This Is What Sex Is Really Like After 70

The first frame of indie-porn director Erika Lust‘s new sex documentary, Soulsex, shows two clasped hands; one is amply freckled, and the other appears soft and delicate. The second frame shows an attractive, fresh-faced woman with a serene smile and gray hair. “He’s my best pal,” she says, patting her partner on the thigh. If you know how Lust’s sex docs work, then you know that after the interview portion of this piece, we’re going to see this couple have sex. True to form, about 12 minutes in, Annie Campbell, 71, and John Campbell, 72, are both naked, their arms and legs wrapped around each other.

They met in 2013 through an online dating site. Annie, who studied neuroscience at Oxford, ended up pursuing her true passion of documentary filmmaking, ultimately winning a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award; John has six children and is a retired oil and shipping businessman. They now teach courses like the Art and Science of Loving Relationships, and they have sex every day. “If we make it to 100, we’ll still be making love,” Annie tells me via Skype from the Canary Islands home she shares with John.

People Annie and John’s age are having plenty of sex — an October 2017 study by the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging reported that more than half (54 percent) of adults between 65 and 80 agreed that sex is important to their overall quality of life — but you wouldn’t know it.

Television sex scenes tend to feature teenagers and twentysomethings — an exception being Grace and Frankie, a show that broke ground by focusing on the dating lives of two single women in their 70s — and pornography is similarly youth-obsessed. “MILF” was the third most-searched term on Pornhub last year, but female performers in videos tagged “MILF” can be as young as 25, says Shira Tarrant, a professor and author who writes about sexuality and gender. Simply put, seniors are often left out of the sex conversation.

“There’s no series that really showcases that when you have that age and experience, there’s a tremendous amount of sexual power and sensuality that come with it,” says Bree Mills, who runs Gamma Film, one of the largest and most active porn production companies in Los Angeles. On December 19, she published the first episode in a series called Age & Beauty, featuring mature women, ages 45 and above.

Closeup Shot of John and Annie's hands

Courtesy of Erika Lust

This is why Annie and John wanted to work with Lust: They know a thing or two, and they want to share it. In an era when young people learn about sex through free online porn, where facials, anal, and one-off hookups are the norm, they could use a little encouragement to explore the slow, intentional sex that Annie and John call “soul sex.” We all could.

“I had climaxes and multiple climaxes and all those things with conventional sex, but this is so different,” says Annie, who started the practice just over a few years ago. Deep connection is the point, not an orgasm. “When you truly focus mindfully on your own sensations, you’re nurturing yourself, but, in a sense, that means you’re nurturing your partner.”

Their XConfessions film, Soulsex, will be released on March 14. Read more about the project in our conversation with Lust below.

ALLURE: What drew you to Annie and John?

ERIKA LUST: I find them to be two interesting people with a lot to say, and we have a lot to learn from their relationship. People need to start thinking a little more about this whole concept of slow sex, “soul sex” — mindfulness in your sexual experience. I had also wanted to shoot an older couple for years, but there are not many active people in pornography over the age of 35. There are not many Nina Hartleys.

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