Despite a recent New York Daily News article citing a doctor claiming the popular novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” has helped increase sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in those over 50, a urogynecologist says the book merely shows that sexual activity – and STIs -- is not limited to people in their teens, 20s and 30s.
Sexually transmitted infections can more greatly impact people as they get older. In fact, as women age, they are more apt to be affected by STIs because the skin of the vulva, vagina and other areas gets thinner and as they lose estrogen, they are less able to fight off infections, says Jill Rabin, MD, head of urogynecology at LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
“Sexually-transmitted infections (including HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis) don’t discriminate based on age,” Dr. Rabin says. “You can’t tell from looking at a person -- even if they seem nice, clean and responsible -- if they have an STI.”
Dr. Rabin encourages people to ask their sexual partners to get tested for HIV and other STIs and perhaps to make the situation more comfortable, both partners can get tested together. She adds that all sex should occur in a manner that the consenting adults are comfortable with.
Dr. Rabin adds that “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is slated to become a movie next year, has brought to light that women who are peri-menopausal and menopausal, as well as males over the age of 50, are having sex.
“This book creates a paradigm shift, long overdue, by bringing sex and sexuality back into the spotlight as it is central to what makes us human,” Dr. Rabin says. “It normalizes the conversation of sexuality for all those people who may not be in the prime of their reproductive lives but have a lot of life left to live.”