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Dating, sex and the over 40s

Dating, sex and the over 40s

Upd@teMe – sexual health and relationship information for the over 40s looking for, or already in, a new relationship – is the newest resource produced by Family Planning.

Chief Executive Jackie Edmond says the new resource, produced with funding from the Ministry of Health, is specifically targeted at heterosexual women aged over 40, who are getting back into dating and relationships.

“Some people may never have imagined the possibility of their long-term relationship ending, whether through break-up or death. There may be considerable adjustment to accepting new possibilities,” she says.

“This is compounded by changes in society – more ways of meeting someone, increased risk of Sexually Transmissible Infections…We know too, that many people in the over 40 age group aren’t good at taking care of themselves –they’ve simply not had the safer sex messages that young people have been getting.

“Our clinicians often report women seeking contraception at the start of a new relationship who hadn’t even considered the need to protect themselves against STIs. Often they’ll tell our clinicians that “he looks okay.” Our response is that you can’t tell by looking if someone has an STI. Unless both partners have had “clean” STI test results and the relationship is sexually exclusive then condoms and lube are the only way to be safe.”

Upd@teMe covers issues such as ideas for meeting someone new, a guide to Internet dating – how it works and how to keep yourself safe, sexual etiquette, talking about safer sex, how to negotiate condom use, pregnancy and contraception and much more.

The resource also includes tips to help women keep themselves safe. These include advice about internet dating, taking about safer sex before you get into a sexual situation, and having a friend you can discuss things with.

“Family Planning produces a range of material on all kinds of sexual and reproductive health issues. I’m delighted that Upd@teMe has been printed because it meets a real need for quality information for a group of people who haven’t been well-served with information in the past,” Ms Edmond says. “I hope that demand for this is such that we have to do another print run – that would be the key determinant in this resource meeting a real and identified need.”

Family Planning provides sexual health services for men and women of all ages. If you’re over 45, a clinic visit costs $22.50 and clinical staff can help with issues such as: condoms; contraception; menopause support; STI checks and treatment; HIV testing; vasectomy and cervical smears.

To order your free copy of Upd@teMe or to find details of your nearest Family Planning Clinic go to


• Get a sexual health warrant of fitness. Visit a Family Planning Clinic (or your GP or sexual health service) and get a check-up to reassure yourself that you are sexually healthy before you start a relationship. Ask for a copy of your results and keep it.
• Think about what you want from a relationship:
- What qualities would you like in a new partner? Make a list. What things would be unacceptable to you in a new partner? What are the qualities you bring to a new relationship?

• Talking about safer sex. It’s not easy talking about sexual health matters, especially with someone you don’t know very well. It may be better to put off having sex until you have built up some intimacy and trust in the relationship. Then the subject will be easier to discuss.
• Keep a clear idea in your head about what you want and don’t want. Regularly refer to your list. Think about these questions:
- Does it fit with my life plan? Does this relationship match my personal values and belief system? Am I being respected and valued? What does my gut instinct tell me?


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