GOTN Avatar

On sex programmes on TV

This week a rather lovely and polite person from a TV agency asked me to promote a casting call for a new sex programme. It sounds like exactly the sort of sex-based reality TV that I enjoy watching, although the jury is out on whether it will be an enjoyable watch or a troubling one. Anyone who’s played Bad Sex Media Bingo with documentaries on porn will know that the media doesn’t always deal with sex in a sensible way.

Still, some do, and I have no issue in principle with posting a casting call, just in case any of you perverts would like to get on telly for a bit. However, I do have an issue with this one in particular. Can you spot why?

let's play a little game of 'spot what made GOTN so annoyed she nearly cried into her coffee'

Sex at different ages

If you said ‘the age limit’ then you’d be absolutely correct. Of course, as a show that is about sex, the range has to begin at 18. But why have an upper age limit of 35?

Full disclosure: I’m 30. I have no personal experience of sex over the age of 35. For all I know it might be the case that, upon hitting that magical birthday, I suddenly lose all interest in any kind of sexual activity. Wanking goes out of the window, oral gets ousted, and fucking fucks utterly and irretrievably off. Maybe the instant rejection of all things sex at the age of 35 was the driving force behind Kirstie Allsopp’s recent comments that women should have babies much earlier in life. Maybe there is a whole new genre of life that I had previously not imagined: the Dry Years. After fucking oneself raw as a youngster, the more mature adult puts sex to one side, and begins filling their time with visits to garden centres and discussion on house prices instead.

I fucking doubt it though.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the idea that older people cannot have and enjoy sex is bollocks. What’s more, the idea that the sexual cutoff point would be as ridiculously low as thirty-fucking-five is phenomenal. Your genitals don’t fall off when you hit 36, and nor do you suddenly change your attitude towards something that fundamental.

Older people in sex programmes on TV

I asked the person who contacted me what possible reason there could be for such a low cut-off point (or, indeed, why there was a need to have any upper age limit at all). She didn’t know, and to be fair I am guessing it wasn’t her decision to limit things, so I said I’d post the call (see above – voila!) but also that I’d call attention to the fact that the age limit on this was incredibly restrictive.

Look: I know that TV companies often equate youth with beauty and sexiness. The idea of deliberately seeking out older people to be on a TV programme about sex probably has producers screeching with terror. But older people do have sex. Older people can be sexual. As someone for whom the vast majority of my crushes are on men who are well over the age of forty, and as a woman who is constantly reminded that to wrinkle is to fail, I utterly despair at the thought of a programme about sex being artificially limited to exclude a huge proportion of the sexually active population.

TV sex programmes that don’t limit based on age

I have also had contact recently from the company that makes ‘Sex sent me to the ER’. Their casting call is below.

can you spot an age limit anywhere on this casting call?

Can you see an age limit there? I can’t. Although in the email exchange the casting producer told me they were looking for couples ‘aged 20-50’, on the ad itself there are no limits. You know what that means? It means they may well get applications from people aged over 50, and I suspect that if their story is interesting then the number of birthdays they’ve had will be deemed irrelevant. As it should be in these situations.

When I am old…

I understand that as we age we change – we might be less interested in sex, just as we might be less interested in clubbing. Moreover there will be some people under the age of thirty five who are wholly disinterested in doing things with their genitals, and have much more fun doing other things. But none of this is necessarily the case for all couples. There are plenty of older people (and yet again I smash my head onto the keyboard at having to include people in their late thirties as ‘older people’) who are sexually active. Personally, in five years time I plan on being one of them. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple thigh-high socks and a black velvet strap-on belt. I will tie my partner to the bed by the ankles and ride his dick with just as much joie de vivre as I did last night. I shall wank on the sofa in the lounge and lick my fingers afterwards.

What’s more, it may well be the case that there are people who feel uncomfortable about older sex, or disgusted by it, who wouldn’t be so if so much of the media didn’t insist on painting older people right out of the picture as soon as sex comes into play. So much of our view on sex is dictated by what society tells us is and isn’t OK. What is and isn’t erotic. What is and isn’t beautiful. Those who portray sex on TV – especially on reality shows – have an opportunity to make things as ‘real’ as possible.

I’m sad that in this case they haven’t taken it.


