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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.'"

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