September 30, 2011
For more than a decade, Dianne Matthew has been conducting sex education programs for residents of gated senior communities in Boca Raton and Delray Beach. While delivering a serious message about STD prevention, Matthew uses humor to put the audience at ease: "I'll quote Mae West: She said, 'When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better.'"
"I use blatant language," but "I try to keep it funny," said Matthew, a licensed clinical social worker affiliated with South Palm Beach County's Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service. "They're not 12-year-old virgins."
Matthew said she warns attendees that she will use frank language to get her prevention messages across. At a recent program, two women left when she broached the topic of oral sex. "I give them facts, not judgments," she said. "What's normal? Norm is the name of some guy in Brooklyn."
"I say to them, 'You have to look out for yourself; you think because you can't get pregnant, you don't have to be careful,'" Matthew said. "I think, in general, most people are surprised [by the message]. They think it's not going to happen to them. Most of the women were married to one man for 40 years. In their minds, STDs are for prostitutes."
"People don't believe that people over 60 are having sex, but they're a very sexually active group, especially with Viagra," Matthew noted.