My husband and I married in our 60s and are the loves of each other's lives. Although his diabetes prevented full sexual activity, with inventiveness we were able to be loving and satisfied. Now that we are 70, he still desires physical intimacy and is disappointed that I have zero sexual "twinges." I am not sure if it is because of my hypertension medicine. I hate to say I am just too old. Suggestions?
Dear Love of His Life,
You are not - and never will be - "just too old." Let's cancel out that concern immediately. Sex, in its limitless expression, will always be available to you. How? Simple: the "inventiveness" you and your husband have already found. It trumps all - even crutches, dentures, hunchbacks, arthritis and all the other tragicomic props and ailments of our golden years.
The good if underrated news: Our bodies accumulate sensations. As we age, we are veritable storehouses for those sensations. Now 70, you, Love of His Life, have done your share of mapping out paths to pleasure. With that experience comes self-awareness and correspondingly, the ability to communicate your preferences. These are the gems of the bedroom. Exhibit A: A nubile woman, flush with good health, who does not know the sublime possibilities of her body, cannot begin to ask for what you can - robust libido or no.
What could be causing the "zero sexual twinges"? Dr. Nancy Durand, gynecologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre confirms that, "Antihypertensive medication can indeed cause lower desire or libido. It is also common for a woman's natural testosterone levels to drop in menopause, which may result in lower libido." Possible solutions? "A good place to start is with the family physician and explain the complaint of lower desire. Many women may also wish to consult with a naturopath for alternative treatments."
Note that often a woman's sex drive starts to waver when her relationship does. Happily, this is not your case. Other factors to consider: stress, anxiety, exhaustion, your overall physical health and, as Dr. Durand indicates, your hormonal balance.
We tend to make intercourse the flashy centrepiece of our sex lives. Return to that inventiveness, and add other elements to your play: toys, massage, erotic literature, an aphrodisiacal meal. Know that just as you are never too old to find and marry the love of your life, you are never too old for sex.
Claudia Dey is the author of How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier.
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