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Talking to the Boomer Women about Sex …

Posted on | December 9, 2010 | 1 Comment

…. means realizing she isn’t old

By Stephen Reily
The internet is full of double standards, but few are so glaring as that way it handles sex. At we regularly generate surveys, host conversations, and publish digital content about sexual health and the real sex lives led by Baby Boomer women. But no one wants to hear about it.

When we run press releases on our sex surveys, they are routinely censored by the major PR websites like Businesswire, which tell us that they would circulate releases about Boomer women being unhappy in bed, but not about how they manage to make things better. This might not seem laughable (or sad) if we didn’t live in a world where Viagra ads fill the evening news.

I used to assume that this double standard resulted solely from media companies that were happy to sell sex when it applied to the young (or to men) but not to women over 40.

I had to rethink that assumption when I saw NBCU recently release a survey that reinforced a positive message about Boomers and sex – but use an 82-year old spokesperson (Dr. Ruth Westheimer) to spread the word.

While I respect what Dr. Ruth has done to promote healthy conversations about sex, she is not a Boomer. Almost 20 years older than the oldest Boomer, she’s not even close.

That NBCU uses Dr. Ruth to talk about Boomers and sex suggests that even they survey itself is colored by a stereotype that thinks the average Boomer is old – really old – rather than 53 (which is in fact the age of the “average” Boomer woman).

Showing respect for Boomer women – and winning their business in a fast-growing space that includes pharmaceutical products, books, sex toys, and more – requires not just the willingness to talk about it, but the willingness to understand who she really is: the daughter Dr. Ruth had when she was 30.

Stephen Reily is founder and CEO of, the leading online community for Baby Boomer women. Based on Vibrant Nation’s insights and research on this important demographic, Stephen co-wrote (with Carol Orsborn, Ph.D.) of Vibrant Nation: What Boomer Women 50 Plus Know, Think, Do and Buy, the definitive guide for marketers trying to reach this important demographic. Contact him at and follow him at


One Response to “Talking to the Boomer Women about Sex …”

  1. William Casey
    December 10th, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

    Although I am a male, I completely agree with the comments above an am taking steps to improve my marketing to women.

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