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The Joy of Later Life Sex: Rankin and Relate's Collaboration

Renowned Scottish photographer, Rankin, has teamed up with Relate, the UK's largest relationship support provider, to help reduce the stigma related to later life sexuality. Shot with a stark black and white style, Rankin and Relate have produced something quite special.

What Relate Is All About

Relate's self-described platform is to ensure that healthy relationships become a priority in government and beyond. Based on new research, it would seem that "there is a notion that older people shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t want to have sex and be intimate." Less than 20% of people in the UK think that the broader community is okay talking about sex and intimacy in people over 60. Even fewer, less than 10%, think that the community is comfortable talking about sex in people over 65. These opinions seem to be confirmed by the fact that 67% of people over 65 believe that sex and intimacy for their age group is rarely or never represented in media compared with only 20% of 18 to 24-year-olds. The gulf between these impressions is staggering. Which is why Relate hired Rankin to shoot their new Let’s Talk the Joy of Later Life Sex campaign.

...exploring everything from long-term love to new adventures, tender intimacy to the more risqué.

The branding video for Relate put together by Ogilvy UK:

The Relate campaign's work with Rankin is designed to champion the importance of sex and intimacy in later life, exploring everything from long-term love to new adventures, tender intimacy to the more risqué.

Rankin's Involvement

As an in-demand photographer, Rankin decided to offer his services pro bono because he believes in Relate's approach and goals:

The simple fact is that we all need intimacy now more than ever — and age, of course, really is just a number. The greatness of love and affection — the very things we can’t stop writing books, films, and pop songs about — doesn’t need to change as we find our later years. This campaign sets out to break convention, and that’s what it did, both before and behind the camera.

There are more than enough fashion or pseudo-documentary campaigns that show intimacy. Typically, these campaigns use young, supple, and toned models. Seeing the images that Rankin has produced certainly offers a broader more inclusive version of what sex looks like.

Intimacy shot in a way that isn't voyeuristic is exceptionally hard to do. It seems Rankin has found a way to document intimacy without being just a voyeur, instead being a documentarian.

All images provided courtesy of Relate and Rankin.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Mark is a Toronto based commercial photographer and world traveller who gave up the glamorous life of big law to take pictures for a living.

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