Sex, Lies, and The Villages

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.

An excerpt:

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.

Related: This article will give you a better idea of what single life in The Villages is really like.

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?

Absolutely.

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.

34 thoughts on “Sex, Lies, and The Villages”

  1. Wendy Quattlebaum

    I have a better one than that!! My daughter-in-law has a friend who’s mother recently moved to The Villages. Her mother told her that the people meet at Katie Belles a! nd “swap keys”! Now I’ve been to Katie Belles a few dozen times and have not seen this going on. If they are going to be “swapping keys” I guess there is a reason that no one has ever offered to “swap” with me!! LOL

    1. 80% of us drive yamaha golf carts with a universal key that would start any of them. That is the funniest part of this lie, is that the person making it up story doesn’t know this simple fact. About twice a year the village-new will have a story of someone taking the wrong cart home from a square by accident 😁

    2. I’m not sure what the big deal is. It’s not like you get an STD from going to the store or a restaurant. An STD isn’t going to chase you down the street. STD’s are preventable. Don’t participate in an activity that will lead to one without protection.

  2. Very interesting column, people have feelings whether young or older… ..Using protection would help greatly, but I just can’t imagine The Villalges having any more problems with STD than any other retirement or non retirement community…Thanks for enlightening us on this topic…Tina

  3. I remember visiting my father down at the Villages, I arrive from the west coast. I was behind 3 hrs. and couldn’t sleep, I put on the local radio and start
    ed picking up community annoucements at 2AM, I was floored when I heard someone advertise joining an alternative life style group, you fill in the blanks!

  4. The Villages Man

    sex , sex & more sex , it’s gonna happen anywhere in the USA , people are just saying things because of a rumor , this can happen any where.
    So to point out the friendleist hometown is wrong , Keep it in your pants

  5. Living the dream

    Debbie…….another rumor monger. There is absolutely no truth to a statistically higher rate of STIs in The Villages. So says my urologist who is a staff physician at The Villages Regional Hospital as well as Leesburg Regional Medical Center.

  6. I can add a little to the source of the gynecologist who quoted her statistics as compared to Miami. She was my gynecologist and upon arriving for my yearly checkup, I found her office doors locked. She just packed up and left (maybe back to Miami) and took all of her patient’s records and didn’t even bother to let us know. Now base tests have to be redone and my trust in her advice is zero!

    1. I think this particular statistic is over emphasized. I have lived in the villages since 2006 and have never encountered it ever. I’ve always felt the actual data would disprove the hype. There are a lot of rumors that come with living here, some silly and unbelievable. If you want the truth look at the data from the health department. That should provide evidence for this issue.

  7. I have lived in The Villages for 12 years. According to the local health department, the STD”s have not gone up even 1%.( I’m a retired RN. This stuff has to be reported) There is a lot of “hooking up” going an here, but most of us grew up during the “hippie” generation, so what’s new!!! That Gyn. MD was an idiot. She couldn’t tell a hemorrhoid from a surgical scar. I saw her just once! That was 1 time too many. I’m married and have been for 47 years to the same man. There are a lot of us too. I love this place and laugh when people “outside” the community as about the STD”s. Just how dumb do they think we seniors are. “Don’t throw stones unless you want them thrown back!”
    And just whom elected the present administration?—– young people. Learn anything????

  8. To Suzanne Kuebler – Great observations! After reading a lot about this, I trust what you have said today! I am going to the Villages for the first time tomorrow with a friend and had heard nothing about this rumor until today! I have heard only great things about the activities, and music, and, of course, the golf! I am putting my trust in you, Suzanne, you make a lot of sense..especially in your closing remarks.

  9. My minister told me about all these STD’s when I told him I, too, was going to visit THE VILLAGES.
    Well, if any one touches me, they better know not to touch a woman when the hormones are out of sink if they know what’s good for them. I am not interested in any man hovering over me. I have been there, done that! I am hoping it’s a nice place to live but I want to rent there first for a week.

  10. And…the 10:1 woman to man ratio that is reported. How stupid (or malicious) are these so called journalists?! That would mean 91,000 women and 9,000 men. And these (so called) journalists are stupid enough to publish pictures at the squares and Katie Belles which clearly show more or less equal women:men ratios. Certainly not 10:1, not even 2:1. They say one thing and publish evidence to the contrary, AND … the young readers are naive enough to believe it!
    Is this country in trouble or what? By the way: come here and visit. You will see why it is the fastest growing city in the country!
    And oh, by the way: the sex scandals that have been published – sex on the square and on the utility box. Three of those four participants were between 40 and 47 years of age. Not exactly retirees (unless they’re free–loaders.

