Romance After 60
Seniors, when it comes to sex, use it or lose it, says a noted sex educator. 'You should continue to have good sex for the same reason you should continue to get good exercise: It's taking care of yourself,' she says. 'Do it whether you feel like it or no
Finding What Works for You continued...
"We don't necessarily get worse, but our physiology changes
as we get older," Bortz says.
"One myth to put aside is that sex equals intercourse,"
Blank says. "I call it the tyranny of sexual intercourse. Alternatives to
intercourse are not just for people who don't want to get pregnant or get a
disease. The most healthy thing is for people to put aside the idea that if
intercourse isn't working for you, you can't be sexual. Intercourse should
never be the goal. If some sexual activity is uncomfortable or doesn't work,
try something different."
"There are a wide range of sexual enjoyments that people
practice, and we as physicians should not assume that, because all we know is
the old missionary position, our patients are bad for liking other things,"
Morley says. "Our job as physicians is to facilitate and improve and
counsel where possible."
This may mean different things for different people.
"Wherever you are starting from, expand," Blank urges.
"My biggest pleasure is when I see somebody who has been really shut down
and helping them make baby steps toward changing their sex lives. We have
learned so much from people in the disability community. I know a quadriplegic
man who has no feeling below the neck, but he can have orgasms from having his
neck nuzzled. You adapt. For example, if your partner is very overweight, there
are a lot of things you can't do. So what? There are a lot of things you
can do. Find a way to enjoy yourself with whatever limitations you may
Restarting Stalled Sexual Energy
What can you do if your sexual pilot light has gone out? For
many people, the answer may be communication -- something that doesn't come in
a pill bottle.
"The worst sexual dysfunction in this country is our
inability to talk about sex," Blank says. "To make the leap from not
talking to talking is huge. People have to know they are not the only one who
is considering being sexual. They need to know that they can do it without any
risk to their health, and more importantly, with no risk to their self-esteem.
One of the problems with people who are now older is there is even less talk
about sex than there was before.
"The cure for the sexual problems and lack of interest in
older people is the same as it is for younger people," she continues.
"Get informed, and find a way to talk about it with somebody, not
necessarily a therapist but a friend or somebody. Screw up your courage and
talk to them."
Communication can also help overcome another problem -- feeling
that nobody will find your older body sexy.