A PARALLEL UNIVERSE?
W. and J. D. from Leipzig, Germany:
Let me first say that we've been married for 51 years, so we aren't exactly prudes. We've read your books,
Seasoned Romance, and quite frankly we are wondering if the people featured in your books live in a parallel
universe to ours. We don't have that much sex anymore, and we don't know anyone in our age group who would
be willing to share what we read. Is there something wrong with us? Or are we in the majority?
Jeoffrey and Renée:
Whether you are in the majority depends upon your age. Studies show that a clear
majority of men and women age 45 and up say a satisfying sexual relationship is
important to the quality of life. Among 45- to 59-year-olds with sexual partners, over
55 percent said they had sexual intercourse once a week or more. Among 60- to 70-
year-olds with partners, 46 percent of men and 38 percent of women have sex at
least once a week, as did 34 percent of those 70 or older. For 75- to 85-year-olds,
nearly 40 percent of men are sexually active, versus less than 20 percent of women.
What's the difference? Maybe it has something to do with your reference to a
"parallel universe" in the sense that there are clear differences in the seasoned
seniors who report a greater frequency of sexual activities as well as a higher level
of romantic satisfaction.
One of the most marked differences seems directly connected to overall physical
fitness, exercise and good eating habits, regardless of age. Another is attitude.
Faith is important.
The availability of a sexual partner is important, especially when trust and
commitment are involved, but many of the most sexually satisfied people we have
interviewed through the years, both males and females, use self-pleasuring
techniques, either individually or together as a couple.
So is there something wrong with you? That's a question that only you can answer.
Some couples your age are truly happy with little or no sex. Others can't wait for the
next time they can hop in the sack and begin "making whoopee," as the old Eddie
Cantor song talks about. It largely comes down to choices and what you are
One of the most rewarding parts of editing the Seasoned Romance book series and working with our web team
on this site is that we get questions like yours. Those questions often open the discussion to making different
Thank you for your letter. We wish you romance, however you define and practice it!
J.D. from Atlanta, GA:
I'm 55 years old. I'd love to say that I have a romantic life like the ones in Seasoned Romance, but nothing could
be further from the truth.
My wife of nearly 25 years loves me, I know. I love her for sure. But sex has lately become more of a "wifely duty"
than something pleasurable for her. Once we get going, she usually has a good time, as do I. Almost every time
she has at least one climax.
You'd think she would be raring to go the next time, but nothing seems to change, no matter how good it was
the time before.
It's just getting it started that's the problem. What am I supposed to do when she rolls her eyes and says, "Okay,
but let's get it over with?" I'd almost rather not do anything when she cops that kind of attitude. Almost!
There are no magic answers, especially with the frustration and resentment both of you have built up. However,
we do have a few suggestions.
Believe it or not, many women who say they have no libido are actually able to become physically aroused and
have orgasms without much difficulty. What they do find difficult, and sometimes even impossible, is to feel any
passion or any desire for sex beforehand.
If your wife hasn't had a complete physical, suggest lovingly that you'd like for both of you to get a thorough
exam. Her lack of desire could likely be caused by a change in hormones or some other medical reason.
If there is no apparent medical reason for the changes she is experiencing, we would suggest a counselor,
especially if you can find one who specializes in sexual problems. If your wife refuses, go by yourself. If she asks
why, say something like this, "I love you deeply, but I sometimes feel frustrated. Mainly I want to things to be
better for both of us."
In the meantime, offer a back rub, bring her flowers, buy or make a romantic and meaningful card−all with no
sexual strings attached. Many women believe, often because of years of experience, that the only time her man
does something nice is because he wants to jump right into the sack. Read Chapter 9 of Seasoned Romance,
Book 1, for a complete list of being more romantic as a man.
And if you think this is a challenge that only men face, keep reading...
AM I WRONG FOR WANTING MORE?
E.M. from Melbourne, Australia:
I'm at my wit's end. My husband and I always had pretty
good sexual relations until a couple of years ago. When
he turned 60, it was almost like he flipped a switch and
no longer wants to be intimate.
There's no way I would cheat on him. Nor would I leave
him. I truly love him and know that he loves me. But he
just clams up when I try to talk to him about it. A couple
of times he actually said, "That's for younger people.
Get over it." I don't think he's cheating on me. He just
simply seems uninterested in sex.
Sure, I have a vibrator. I can satisfy myself. But it's not
the same. Is there something wrong with me?
I guess I was willing to accept things as they were until I read your Seasoned Romance book, and I found myself
asking again and again, "If people older than us can make it work and have wonderful lovemaking experiences,
why can't we?"
Am I wrong at wanting more at 54?
In a word: No! Two words: Absolutely not!
