Ok…note to children, siblings, and father…yep, I am going there. SPOILER ALERT – people over sixty are human. So, if you want to maintain that Saint Celibate view of me, then PUT YOUR HANDS UP, DROP THE MOUSE, AND SLOWLY BACK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.
Alright, are they gone?
Let’s give them just a couple of more seconds…okay we are now safe to discuss without eye rolls, sighs, gasps, and pleas to stop.
Why is it that the idea that our parents actually engaged in sexual relations so abhorrent? Growing up in a family of nine children should have been a very big clue that my parents, indeed, had a physical relationship, as every happy union should. But the mere thought of parents actually “getting it on” to a Marvin Gaye vibe was enough to bring on adolescent looks of panic or disgust.
But I am so over that. Sex is a natural, wonderful part of life. People have a relationship with sex, just as they have a relationship with people. Sometimes you adore it (oh yeah, baby!), sometime you avoid it (Really? Now? Come on, I just wanted to lie down and read my magazine in peace!); sometimes you fight it (No! No means No! GAWD STOP!). But it is a relationship worth treasuring, pampering, and saving.
So why is it that sex after sixty is not readily discussed? Is it truly expected that we give up sex as we live longer? According to life expectancy charts, in 1911 the average age that women were expected to live was 66. So maybe then a 6-year lull was okay, after all, at that time family size was greater so those women must have been bone tired (if you know what I mean…). The average life expectancy in 2011 was 81 for women and 76 for men. Now really, do we not want, nay need, (I know, some would disagree, and that is perfectly okay) to “get some of that” for the next 21 years?? Heck, women can get their well-deserved break in the last 5 years of their lives – if they want to. Therefore, we should not be ashamed to discuss how to maintain a fulfilling sexual life while dealing with the physical changes that come with the baby boomer generation living longer.
Aww the BABY BOOMERS… We were the generation of free love, mini skirts, the birth control pill, the sexual revolution, and utopian socialist communes. Our bookshelves not only contain The Joy of Cooking, but also The Joy of Sex. Who needed Fifty Shades of Grey when we had Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying? And we had (and still have) Dr. Ruth with her infectious laugh and crisp German accent espousing the virtues of vigorous sex.
Yet, we are rapidly becoming a generation of expensive little blue pills (or yellow, or orange – not trying to endorse anything here), arthritic aches, bionic organs, mechanical joints, and post-menopausal parts (yes I am talking about the big V). Living longer does present some interesting challenges and can give new meaning to Christian Grey’s red room of pain.
So…let’s deal with it, why don’t we. Seniors (boy I really cannot relate to that word)…People of age (better) really do have sex. I do not purport to be an expert in sex. I am just a sexagenarian who has come to realize that it just doesn’t happen as easily anymore.
The lamentable libido…
We have endured decades of waxing on and waxing off in terms of sex drive.
…our libidinous (pre child bearing) twenties – wax on
…our fatigue-filled (child bearing, child rearing) thirties – wax on, wax off wax on
…our healthy-hormone but life-stressed (child college funding) forties – wax off, wax on, wax off
…our menopause and ”manopause” (empty nester) fifties – wax off
What would Mr. Miyogi say about the sixties? Oy vey
This is what I say about the sixties – men still think about sex all the time, and women still do not. The problem appears to be more related to “striking while the iron is hot” so to say. That can be a challenge when the sexagenarian man can suffer with…lets just say, short attention span…and the sexagenarian woman needs a bit more of the rom-com movie moves. Suffice it to say “You didn’t just have me at hello”.
My motto’s always been when it’s right it’s right…
Timing is everything. Prior to having children, anytime was a good time. Then it became after the kids went to sleep, or when the teenagers left the house for the evening (locked door just in case). Empty nesters experienced sex again like in their 20s. But after 60? Waiting until the evening can be fraught with potential for error.
…have had wine for dinner – while alcohol consumption may have loosened one up in earlier years, now it just increases the need for those little blue, yellow, or orange pills, or something herbal, like…and really, I am not making this up…the Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium).
