Magazine article Newsweek International

Grannies Get It On

Magazine article Newsweek International

Grannies Get It On

Article excerpt

It could be a scene out of any U.S. high-school health class. An educator stands before a room of students, extolling the virtues of safe sex. But when Colette Vallee, a Florida public-health official, delivers her Condom 101 lectures, there's a twist: instead of teens, her audiences are Florida retirees. Their grandkids, born in the age of AIDS, begin learning about safe sex in grade school. But "many adults in their 60s have never even seen a condom," Vallee says, since they came of age before the sexual revolution. That naivete is one reason why HIV rates among the elderly are rising. To reduce them, Vallee brings sex ed to the geriatric set.

Vallee spins tales of senior sex lives that are far from sedentary. She tells of "condo Casanovas" who bed-hop, exploiting the skewed female- to-male ratio of most retirement communities. "We like to think of older people as asexual, but that's not the case," she says.

During a recent seminar at a Tampa senior-housing facility, Vallee begins by asking why the audience might believe they can't get AIDS. …

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