http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6908932^421,00.htmlOlder women urged to become lesbians
By Nikki Voss and Nicole Cox
August 10, 2003
AUSTRALIA'S leading relationship counselling body is urging lonely older
single women to become lesbians.
Relationships Australia spokesman Jack Carney said men's shorter life spans,
and their pursuit of much younger women, meant women in their twilight years
were often forced to turn to other women for love and companionship.
Mr Carney said the government-funded support group encouraged older women to
explore lesbian relationships, which were seen as more nurturing and
Older women were even pooling their resources to buy property and making
pacts to form couples if they did not find a male partner by a certain age,
"As they get over 60, opportunities to get a man diminish substantially. Men
marry younger women and they die about eight years younger, so there is a
real male shortage," Mr Carney said.
"And as women get even older it gets much worse, so we ask them to entertain
the idea of lesbian relationships."
Australian Pensioner and Superannuants League secretary Yvonne Zardini said
she was aware of more women moving in together in old age.
"You notice it more where women are sharing houses, but I never ask exactly
what the nature of their arrangements are, but it wouldn't surprise me (if
they were in same-sex relationships). Loneliness can be a terrible thing
when you are older," she said.
Myra Flynn, from support group Older Dykes, said some older women
"defaulted" to lesbian relationships because of a lack of men.
Others had struck up relationships with men in the 1950s and 60s only
because they could not be open about their sexuality, or they wanted a
"It's becoming more common and I've noticed a growing trend in bisexuality,"
The Matrix Guild, a Victorian support group for lesbian women aged over 40,
refused to comment on the Relationships Australia advice.
Census 2001 statistics show older members of society are adopting the
divorce trend and are leaving life-long partners, some even in their 80s.
Mr Carney said that despite the encouragement for women to "explore other
options", married and miserable was still better than alone and free, unless
there was abuse.
"The best thing you can do is stay married if you want to live longer," Mr
"When I talk to other counsellors, they are seeing many more older people
coming in, but we try to tell them to stick with it. Divorce is like
Founded in 1948 as the Marriage Guidance Council, Relationships Australia is
a non-profit counselling organisation funded by both the Federal and State
In response to the pensioner stampede to the divorce courts, Relationships
Australia has launched two courses on how to start again in relationships in
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