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The Joy of Later Life Sex by Rankin

The photographer and the charity Relate launch a new campaign to break taboos

The Joy of Later Life Sex by Rankin The photographer and the charity Relate launch a new campaign to break taboos

Do you know what the latest taboo about sex is? Older people sex life. According to 3Gem market research, only a fifth of British people think that society is ready to deal with this topic, a fact also confirmed by the majority (60%) of people over 65 who say they do not feel comfortable discussing sex and intimacy. Part of the problem is due to how the media treat, or rather avoid proposing images of couples over 60. Just think about it, in recent years there have only been two movie projects that have love in old age at the center of the plot: the first is Love in the Time of Cholera, the movie adaptation directed by Mike Newell of the eponymous novel by Gabriel García Márquez, and the second is the lovely Netflix show Grace and Frankie. Trying to break down this taboo for good now comes The Joy of Later Life Sex, a new campaign created by the charity Relate with Rankin.

The British photographer shot five older couples and one woman in their most intimate moments. There's Andrew and Mark, who have been together for 31 years; there's Chrissie, who had a double mastectomy, and her partner Roger; or Daphne and Arthur, who still hold hands when they walk. 

"It may seem as though it's only young people with 'perfect' bodies having sex and being intimate but of course this isn't true! - Said Gail Thorne, Relate Sex Therapist - In reality, 'sex and intimacy in later life' means different things to different people: for some it's about exploring new and different sexual experiences, and for others it's simply about feeling able to express emotion through a gentle touch or kiss on the cheek. What we're trying to do today is open up a society-wide conversation about the fact that sex and intimacy - whatever that might mean - can be as important for older people as it is for anyone else."

Rankin, who worked pro bono on the project, shares the same opinion and echoed:

"The simple fact is it that we all need intimacy now more than ever – and age, of course, really is just a number. The greatness of love and affection – the very things we cant stop writing books, films, and pop songs about – doesnt need to change as we find our later years. This campaign sets out to break convention, and thats what it did, both before and behind the camera."