Women, Erotic Literature and Aging

Young Man Hiding Red Roses Behind His Back

“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help.”  – Laura Esquival, Like Water for Chocolate

The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has sold over 100 million copies, many to women over the age of 55. I think I am the only one of my boomer friends who has not read the book. However, after reading an article in the March/April 2014 issue of The Taos Institute of Positive Aging Newsletter, I just might revisit my reading list. Here’s why.

A team of Columbian researchers conducted a study that suggested reading erotic literature has a special power to enliven adults over 65!

According to these researchers, reading and discussing erotic literature had a positive effect on mood and overall wellbeing. During the yearlong study, adults over 65 gathered every 15 days in a university course to discuss the books they were reading from a list of suggested books that included Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence and similar books with strong erotic passages and themes.

The vast majority of the readers were women. Before the yearlong meetings, the women were evaluated on cognitive skills – including attention, memory, and narrative skills. At the end of the study, these diverse capacities had become stronger than before. The literature encouraged the group to share their own stories of romance, to express interest in others’ views and experiences, and to create an uplifting and light hearted atmosphere. Fewer participants expressed depressive thoughts at the end of the course.

Agree or disagree?  Have you read any erotic literature lately? What kind of impact did it have on you?