I get questions from readers about this topic at least once a month, so I think its time to discuss some of the questions posed to me and put the issues to bed (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).
If nothing else, I’ll have a place to direct those who pose questions about this topic in the future.
Ryan – What is the truth and background to this article?
The article in question is titled “Retire to the Bedroom” by Stefanie Cohen posted January 25, 2009 by the New York Post.
Welcome to ground zero for geriatrics who are seriously getting it on.
It’s a Thursday night at one of a half-dozen hot spots at the 20,000-acre Central Florida complex called The Villages, the largest gated retirement community in America – and one of the most popular destinations for New Yorkers in their golden years – where the female-to-male ratio runs 10 to 1.
It’s a widower’s paradise, and the word on the street is that there’s a big black market for Viagra.
Keep in mind that this is from the New York Post, which has been criticized numerous times for “sensationalism”.
Mentioned in the article is the book Leisureville: Adventures in a World Without Children by Andrew Blechman. In the book, which many of you have read, Mr. Blechman follows a self-proclaimed “lady-killer” in The Villages he dubs “Mr. Midnight”.
Other questions related to this that I get a lot is on the issue of STD’s.
Ryan – One of my biggest concerns is that every time I mention The Villages to anyone I am told do you know that The Villages have the highest STD in the United States?
Let me share with you that it totally disgusts me regarding the statement!
But now my question is why do people say this all the time?
Is it true?
From another reader:
Ryan – … so many people “back home” bring a topic to our attention when we mention our interest in moving there. Apparently, The Villages has been noted as having (one of) the highest rates of STD in the country!! Although we would not plan to participate in furthering this statistic, we are certainly curious about the validity of this statistic and why. It doesn’t seem to be reflective of the impression that The Villages tries to make on creating a friendly (and healthy) environment for retiring Americans.
Back in 2006 a couple of local (Orlando area) news stations reported on the “increase in STD’s in The Villages.”
The one quote that most of the articles harp on is from a gynecologist who said that:
even in her years working in Miami, she has never seen so many cases.
The gynecologist later recanted this statement.
As far as the numbers/percentages are concerned, you can see for yourself on the Florida Department of Health website that the disease totals in all three counties that make up The Villages combine to be just a very small percentage of STD’s in the state.
And here’s a chart of new STD cases per 100,000 people aged 55+ in Sumter County vs. the state as a whole:
Any good statistician will tell you that you can make number say anything you want. You just have to put the right spin on them. The news media seems to be the absolute best at this.
Word about this stuff really
gets around travels fast because it’s far from what people expect to hear about life in a retirement community.
But just like everything else in life, you should take what I say and what anyone else says with a grain of salt until you can judge for yourself. I think if you were to personally speak with 99% of residents they would say that these issues don’t affect them at all. Either they are happily married, in a committed (monogamous) relationship, or just use plain old common sense (and protection) in their extra curricular activities.
I’m sure most people would agree that anytime you mix single adults and alcohol, things will happen. Yes, folks, even in The Villages. Do I think that most news articles and books sensationalize the issue for the sake of creating more page views and sales?
Sometimes people forget just how big The Villages is. 125,000+ people is not a small community by any stretch. Take just about any other city/town/community in the country of that size and I’m sure you will find that sex, drugs, alcohol are all available in certain quantities there too.
I think it just interests people more because these aren’t the kinds of activities you’d expect to hear retirees partaking in, even if its just a small percentage of the population. Everyone thinks a retirement community should be all lemonade and shuffle board. But these are real people you’re talking about. To my knowledge they are built and wired up the same way as people everywhere else.
I’m sure it can be a pain to have “people back home” bring this up and poke fun at your decision about where to retire. Try not to let it get to you. Just remember that it might be jealousy, because we as humans have a habit of if we can’t have something/don’t like something, we don’t want anybody else to have it/like it either.