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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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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