  11. You are very right Ken Peters! The sensationalism in these articles is appalling. If you look at the census numbers for The Villages it’s around 46% male to 53% female, you don’t have to be good at math to see that’s pretty much a 1 to 1 ratio. A fine example of stories being written with absolutely no research or facts to back it up, and then other “fine journalists” recycling the so-called facts for their own stories. Really illustrates the loss of integrity in journalism–it’s such a shame. A little research goes a long way for those who actually care about the truth. All we can do when people spread these rumors is encourage them to go online and look at the census, STD rates and male to female ratios are easily found online, and quickly put those rumors to rest with hard facts.

  12. how disappointing that its only rumors. i guess i’ll stay in venice, florida then where the geezers are. they say the old people live in miami and their parents live in venice and i think its a fact. there hasn’t been a case of a STD here in 30 years except maybe an occasional illegal gardner might have had an issue that he brought in. i guess there just isn’t a utopia for us older than 65 yrs. oh well. got my heart pumping seriously for a moment!

  13. Donald caldwell

    I am 45 and would love to meet a woman of substance and who still enjoys sex past 50. So what if these people want to enjoy themselves, there is enough pain and bad news in the world already. Let them be and stay positive, and sexy.

  14. Who cares? I mean, I do care about people catching STDs, but I would hope by the time people reach retirement age, we’d have learned how to prevent them. All this hoopla is symptomatic of the American giggle/whisper attitude toward sex. It’s not a shameful secret. Humans are sexual beings, and many of us continue to enjoy sex well into old age. At the Villages, like everywhere else, people who want to hook up, will. People who don’t, won’t. Whatever floats your boat. Live and let live. Et centers. If I wanted to live in the Villages, I’d be way more concerned about sinkholes than STDs.

  15. Your postings of purity did take some of the fantasy away… LOL.. We are coming to look around the Villages next month so we will see for ourselves… Fred and Wilma and Dino

  16. Richard Champagne

    I just got from spending 2 months in The Villages, with my wife, and I had a great time. My wife was homesick the first month but then got adjusted to the roundabouts and the happy hours. In my observation from using the fitness centers and neighborhood pool I could see no real concern about there being any case of STD. Most of the residents are past the age of being able to transfer a case of STD. With up to 20% of the residents being under the age of 55 there maybe a small number of STD . I do agree that the male to female ratio is on the side of the female residents. Great place, even if you are not a golfer.

  17. I have lived in The Villages for 15 years.

    I am unable to confirm or deny the statistics.

    BUT I have seen and heard some things first hand that would make me believe otherwise.

    Truth is, these retirees move seasonally up and down from their state. More often than not, I hear Michigan and occasionally New York and D.C.

    Those stats could be from home state and no one would ever know.

    The key parties exist, sorry to say. I worked at a local gym and the “locker room” talk is real. Some of those guys stay in there for hours like it’s a social club. They do love the Sauna.

    The key swapping generally do not happen in public.

    Also, they do have a code.

    Pay close attention when you are driving around The Villages. Look at other vehicles and Golf Carts. Some will have Loofahs attached to them (hope im spelling that right)

    That signals they are open to those “extra curricular” activities. Not sure if the colors mean anything specific.

    Think of the way they advertised too.

    Friendliest Adult 55+ retirment community.

    We know it’s for Adults. Its 55+.

    I’m not saying everyone partakes, but believe me, when you have worked in private environments with them, you hear shit and it goes deeper than just sex and “Viagra dealing”

    My thing is, to whoever is in a monogamous relationship, why does this concern you?

    For folks like you, this is still a great place to retire. No one will hassle you if you dont want to partake. They still have good entertainment, restaurants, gyms and more.

    Just have fun and mind your own, and life here is peachy 👍

    1. Jay: If, as you say, you have lived in The Villages for 15 years, you would be aware of the fact that loofahs (or anything else, for that matter) are tied to the roof of a vehicle so the owner can find their car in a parking lot. Perhaps you have not noticed but white SUVs (unlike STDs) run rampant here in parking lots; old people need to flag their ride vs. wandering about in the sun searching for their “hook up:!

  18. This was an interesting article and I read all the reviews. It seems like a nice place to retire. I hope to visit my friend soon and check out this retirement venue. Enjoy your life in every way possible. Thanks for teaching me about the Villages.

    A visitor from the East.

  19. I just visited the Villages at Brownwood.
    Looked great to me. I loved the atmosphere, upbeat and positive. Gives one a optimistic look at what future years could hold. All of it.
    It’s always great to see people enjoying life…

  20. My husband and I (both 55), just got back from spending 4 months “working from home” in the Villages. We were SO surprised by how much we both loved it!! Seriously, friendly people, clean and new and no pot holes! Music every night at Edna’s, miles of waking trails, sports, the list is a mile long!
    Our only complaint is, we can’t go back until next year. I’d retire and move there immediately if I could.

  21. I was planning on moving to the Villages, but the STD issues, which have been around for a while, were a factor in my decision not to buy, along with other issues. I don’t think this is made up. Of course there are going to be STDs, especially in a community of this size!

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