Having been showered in erotic stories by female contributors describing their seductions by younger men, like Colette's Léa and Chéri, it’s no surprise to The Amorist that, according to a recent survey by financial services company SunLife, some over-50s are having the best sex of their lives.
It’s certainly inspiring to find that this generation, making up over a third of the UK population (and growing), are learning new languages, IT skills and musical instruments, as well as developing new tricks in the bedroom. Of the 50 000 people interviewed for the survey, each one past their half-century, over 60% said they were enjoying life more.
But pity the poor children of hyperactive 50-plus parents who are colonising what were previously conceived as 'youth' activities such as dating, studying and travelling. Young adults find themselves giving newly-divorced or widowed parents advice on how to navigate Tinder or cope with a crush on their evening class teacher.
While the Amorist plans to wear purple when collecting her pension and has always agreed with Eliot that ‘old men should be explorers’, she’s sympathetic to the irritation of a friend whose mother is unable to babysit because she’s going on a tantra weekend with her new lover.
What's more, she fears that, by the time she reaches the free-bus-pass stage herself, the older generation will be deemed a drain on society, and far from enjoying wild sex without fear of pregnancy or the need for husband, she'll be in some Orwellian ante-room, waiting for the euthanist's needle.
My most beautiful of all little blue grey mouse catching, pearly bottomed, creamy-thighed, soft-waisted mewing rat-pursuers!
Letter from Peter Pears to Benjamin Britten, 1941