Sex After Sixty

If you don't believe that there is sex after sixty, even seventy and eighty, just read the medical books. They will tell you that, yes, there is; perhaps a tiny bit less often, a smidgen less hot, but it will be there for both of you, all of us, forever, so to speak. Unfortunately, these books were written by people in their thirties and forties fantasizing about their own futures.

When a man tells me he's run out of steam in the sex department,
I'll tell him, 'Count your blessings; you've escaped
from the clutches of a cruel tyrant. Enjoy!'
-- RICHARD J. NEEDHAM

In the beginning of a close relationship, sex is about organs and glands and positions and where to put what because in the early going, love is all about sex. Much later on, sex is all about love.

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.
-- ANON.

With the advent of the pill that promises erections till the end of time, it seems the song writers may have been right all along: the secret of true love is the right chemistry. And this pill can make the chemistry right even when it's wrong. But, though Viagra does indeed work, the picture may not really be quite so rosy as the general public has been led to believe. A great deal depends on the general health of both the partners, and poor general health in later life is all too common. It only takes one ill partner to halt marital sexual intercourse, pill or no pill.

Is Sex Necessary?
-- E. B. WHITE/JAMES THURBER, book title (1929)

Is over-the-hill impotence a medical problem that really needed solving? Should insurance companies pay for Viagra and other prescriptions designed to cure impotence by age? No question that sex is the primary human distraction. The phrase, "It's better than sex," really means nothing is better, at least nothing brings such immediate gratification, such powerful physical satisfaction. No one over sixty wants to quit eating. Food is good. So is a cool drink on a beautiful day with trees rustling in a light wind. So is sex. Bottom line: We all want to live as complete beings for as long as possible. A continuing sex life is one of the human components that makes us complete.

When I was 19, I desired 19-year-old women.
Now that I am 95, I still desire 19-year-old women.
-- attributed to GEORGE BURNS (1896-1996)


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In marriages that have lasted forty or more years the partners have not only grown used to one another, they have grown old together. Some people are able to deal with this situation with a combination of love, pride and devotion. Others see it as a developing nightmare.

Can lovers who fell for one another in their early twenties when they were vigorous, youthful and sexy, remain lovers in their sixties, seventies or beyond when so much has changed? Answer is, some can, some can't. For those who can, the rewards are considerable and when the inevitable happens and death forces separation upon them, the surviving partner will find much solace in the knowledge that their union endured, overcame, persevered to the end. Those who break up and take up with new, younger partners may enjoy a brief euphoric interlude, but are still left to face the eventual limits of their own mortality.

Use it or lose it.
-- ANON.

The doctor carefully explained erection options to his impotent heart patient who could not take Viagra. There could be surgery to insert either an inflatable or a semi-stiff device into his penis, both promising to make intercourse possible without a normal erection. He could give himself an injection if his fear of needles didn't exceed his desire for intercourse. Or, he could insert a tiny capsule an inch or so into his penis to work its wonders but with probable side effects similar to a sharp kick in the groin. But the cure the doctor most highly recommended was a $400-plus plastic pump. The male inserts his penis into a tube and he or his partner pumps to create a vacuum which should cause an erection. A ring is then placed around the base of the hopefully now stiff penis and the contraption is removed. This really works, the doctor will assure him, handing over a quite graphic color brochure. But what the doctor will probably not tell the man is that by simply rolling on an ordinary, everyday condom he can likely get the same results at a very low cost.

Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?
-- WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Henry IV Part II (1598)

One of the most wonderful things about latter life lovemaking is that foreplay can last up to a month. "Speedy" Gonzales must have been a young man because there's is no such thing as a quickie past the age of seventy.

Lover, Come Back To Me
-- OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II, song title (1928)

Love doesn't end with sex. Love is more enduring than sex. Love is purer than sex. When it's going right, sex is the bonus part of love. When it's over, sex is the shared memory that makes love continue to be special. While sexual intercourse may cease, sex itself lingers in the mind and body so that lovers remain lovers until the end.


Loving Life After SixtyThis article is excerpted with permission from:

Loving Life after Sixty
by Tom Paugh.

©2000. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Willow Creek Press. http://www.willowcreekpress.com

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About the Author

Tom Paugh was editor-in-chief of Sports Afield magazine from 1977 to 1994, when he retired. A graduate of Colgate University, he has been a USAF intelligence officer, a newspaper reporter, magazine columnist and feature writer, professional outdoor photographer and watercolor artist. In March, 1999 he turned 70 and he continues to write, paint and photograph. Along with Anne, his wife of 45 years, he divides his time between south Florida and northern Virginia.

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