Recently Kish and I have been receiving the AARP Bulletin. For the most part, it’s the kind of publication you’d expect from an organization that caters to senior citizens. This particular edition, for example, included an article about new Medicare scams taking advantage of the elderly, a how-to guide on 99 ways to save money and make that nest egg stretch farther, and an encouraging piece with the front-page teaser headline: “Study Looks At Brain Aging: Cognitive Decline Is Not Inevitable.” (Hooray!)
The ads, too, are about what you would expect — with one exception. In this edition, among the promotions for medical alert devices, walk-in showers, and life insurance, was a full-page ad entitled “Sex. It’s Never Too Late To Learn Something New.” Along with a picture of an amorous older couple, the text said “See for Yourself on Discreet Home Video” and “Real people demonstrating real sexual techniques.” (If so, how discreet can they be?)
Eh? Boy, that sounds suspiciously like porn, doesn’t it? In fact, the ad copy seems to make that point so clear that even a senior citizen on the cusp of cognitive decline could grasp it by adding: “Couples who watch together not only LEARN from what they see, but often report that the videos themselves are an ‘instant aphrodisiac.’ That’s because they show REAL couples (not actors) demonstrating the joys of REAL lovemaking.” The ad promises that if you order within the next seven days you can get 50 percent off three of the videos, plus another three videos free — so viewers can get really educated!
The world is a fast-changing place, and we just need to accept it. Even so, it’s weird to see AARP offering ad space to a company peddling senior citizen sextapes to the geriatric generation. And really, what distinguishes these video volumes from the more sordid efforts that appeal to prurient interests? The fact that it’s “REAL couples (not actors)” who are getting it on onscreen? The fact that the videos have clinical titles like “The Art of Sex Positions” rather than bad sex-related puns on Hollywood movie titles? Or the fact that the ads says the tapes are “recommended by leading doctors and therapists”? (What would qualify a particular physician as a “leading doctor” for this purpose, do you think?)
Who knows? Maybe the videos begin with a white coat wearing doctor, with a stethoscope draped around his neck, giving a little primer on anatomical matters that the sexed-up seniors have to endure before they can get to that ‘instant aphrodisiac.”