’re right, we’ve pushed Middle Age out a whole bunch but by the same token, when we were kids 40 year old women did not look like they do now. For one thing, in those days, every chick who got married visited the hair stylist as soon as she got home from the honeymoon to get the beehive and then stopped off at Sears for a pastel MuMu and an egg stained pink or turquoise chenille bathrobe and some curlers.

    Hell, you should see the 35-45 moms whose kids my kids go to school with. Certainly, they aren’t 18 year olds, but these women look good. They dress fashionably, their hair is stylish, and they have kept their girlish figures (plus they mostly have great cars too).

    Maybe it’s just California, but it seems like not only is everybody healthier, but people take better care of their bodies, are in better physical condition, eat better, and consequently, they look better as well.

    When my grandmother died in 1958 from heart disease the doctors advice was never run if you can walk, never stand if you can sit, never sit if you can lie down. The best they could do for her was give her bed rest because everybody just knew that a heart had a certain allotment of beats and when that limit was reached, you punched the clock. Today, they would have cleaned out her arteries on an outpatient basis and she would have lived to be 80 years old.

  42. 22mpg? I wish…

    Trucker Al, I rest my case. πŸ™‚

  43. But clearly not the same as if you had come of age in ’65-67. The culture had changed, and indeed I think your generation rebelled pretty strongly against all of the hippy idealist stuff.

    Hell, I was *born* in ’67 and clearly remember Tricky Dick Nixon, but that doesn’t make me a Boomer.

    You didn’t get to spend every day of your life from middle school to well into high school wondering if you needed to head off to Canada or not.

    As bad a dude as Nixon was, I still bless him for making that question go away.

  44. You are all old people

    Soon we younguns will forget you and rename ourselves the Greatest Generation.

    Seriously, that name is kind of like High School Seniors tut-tutting how lame the incoming freshman are. “The good ‘ol days are gone. It just aint like it was. There wont be a class as good as us again…”

    Then they disappear and we can all move on.

    All I can say is that as viagra becomes ubiquitous, these statistics will mean NOTHING. All will be humping like crazy and either congratulating themselves or denying it vigorously.

    There are already growing problems with STD’s in retirement communities. They screw like bunnies… bunnies who know their bumping days are numbered. Old, icky bunnies.

    http://www.local6.com/news/9283707/detail.html

  45. You raise an interesting stat here. 1957 was the peak of the boom. I was born in 1957 and yet I am certainly not what you’d call a boomer. I mean, we ’57ers were still in high school when Siagon was evacuated. We didn’t march with Dr. King. In fact, most of the folks that DID march with King were pre-boom born.

    The actual population baby broom stretched over 18 years from ’46 to ’64. Culturally (as ChrisO is stating) that is really split into roughly three peer groups.

    The early boom included those that became adults during the rapid expansion of Vietnam, the British invasion in music, the sexual revolution, and the civil right movement.

    The transition group (us born in 1957) had ringside seats to watch it all happen, even though it was fizzling out just as we became adults.

    And finally, there is the end of the boom (my younger siblings) who were totally and irrevocably responsible for disco πŸ˜‰

  46. “Old, icky bunnies.”

    Funniest thing I’ve seen here in months!

  47. My draft number was really low, but at least I had one. Before the lottery it was a real crap shoot.

  48. old, icky bunnies… that, Gilmore, is a THREAD WINNER!

    But, here’s the thing man, old guys with limpies don’t need Viagra. A smokin’ hot little 23 year old, naked in bed with them will usually do the trick. No pun intended.

  49. And finally, there is the end of the boom (my younger siblings) who were totally and irrevocably responsible for disco

    And are therefore subject to the death penalty by firing squad.

    It was cool to be part of the early group because you got all the rollover from the Where Were You in ’62? American Graffiti/Surf Rock stuff as well as the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of the Summer of Love. What could be better? Ya got bare midriff girls without bras, jacked-up Chevelle SS 396’s that’d push your stomach into you spine from a red light, lots of unsavory things like psych shops, reefers, and Ed Allerton selling oregano joints to the ninth graders for a half a buck a pop.

    I know, whatever time you came of age was the best. The best music, the hottest chicks…and no, I ain’t goin’ back, because as Carly Simon said, these are the good old days.

  50. “Old, icky bunnies.”

    Funniest thing I’ve seen here in months!

    Made me glad I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon. I’d need a new keyboard for sure.

  51. ChrisO, I plan to ungracefully age into extinction, kicking, screaming, moaning, and complaining all the way.

    Hell, I’m a Gen-X’er and I’m doing that too. Just ask my wife.