  • Don says:

    Hi, as a male pushing 53 believe me you still keep going, but with more finesse and the extra experience you gain is worth it’s weight in gold.

    Hope that helps make you feel the world won’t stop at 35


  • Geoff says:

    There is a common fallacy in tv production that, in order to appeal to the 18-35 demographic (a construct generated by the advertising industry which tv people believe they have to obey), it is best to have only 18-35 people onscreen. Nowhere have I seen research showing this to be true but it is (almost) universally believed that people aged between 18 and 35 will not watch people over 35 but only turn to programmes about and with their own generation. Just typing this makes me feel silly but look at the output.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Haha, excellent point. It’s odd that people think we’ll only ever be interested in people who are exactly the same as us. If this were genuinely a thing, Breaking Bad would only ever have been popular with chemistry teachers.

  • Cheryl says:

    As a woman of 41 with a partner of 52 I have better, dirtier, more adventurous sex now than I have ever done in my life! (and so does my partner)
    Stuff like this makes my blood boil. I’m glad I don’t have a TV or I’d have to chuck stuff at it in protest.
    I feel like my sex life only really begun in earnest at the age of 39.
    Why don’t they just rename this programme Logan’s Run and have done with it?

  • Jas says:

    Surely if they’re looking for long term couples, quite a lot of these will be in the 30+ or *horror* 40++ ? The more we age the more we know our own bodies and minds! Hooray for us couples still having great sex in long term relationships!

  • This is a bloody awesome post. Those programme makers are being idiotic too, as they’re not taking peoples life circumstances into account
    I bumped past their cut off date a decade ago – during that era of my life I was in a crap marriage, miserable as sin, overweight from too much comfort booze and actively dressed I’m shapeless nun like clothes to deter my
    Hideous ex from having sex with me.
    Now divorced, and happy, I’m having a decent amount of relatively deviant sex, mainly with guys 20 years my junior, slimmed down and rocking a look I suppose I’d describe as ‘Audrey Hepburn but much shorter and dressed by Dorothy Perkins’
    That prog ironically would get much better stories out of me nowadays, even though they wouldn’t even let me through the door. Ah well.
    Kudos for this post – it is awesome,

  • My granddad had a prostate op in his late 70s, and for some bizarre reason, which I’m kind of glad I can’t quite recollect, my dad mentioned that one of the things he was worried about was that he’d no longer be able to have sex. It was TMI because it related to a family member, but TMI because he was proper old? Nope.

  • Indy says:

    I lost years of my sex life to illness, medication and feeling undesirable for all manner of reasons. I only rediscovered how much fun and how joful it could make me feel after I hit 35. A large part of that came with learning to get over – or at least, not to care about – not fitting the media-approved image or idea of a sexually active person. It’s pressure and unspoken criticism in an area no one wants to feel any more pressured about.

  • Rob says:

    I dont know if you take request or not but i was wondering if you could do a post on fucking in the shower or bath. The reason is my girls loves it so much and i have no clue why?

  • Andrea says:

    I’m a 37 year old Flabbergasted gal!
    I was in a passion free marriage for 6 years. Very similar to cava supernova.
    I was overweight and very down on myself.
    I made the tough desicion to leave and I’m a changed person.
    Fit, happy and content.
    I had 12 months of licking my wounds and then started dating. I found my missing spark and love of sex.
    I now have a fantastic BF (who is 6 years younger than me!!) and we have a fantastic sex live.
    So whilst I’m not bothered that I don’t need the tv numptys programme to help spice up my life. They are totally delusioned and down right insulting to discriminate against the over 35’s!
    Personally I would much rather watch something about people who I can relate to and who are real, rather than a youngster who’s only interest on being on the Telly is for their 5 mins of fame.

  • Steve says:

    I’ll be 50 this year. After enduring 18 years of a mostly passionless marriage, my current partner of 2 years and I are having the best, filthiest sex either of us has ever had. She is much more experienced in terms of number of partners, however, what we find important in achieving truly transcendental, eye melting sex is openness and closeness (as well as open mindedness and a desire to try new things). I’m now wondering if everyone my age is having great sex.
    Incidentally two of my closest female friends have a thing for older men, they just don’t seem to find great sex with guys their own age, or at least very rarely.
    I mean, it’s true of anything else, the more practice and experience, the better you get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.