Saturday, October 21, 2006

Looks like Betjeman wasn't the only one...

Sir John Betjeman, late in life, said his one regret was that he had not had enough sex.
A UK poll published in October 2006 suggests that he was not alone. 70% of pensioners included "more sex" as one their top ten wishes if they could have their time over again. In comparison, many 20-30 year olds actually wanted to sleep with less partners (23%) and seemed a lot more bothered about material concerns -
their main regret was that they hadnt bought property earlier (77%)

Unfortunately, the results don't reveal gender differences, which I am sure would have made fascinating reading. Are women pensioners regretting not having more sex to the same extent as men, or is the story like it is in Woody Allen's Annie Hall?

When their respective therapists ask Annie (Dianne Keaton) and Alvy (Woody Allen) how often they sleep together, they give strangely similar yet different answers.
"Hardly ever" laments Alvy, "Maybe three times a week."
"Constantly" compains Annie. "I'd say three times a week."

So what are we to make of the findings? James Newton, of UKTV Gold, who commisioned the survey, commented :-

"Who would have thought that pensioners would be so fixated on having missed their opportunity to have more sex and travel the world, while twenty-somethings are more concerned about property?"

Well, maybe that old sage, Abraham Maslow, who long ago in his hierarchy of human needs postulated that we are most motivated by what we are lacking. From Maslow's perspective, it's hardly surprising that 20-somethings, probably in debt, value money and that pensioners, many whose sexual needs are not met as they once were, value sex. If that's true, then the poll results shouldn't be interpreted as providing universal answers to the question "what matters most". It's even possible to turn Maslow's ideas round and ask "is what is motivating me most now just a symptom of my not having it?. Would I be really happy if I did have it?".

Or am I being too sceptical about the poll results? Maybe we should leave the last word on that to Woody Allen.

Sex without love an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best.

The results of the UKTV Gold poll in full:

Pensioners Top 10 regrets


20-30 year olds

Top 10 regrets


1.Have more sex


1. Buy property earlier


2. Travel more


2. Not waste money


3. Change jobs


3. Vote differently


4. Save more


4. Be famous


5. Stand up to boss


5. Travel more


6. Marry someone else


6. Lose virginity to someone else


7. Spend "frivolously"


7. Study harder


8. Set up business,


8. Booze less


9. Study harder


9. Take vocational courses


10. Be famous


10. Sleep around less


1500 over-65s and 20-30 year olds were interviewed for the poll, conducted by UKTV Gold

External Links

Pensioners regret not having more sex -survey

More sex please, we're old and British

Pensioners' wish: to have had more sex

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