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Germany

German TV Explores Sex Among Seniors

Curious about the sex lives of the over-70 crowd? Even intimate relations among 50-somethings is usually not talked about. And teens? Now all is revealed on German television.

Laying it bare on German prime time
Laying it bare on German prime time

BERLIN — What’s sex like for couples over 50? How about for those 70 or older? Do they have sex regularly? Is the experience pretty much as it was when they were 20, except that their bodies are older? Or do hormonal changes mean that sex becomes a wholly different experience?

These and other questions about sexuality in older age are the subject of the the German docu-series Make Love, whose second installment is being planned. The successful TV program has just been nominated for 2014's Grimme Online Award, and many people have read the accompanying book by Danish sexologist Ann-Marlene Henning, the driving force behind the series.

The cross-media format asserts that "making love is something you can learn," and it deals with subjects like "good arguments, bad arguments" and "advertising to find personal happiness." It has attracted a great many fans.

"For the next docu-series Make Love, we're looking for retirees to tell us what sex is like for older people and what it's like to discover late in life that you have homoerotic feelings," Henning recently posted on her Facebook page. "If you're between 40 and 100 and would like to be a part of this, contact us."

In a video accompanying the message, Henning tries to defuse any fears potential participants may have. "Your clothes stay on … and your privacy is respected," she says. "That's very, very important to me."

Henning asks what others won't

The reason for these reassuring remarks may be because previous episodes featured naked partners having real sex. But the series got as much attention as it did because, though the video was realistic and the content graphic, the effect was never sensational or sleazy.

Along with older heterosexual couples, Henning is also looking for older, same-sex couples for the new Make Love series — or anyone who in later life discovered new aspects to their sexuality, or are planning to "come out." "It could, for example, be that past the age of 40 or 50 you discover that you actually prefer sex with same-sex partners," she says in another video.

The new episodes will also feature very young adults and explore what sex is like for them. In her sympathetic Danish accent, Henning says she wants to find out not only how notions of bodily perfection have influenced young people, but also how they've been influenced by pornography, which is much more accessible now than it used to be.

The new documentary will be filmed soon and broadcast serially next fall. Given the huge success of the first series, there is little doubt that Henning and the Make Love producers will find the protagonists they need.


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