Introduction: Yes, We Still Do It!
Welcome to the wonderful, sometimes confusing, and always exciting world of sex for those of us who (gratefully) are long past being kids. When it comes to the often discussed but rarely personally understood topic of sex after 50, mature adults tend to fall into two camps. Either you inwardly smile, knowing that grownup sex, like fine wine, just gets better and better with age, or you shrug your shoulders and say, 'Sex after fifty? Does it really exist?' The truth is sex after 50 really can exist, and though it may be different from what you remember when you were younger, it can actually be even better than before.
If you find that hard to believe, you are not alone. As a practicing psychologist, Dr. Dorree speaks with women and men every day who find sex has become a bore, a chore, or a source of performance anxiety. Often in secret, people over 50 quietly worry about a myriad of sexual issues that are more common than most of us think.
For example, if you're a woman, do you find your mind wandering away from the bedroom? Does the thought of graying hair, a widening waistline, or sagging boobs make you want to undress in the closet? Do you fret about your turkey neck or secretly look in the mirror and pull your skin tight, pondering what creams or a surgeon's knife might fix?
If you're a man, do you worry about getting it up and keeping it up in bed? Or maybe you're self-conscious because your penis seems smaller and less cooperative than before. Do you wonder if any other guys think the way you do?
While it's easy to think there is something wrong with us now that we don't look like Barbie and Ken or perform like athletes in bed, in truth we are as normal as can be. It is perfectly natural for our bodies to change as we age. And of course, sex changes too—which, with some new information and a willingness to experiment, can turn out to be an unexpected gift. Just when we think we are losing something special from our youth, we have the opportunity to experience something that can be even more marvelous, now and in the future. In fact, we can remain sexually fulfilled beings as long as we are alive. Sex makes the world go round. It is our essential life force, within us through every age and every life stage. In fact, lifelong sex is what sets us apart from all other species.
However, in today's sex-flooded, youth-focused world, it's easy to find superficial sex information served up on 'reality' TV (which is not at all real) or in popular magazines, but where can you go for real wisdom and practical solutions that go beyond Viagra and cosmetic surgery? As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as so sophisticated and so in-the-know about sex, but many of us really don't know where to turn for truly useful insights about what's happening to our bodies and how we can still have deeply satisfying sex at every age and stage, no matter how we change.
You are not now, nor will you ever be, too old for sex, too ill for sex, too unattractive for sex, or too alone for sex. Despite Madison Avenue, the media, and the medical world telling us that only young is sexy, the truth is that each of us can be sexy for all of our lives—far more sexy than most people imagine. While it's true that sex does change as our sex-drive hormones begin to fade after 50, our core sexuality lasts a lifetime. Sex never dies!
Sex is just too primal, pleasurable, and good for us to give up without a battle. At any age, sex can keep you healthier and may help you forget about your worldly woes for a while. After 50 (and even after 90), we don't need to toss out our condoms and hang up our vibrators as we grow older and wiser. Sex and sensuality are integral and permanent to life, and there is no reason, if we are physically able, not to enjoy both for the rest of our days.
However, it takes some new knowledge and effort, and maybe even some new ways of thinking about yourself and your partner, and that is where this book comes in. Sex for Grownups goes boldly where other books only peek—into the intimate lives of real adults having sex (or wanting to) in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond. Whether you are a 50-year-old woman just beginning menopause or an 85-year-old man who hasn't been intimate with another person in more than ten years; whether you can't last as long as you used to or you have an illness; or you are just plain bored in the bedroom, this book is your gateway to a sexy new future. Within its pages you will find many things you may never have heard of or read before that could very well change your life. The idea is to transform your thinking and shift your attitudes. While the book is full of practical tips, information, and new things to try in and out of bed, it is by no means a technical how-to book on the pure mechanics of sex. It's a book about morphing your mind. What you decide to do with your body is up to you.
We hope the book helps you talk to your loved ones, partner, friends, and those who want a chance to open up more about what we all know is so true. Sex after 50 can be great, but getting there requires a bit of an attitude shift and the journey is not without some bumps. We're sure you'll find that most of what we are about to share with you about sex in the second half of life is really quite reasonable, sometimes comforting, and even funny at times.
Feel free to just dive into the chapters and sections that interest you most. Women will probably gravitate to Chapter 2 ('Sex Is More Than Procreation') and Chapter 4 ('Keeping Your Juices Flowing'). Men may want to take a look at Chapter 3 ('Performance Power Customized') and Chapter 9 ('The Great Joyride'). If your relationship is on the rocks or could just use a tune-up, Chapter 6 tells it like it really is in a long-term relationship and how to fill in those lost intimacy, fall-in-love-again gaps. Looking for a partner? Check out the many tips in Chapter 7 ('Plenty of Fish in the Sea'). Those with illnesses and physical challenges (eventually we all have something or our partners do) can turn to Chapter 8 ('Illnesses, Schmillnesses!') for new ideas about how to make love if you are no longer an acrobat. And we hope that everyone reads Chapter 1 ('You're Still Rockin'') and Chapter 5 ('Between the Sheets'), which finally set the record straight about real sex as we age and offer countless suggestions for turning so-so sex into really good sex, and making really good sex even better.
Throughout the book, the personal stories and questions are all true. Even better, the answers are, too! Psychologist Dr. Dorree Lynn has helped thousands of people over the last four decades with her healing wisdom about relationships and sex. So if you are feeling down about your lack of spark (and we all sometimes do), don't deny your sexual desires until they flicker and fade. Sex is your birthright and you deserve to be happy at every age! This book will show you how.
©2010. Dorree Lynn, Ph.D., Cindy Spitzer. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Sex for Grownups. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442