  52. But, here’s the thing man, old guys with limpies don’t need Viagra.

    I heard someone say that one of the problems with Viagra was that a lot of guys were finding that the problem they actually had was that they just couldn’t stand the old lady anymore.

  53. It was cool to be part of the early group because you got all the rollover from the Where Were You in ’62? American Graffiti/Surf Rock stuff as well as the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of the Summer of Love. What could be better? Ya got bare midriff girls without bras, jacked-up Chevelle SS 396’s that’d push your stomach into you spine from a red light, lots of unsavory things like psych shops, reefers, and Ed Allerton selling oregano joints to the ninth graders for a half a buck a pop.

    You lucky bastard. I got saddled with K Cars, “Just say no”, and ‘the new morality’. My wife and I both say we were born about ten years too late, even though we both dislike hearing Boomers talk about how wonderful they are. πŸ™‚

  54. Of course, my father says he needs to take half a viagra just so he won’t pee on his shoes.

  55. My wife and I both say we were born about ten years too late,

    Then you’d be just like me . . .

  56. they just couldn’t stand the old lady anymore.

    I was trying to be diplomatic.

    Course I guess that can’t stand door swings both ways. πŸ™‚

    Waving his hand dismissively he shouts for the 308,142 time….

    We never had a BUICK! Got dam it.

    Heard some old guy yell that at his wife while they were shuffling down the sidewalk.

  57. And finally, there is the end of the boom (my younger siblings) who were totally and irrevocably responsible for disco πŸ˜‰

    I declare shenanigans!

    Late Boomers would be 13-18 in 1977 and couldn’t actually go to a disco. Disco is a mid-Boomer artifact.

  58. ChrisO, it was a nice mix of hippie, beach, and car culture. I grew up in So Cal when the Beach Boys still lived in a post war tract house and everybody knew where it was. Well, until they moved.

    Everybody talks about the car culture but the height of it was in the sixties. We thought nothing of burning through a tank of gas on a Friday night just cruising. Whittier Blvd. Sunset Blvd. Ventura Blvd. It was pretty much like the Lucas movie, except on a larger scale.

    Realistically, it wasn’t all glam, it was just kids growing up in a particular era with all the angst associated with coming of age. It wasn’t cool that this guy Jeff (almost said his name) had but one goal in life, which was to take enough drugs to die before he was 21. He would happily tell anyone willing to listen. Always quoting Petey (Hope I die before I get old). He tried really, really hard to make it happen. Whenever we found him wandering in a daze, we’d take him home. WTF his parents were doing I’ll never know.

  59. John and Gilmore, got something here just for you.

  60. Late Boomers would be 13-18 in 1977 and couldn’t actually go to a disco. Disco is a mid-Boomer artifact.

    As late, great Harry Chapin complained, the average customer that buys a single in the music store is a 13-year-old girl. (at least it was back then)

    The mid-boomers may have spent to much time shaking their booties on the dance floor, but is was the young boomers that made disco pervasive on the radio.

  61. Disco sucked because it killed live bands at clubs. For a long time. Except for a brief resurgence when we all became cowboys for the year following John Travolta’s escapades with the mechanical bull that is.

  62. To say it a different way. The group that “lived” disco was a sub-culture within the mid-boomers. The group that made disco a commercial monster was young boomers.

    And history repeats itself. Hip-hop was a sub-culture before teen-aged, white kids from middle class neighborhoods made it the only thing that they would listen to.

  63. Then you’d be just like me . . .

    Yeah, but despite the bad press, the ’70s had to be way more fun than the ’80s were, despite the best efforts of Nixon and Carter. At least you guys had lots of dope, good music, and a ‘screw it if it moves’ mentality. We had Nancy Reagan.

  64. BTW, on my same theme, disco was considerably better as dance music than what followed in the ’80s, even if the culture of disco was laughably bad. Ugly things happened when whitey tried to get funky, but at least he tried…

  65. My greatest hope for retirement is knowing that in about 60 years some member of my generational cohort will spend his twilight years writing the definitive history book about why the Baby Boom Generation sucked, and I’ll read it knowing that Mother Nature had finally put an end to all those awful “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” stories once and for all. I’ll probably have to read it in between my two jobs to ensure that I can pay the disgustingly huge interest on the disgustingly huge debt you guys piled up so you could live the good life, but a moral victory is better than nothing.

  66. “Disco sucked because it killed live bands at clubs.”

    The mandatory 21 drinking age played a big part too.

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