Queensbury Senior Center

The former Queensbury Senior Center director, Kathryn Cramer, posed for a portrait recently. Cramer put out free condoms in bathrooms in response to high numbers of HIV and AIDS diagnoses in older Americans. She resigned after a dispute over the condoms with some members of the center’s board.

Jenn March, Special to The Post-Star

It’s not every day we sit down to write an editorial about sex among senior citizens, and we’re not sure how to begin.

“It’s normal. It’s healthy. It makes your skin glow.” — Is that the right approach?

We’re not trying to be cheerleaders for senior citizen sex. Our point is, there’s nothing there to be ashamed of.

“Whisper about it in the corners” seems like the wrong way to address the subject. Why not talk about it openly?

The president of the Queensbury Senior Center’s board of directors, David Schwenker, has an answer to that question: “It creates difficult discussions,” he said.

Sex is like that, always creating difficult discussions.

But sex is also a part of life, for adults of all ages, and talking about it, especially when health concerns are a part of the conversation, is healthy.

We’re surprised we have to say that to someone who is, of all things, a retired doctor.

Dr. Schwenker was a cardiologist, so he must have had a lot of “difficult discussions” about people’s health. Those discussions might even have touched on the topic of sex.

What happened is the senior center’s director, Kathryn Cramer, put out a bowl of condoms in the bathroom at the center. She also made information available on safe sex and encouraged discussions on the topic. She did all this out of concern over the rising rate of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS, among seniors.

The condoms have been out for awhile, and the discussions have been happening. It took a little time to get past embarrassment and giggles, Cramer said. But they managed it.

“Once I told them why, I told them, I care about you, and any issue I hear about that’s affecting you, you bet I’m going to address it. Once they knew why, they embraced it,” she said.

That’s great. We understand it’s tricky to talk about sex with your teenager, and some parents object to content presented in school health classes.

But adults who have lived full lives and reached old age should be able to talk about sex if they want to and have easy access to condoms if they want them.

It’s normal. It’s healthy. It makes the skin glow. But we also want our seniors to be safe, just as we do with all consenting adults who choose to have sex, which is why we wholeheartedly endorse Cramer’s actions and urge the center’s board to support them. And now we’ll go back to writing about taxes.

Local editorials represent the opinion of the Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rob Forcey, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle, Controller/Operations Director Brian Corcoran and citizen representatives Dan Gealt, George Nelson and Patricia Crayford.

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