…have had a stressful day – according to William Bortz, MD, in Sex Matters: Keeping Sex Alive for Life,“stress releases endorphins that mess with the sex hormones.”
…or just be plain exhausted from watching those grandchildren earlier – sex takes commitment.
The best time may be…in the beloved lyrics of Starland Vocal Band (and most recently, Ron Burgundy) – “Sky rockets in flight, afternoon delight.”
Let’s face it, our bodies change as we live longer. We have less muscle tone, more fat, grey hair in tucked away places, and hair follicles that are like an unruly animal that has escaped the herd and decided to graze on sides of ears, the middle of foreheads, the chin, the forearm. This can make a person feel less than attractive. The way to get over this? Look at your partner, same thing is happening there. Just sayin’…
Remember when The Golden Girls was a hit and we all felt “Wow, those old gals are funny”, well I am now one of those old gals. I bring this up because one particular scene cracked me up and then scared the bejesus out of me when I looked down on a mirror. The moral to this story…always lying down!
The Monty Python Circus Approach to Sex…
Size may not matter, but physical ability does. The sexagenarian couple has a lot to deal with when it comes to tripping the light fantastic.
Wanna do it?
Gee, how romantic, but um, okay…
Wait, wait, give me a bit of time there, Quick Draw!
I told you, I have to strike while the iron is hot…
I stopped ironing a long time ago!
Wait, we can’t do it that way, it kills my knees…
Whoa, uh-uh, my Cirque de Soleil days are long past.
Okay, that’s better.
Um, need one more thing…
Would you mind getting that economy size bottle of lotion, please?
Why is the dog on the bed???
How is that?
Oh, baby, oh…
Could you put the dog out of the room?
Okay, I need to move, you know my knees…
Blood is rushing to my head anyway…
Yeah! OUCH, OUCH, OUCH – CHARLIE HORSE!
Crap! Walk it off. Need me to rub it?
Okay, you are back…
Oooh yes, you ARE back…
Owww, my back!
Okay, let’s try this…
Okay, yes, good
You ready??? You there???
Was it good for you? Was it good for you?
The dog must have enjoyed the show; he just gave me a kiss.
You Are Toying With Me…
Speaking again of a Marvin Gaye kind of vibe… let’s talk toys. At this time in our lives, it is okay to embrace technology! If toys help with intimacy, then what is the harm? Are you worried what you children might think if they come across something…well…perplexing to them? Then go the way of Al Gore and get a LOCKBOX!
If the adult children are having to go through your things because of the normal progression of aging – NOT living any longer, and you worry that they would be curious enough to open the Pandora’s box, then paste this note on the box:
Our dear children,
Your parents are human,
Do yourselves a favor,
Do not open…
Just throw this box away.
It is okay to walk into that adult store. You don’t need the guise of looking for a Halloween costume…or a gag gift for a wedding shower. You don’t need to state: “oh, isn’t this the party store?” Well, yes it is…
The clerks are trained to spot a newbie anyway and have a wonderfully open, no-nonsense, no embarrassment, how-can-I-help-you kind of customer service mentality. Believe me, they have heard it all. And ask questions. They are discreet.
Or, check out the products and purchase them online to prevent undue stress and embarrassment. Come on flower children of the sexual revolution!
Let’s get physical, physical…
Remember aerobicizing to the Olivia Newton John classic? Sparkly workout clothes and terry cloth headbands were supposed to make exercise fun. But guess what? Sex is fun. And sex is considered good exercise. Web MD lists the health benefits of sex and states that it burns 5 calories per minute. And since it takes us longer then when we were younger the aerobic benefit just keeps on coming.
So….DOES being a sexagenarian mean I can have more sex? Ohhh baby, YES!
That is my treatise on “Sex in the Sixties’. Carrie Bradshaw, watch out.
Okay, it is now safe to invite the faint at heart back in.
Oh, my husband just got home…Honey?…got a minute?
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