The de-sexualization of older adults is a discrimination issue throughout the world, but in the US, where youth and beauty culture of both major genders permeates almost everything, it even becomes more urgent. Indeed, sexual expression can be a beautiful thing.
The U of M’s Program in Human Sexuality recently conducted a study of a diverse focus group of 61 senior citizens by Drs. Sara Mize and Alex Iantaffi. The qualitative data from their widely varied findings has been dramatized and directed by Pangea World Theater’s legendary Meena Natarajan. It is titled No Expiration Date: Sexuality & Aging and plays at Intermedia Arts.
The playwright/director shares “I think what I am struck by most is the extraordinary courage and vulnerability of the people who contributed to this study. As you know, this was from a study and those details are in the press release. The stories were funny, sad, upsetting, crazy and just really moving and what came through was a sense of wisdom through experience. I really wanted to capture and honor all of this in the piece that I wrote. I found myself tearing up so many times as I read the focus group transcriptions and I really wanted to capture that sense of fearlessness and wholeness that came through in the study as well as the fact that sexuality is a huge part of our life as we grow older, that we can look at it in multiple ways, that there is not one narrow definition of what it is and how our experiences when we were younger shape who we are as we grow older.”
She continues “how some people are still stuck and others have a brain neuroplasticity that helps them accept how they can adapt to changing circumstances in sexuality as they grow older. It touched a very deep chord in my heart – I grew to love the stories and it was hard not to want to use every single one of them. Part of my impetus is the transformation that is necessary for us in our views and stories about aging elders, to reclaim their sexuality and humanity especially since everything in the media and social messaging around us screams youth all the time.”
June 5 – 14
On June 5: Pangea World Theater, 711 W. Lake St., Mpls.
Beginning June 6: Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.