Baby Boomers play risky when it comes to their sex lives

Posted Oct 5, 2010 by KJ Mullins
Baby boomers may tell their children about the facts of life and safe sex but don't seem to be taking their own advice, according to a survey by the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF).
Two seniors relaxing on a bench
A man listens to his iPod while the woman fills out a crossword puzzle
By Ed Yourdon
Seventy per cent of Canadian boomers (ages 46 to 64) with kids talk to their children about the need to use protection during sex but 16 per cent admit that they don't follow their own advice. Those who are unmarried are the riskiest with almost a third saying that since they turned 40 they have had unprotected sex with a new partner.
The Baby Boom generation may be facing turning points in their lives with the kids moving out on their own or becoming single again but one think is clear: Boomers like sex. Over half of the boomers surveyed say they feel freer now and most (82 percent) think having an active sex life at every age is important.
New dating styles from less serious relationships, online dating to having one night stands are becoming more common for some. More than one in every 10 Boomer says they take more risks now that they have gotten older.
"Boomers definitely have a new-found zest for life - but it's important they use it safely and wisely," says Dr. Morris Sherman, Chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation. "Many have been out of the dating scene for a while and need to realize there are new risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and proper precautions should be taken."
With pregnancy less a concern Boomers are using less condoms than they did in the past appearing to forget that STIs do not discriminate at any age. More than half of all boomers (56 per cent) say they're not worried about contracting any STIs and 30 per cent of unmarried boomers aren't worried.
Diseases like hepatitis is low on the Boomers radar when it comes to STIs. They worry more about HIV/AIDS (56 percent), herpes (30 percent), and syphilis (17 percent).
That thinking could prove fatal. Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide and the consequences also include jaundice, extreme fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and other health issues. One of the ways the disease is spread is from unprotected sex.
"Boomers need to learn from their teenage years and realize they're not immortal," says Dr. Sherman. "Assuming that contracting a disease like hepatitis B can't happen to them is a mistake, especially when there are simple precautionary measures they can take. Canadians should consider getting vaccinated against hepatitis B to reduce the risk of contracting this serious liver disease. Today in Canada, because of infant and school immunization, new cases are more likely to be in adults and can be the result of unprotected sex, or from tattoos and piercings where improperly sterilized equipment is used. What's alarming is that in many cases, the cause may be unknown. To protect yourself against the risk factors you can identify and those you can't, it makes sense to get immunized."