"To anybody who wants this sort of arangement to work, guidelines and boundaries
must be set and adhered too". - Susan
|Anne Hunter with partner Peter Haydon, right, and friend James Dominguez.|
Boomers With Benefits: A Free Love Revolution With No Rings Attached
She also has about six or seven "intimates" like James Dominguez; friends of all genders she might have sex with, or just "jump into bed naked together and cuddle".
Some she sees rarely, others live nearby and they catch up often.
But when Hunter fills in her relationship status on forms she describes herself as single.
A qualified counsellor, she lives alone in a West Brunswick apartment and is financially independent.
Research on baby boomers like Hunter who have "friends with benefits" will be presented at the Let's Talk About Sex conference in Melbourne on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Conference speakers plan to challenge the assumptions and stereotypes about older people and sexual intimacy, in an event organised by Alzheimers Australia and the Council on the Ageing.
La Trobe University researcher Dr Linda Kirkman did her thesis on rural baby boomers in "friends with benefits" relationships.
Her interviewees had sexual relationships that were ongoing but didn't consider themselves in a couple or share finances, she said.
She found many desired sexual pleasure and intimacy but didn't want the ties, financial entanglements and commitments of the relationships - often marriages - in their younger life.
Some of the people she interviewed were hippies in their youth and influenced by books like Robert Heinlein's free-love classic Stranger in a Strange Land, while others regarded sex as frightening or taboo when young but hungered for a richer sex life as they aged.
"Several of the people I spoke to said they were having the best sex of their lives. As a young person they hadn't understood about mutual pleasure...but now there is greater social acceptance that sex can be something to be enjoyed," Dr Kirkman said.