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
Restarting Stalled Sexual Energy continued...
"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.
"If we are not sick and debilitated by whatever is getting
to us in our old age, then there is no reason we shouldn't be feeling good
about ourselves sexually and think of ourselves as potentially being attractive
to others," Blank says. "Self-image is a really important part of it.
If my self-image is good,
I can at least think about being attractive. I don't have any
difficulty telling a sex partner that I have problems with some things about my
body and don't feel comfortable taking all my clothes off."
Once self-esteem is better, a person can begin to explore his
or her newfound sexuality. Blank and Bortz each recommend masturbation -- for
both men and women -- as a good starting point.
Steps to Better Sex for the Older Woman
Not surprisingly, maintaining sexual function is different for
men and women.
"Men are mostly concerned about erections," Bortz says.
"For women, the concern is opportunity."
"I was on an airplane sitting next to a 90-year-old woman
and she said, 'What do you do' and I told her I was a gerontologist with an
interest in impotence," Morley recalls. "She got more and more
interested in what I was telling her, and she said, 'Well, you must have a big
clinic of men. So the next time you fix one, give him my card.'"