We began the Seasoned Romance book series project as a tribute to the many couples and individuals over 55
who found a way to experience romance, regardless of their age. Many of the people we interviewed for other
research projects astounded us by saying, "It's better than ever. Different, but definitely better."
As we conducted the interviews that eventually inspired the book series, we kept hearing the phrase, "The most
important sexual organ is between your ears."
And that may be the problem with your husband. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps it is physical, and a
complete medical examination may help uncover the underlying problems. Perhaps it is a new medicine (or
combination) he is taking that is causing the lack of libido. There are many medical reasons for decreased
desire, but there are an equal number of answers if he is willing to explore them.
Along with the physical reasons, there are can be numerous "between the ears" causes.
It is devastating, sometimes, for a man as he gets older who can't get an erection like he did when he was 18.
Rather than discuss it or deal with it, he simply clams up, as you described. The next time it happens, it
reinforces all the lame jokes he's heard about "It's always the first thing to go!" What a crock, but men believe it,
especially when a failure or two eventually leads to a full-blown case of performance anxiety.
As mentioned, there may be any number of reasons for what has happened to your husband. A good counselor
may be able to help him get these out in the open. Your patience is invaluable.
In the meantime, seek to be romantic with no pressure. Say, "I love you just for what you mean to me right now."
Tell him how much you enjoy his kisses. Share what he does for you and how often you think him.
Get creative, especially as you discover more about what is causing his change in behavior.
And if your romantic affirmations have the effect you desire, understand that some things inevitably change. Be
aware that a man needs more pressure and stroking before he gets as aroused as before. If both of you are
comfortable with oral sex, ask what he likes best and do it with gusto. Hopefully he will reciprocate, but whether
he does or not, enjoy it.
You have a lot of years invested in your marriage. You have a good foundation. Seek ways to build on that
foundation instead of watching it deteriorate.
And in the meantime, keep your vibrator handy and perhaps add a dildo to keep your vaginal tissues flexible.
Spend time affirming your own positive traits. Treat yourself to bubble baths. And please don't allow yourself to
feel guilty for giving yourself pleasure! You deserve it.
Hopefully he will come to understand, sooner rather than later, that he deserves romance, too!
A WILD MAN IN BED
A.R. from Idaho:
Thanks a lot! My husband of nearly 50 years has turned into a wild man in bed, and I have you to thank. He is 77,
used to be content to sit in his chair and watch television, and pretty much take naps a lot. I made the mistake of
ordering Seasoned Romance, Book 1, and I thought I hid it where he couldn't find it. He found it. Our life hasn't
been the same since then. Okay, I'll admit that I like all the attention I've been receiving, and it's wonderful for
him to be so concerned about foreplay and my pleasure...something he never was into before. But it's just too
much. He wants to rock ` roll maybe 2-3 times a week, and sometimes he asks me for oral sex in-between. The
man has gone completely off his rocker! Worse, the past two months, he's started a new fitness program and has
lost 16 pounds. Plus, he's taking injections, herbs and vitamins to enhance his testosterone, which is already
over 500, for heaven's sake? Okay, I'll admit that he looks hunky and he's better at lovemaking than in decades,
but where does it end? I'm afraid he's gonna start wanting it even more. Help!
Jeoffrey and Renée:
Help us out. Is your email tongue-in-cheek? If so, we are giving you a standing ovation at this very moment,
which is hard to do while typing!
If not, do you have any idea how many women of any age would love to be in your shoes right now? More to the
point, do you know how many women would be thrilled to slide between the sheets with a fit, hunky,
testosterone-fueled seasoned lover who is "concerned about foreplay" and your pleasure?
Count your blessings!
If you are serious about not wanting sex as much, communicate tactfully with him the reasons why after telling
him all the positive things you wrote about him.
There are many reasons why more intercourse is not pleasurable or desired. A lack of lubrication is one of the
biggies. Another is vaginal atrophy, also called atrophic vaginitis, which involves thinning, drying and
inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a woman's body having less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most
often after menopause, but it can also develop any other time if your body's estrogen production declines.
For many women, vaginal atrophy makes intercourse painful or less desirable. When that happens, your interest
in sex often decreases.
If this is the case with you, know that there are simple, often-effective treatments for vaginal atrophy. Seek an
obstetricians and/or gynecologists who is sensitive to the issues of aging.
Reduced estrogen levels result in changes to your body, but it doesn't mean you have to live with the
discomfort of vaginal atrophy.
Another point worth mentioning: Regular sexual activity, either with or without a partner, has been shown to
help prevent vaginal atrophy. Sexual activity increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep vaginal
Look at it this way...consider that hunky, horny husband of yours to be your own personal and delightful therapy
to keep you healthy, sexy and happy for years to come!
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