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Sex and Women Over 50: These European Judges Don’t Think You Need It

Sex and Women Over 50: Some Doctors Think We Don't Need It

If a trip to the doctor resulted in the end to your sex life, would you sue for restitution?

A court in Portugal said sure, you deserve payback–but not as much as if you were younger.

Here’s the recap: In 1995, a Portuguese woman, aged 50, was diagnosed with cysts in her Bartholin glands which lubricate the vagina. Doctors operated on her, but sliced through a nerve, leaving her numb, incontinent–and unable to have sex.

It took nearly 20 years for her case to make it to court, during which time the woman’s husband left her and she was unable to work. Finally, in 2014, she was awarded about $200,000, but the hospital appealed, and a court agreed, saying–for real, now: “…[T]he plaintiff was already 50 years old by the date of the surgery and had two children. So she was at an age in which sexuality does not hold as much importance as with younger people, becoming less important with the advancement of age.”

Let’s unpack this. Sex and women over 50: Why would someone think a female of a certain age doesn’t require it? Seems to be a matter of:

  • She’s not worthy of pleasure, being “old” and all
  • She’s past procreation age, so intercourse might as well be off limits

The reaction to the appeal being granted was swift and fierce, and a court reversed the decision, awarding the woman more money. But honestly, no amount comes close to paying for 20 years of being told your sexuality doesn’t matter. There just aren’t enough cuss words for that level of bull.

–Amy Keyishian

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