The intention is to start a conversation, but a new campaign about the joys of sex and intimacy in adulthood can also disrupt traffic.
Five naked, or almost naked, couples and a woman were photographed by Rankin, and their images are accompanied by words that defy the stereotypes of sexual desire and activity in later years. The posters will be displayed on billboards across the country starting this week.
The campaign, Let’s Talk the Joy of Later Life Sex, comes from the charity Relate and aims to “combat stigma around this unspoken issue”.
A poster shows a man kissing his partner’s neck, with the words: “Over the hill. And the table. And the sofa. ”Another shows a woman who had a double mastectomy with her partner, and the words:“ The years are going up, but you are still falling ”.
An image of two men hugging each other closely has the caption: “Some men find that they love golf. Some men find that they love men. “
A woman holding her face in pleasure is accompanied by the words: “You are never too old to play with toys.”
Rankin, a world-renowned fashion and portrait photographer, said the campaign aimed to break convention. “The simple fact is that we all need intimacy now more than ever – and age is really just a number. The greatness of love and affection – the same things we can’t stop writing books, movies and pop songs about – doesn’t need to change as we discover our last few years. “
Ammanda Major, a psychosexual therapist at Relate, said the organization was trying to “start or expand a conversation about sex in adulthood – a subject that people often find difficult to talk about”.
She said that some chose not to have a sex life, and some – who lost partners or whose relationships ended – found few opportunities for sex and intimacy.
“But many couples go to a place where sex and intimacy are difficult, and they may need help talking about it.”
Sex is often portrayed in films and on television as a “very dynamic business” among young people, she added. “We are trying to show that people later in life with vacillating parts can feel good about sex. We are trying to normalize sex among older people. “
All those who appear in the campaign are “real” people, rather than role models, and all have been advised by an “intimacy trainer”, who usually works with actors in films and televisions, to make sure they feel comfortable before, during and after shooting.
Andrew and Mark, who are in their 60s and have been together for almost 32 years, said that only they, Rankin and an assistant were present during the shoot, although there were up to 30 people in the studio.
“At first I thought it might be a little embarrassing, but the intimacy coach told us about what we felt comfortable doing and then we had a follow-up session, looking at the images. We had a veto, but there were only two or three that we didn’t want to use, and that’s probably more of us being vain than concerns about nudity, “said Mark.
Andrew said he was generally “a little more reserved” than Mark, but “it was a wonderful experience – and a privilege to be photographed by Rankin”.
Family and friends were “surprised, but they were very supportive,” said Mark. “Younger nephews and nieces see us as an eccentric old couple anyway, and they think this is just another weird thing we’ve done. They will probably take their friends to see us on a billboard. “
He added: “There is a stereotype that when you pass a certain age, all you want to do is sit in front of the TV with your pipe and slippers. We need to start talking about intimacy and sex between older people.
“From our point of view, it is doubly difficult to circumvent stereotypes. The chances of seeing older people being intimate on your screen are very small, but it is almost nonexistent for an older couple like us.
“This seemed like a lovely way to show our love for each other,” said Mark.