A few myths:
1) Old folks don’t have sex:
One of the most loving things older folks can tell young people is the truth about their sexuality and that sex often gets better with age. Young people feel pressured and frantic to do it now and get it right because soon it will go away. Having elders talk honestly about the depth and breath of their loving is a great service to youth. Young people need to hear that sex, like many things in life, often grow deeper and richer in a life well lived, conscious, curious and loving. Yes, sex is good when you’re young, but for the greatest, melt-into-the-Universe-awed-beyond-belief sex, you’re just going to have to wait—no short cuts. Sorry.
2) Your parents aren’t sexual:
In my sex coaching practice many couples tell me they aren’t free to enjoy sex unless the kids are at a babysitter’s or away someplace. Older couples have said, “Finally we can have a sex life again now that the kids have left home.” That’s sad to me. Why do parents want to hide the fact they are sexual beings from their children? Don’t they want their children to grow up to enjoy a good sex life? Why do adults let their kids watch TV with guns, blood and war, and try to hide their natural sounds of love making? Parents, who mentor every other aspect of their child’s education, need to find appropriate ways to express their natural sensuality so children grow up seeing that sex is a cherished and natural part of becoming an adult—that they can look forward to sex in age appropriate ways.
3) Older Women lose desire for sex:
Menopausal women are more poised than ever to stop apologizing for and start asserting their brand of loving—more whole body touching, slower rhythm, and more connection…and humor. Women at this stage of life often enjoy a renaissance of boldness, curiosity and pleasure. Why did it take us so long to get here?
4) Menopause is a problem for women’s sexuality:
In an ad for hormone replacement therapy I recently saw in a magazine, a 50ish woman is looking over a dry, cracked creek bed in a bleak dessert landscape, insinuating that menopause is a dry and barren time that needs replenishing with hormones. The cultural message is that aging and life’s cycles are really not natural, but rather disintegrating and dysfunctional and need to be treated by drugs and surgery. With menopause tissues do dry, thin and become more fragile. At which time, our bodies signal us to approach sexuality with new awareness, ingenuity, communication and sensitivity—which is good, otherwise we would never grow up and find new pleasure.
5) Older men can’t get it up:
Can’t get what up–their attention to their lover? Their appreciation for their lover? Their focus on whole body pleasuring? Older men can finally get up what’s most important—truth, honesty and vulnerability. Yes, erections with age become less hard, less often, and less predictable. Here’s the good part. A hard cock has been the focus for men too long, and now they can turn their attention to the other important aspects of loving. An older client once told me, “Now I finally have the time to enjoy my erections.” Being penis-centered is a youthful man’s idea of loving, not a mature woman’s. Older men can learn whole body sensuality, how to receive, notice and enjoy their own sensations, fine-tune lovemaking skills with their hands and tongue…which, by the way, are always erect—and a favorite with women.
6) Older men attracted to younger women are Dirty Old Men:
Done with transparency and honesty, there is great value to older, men who have knowledge, money, power, social connections and skills (including sexual) to help younger women. And she has youth, beauty, and sensuality that greatly pleases and satisfies a man’s yearnings. If the relationship is clearly understood and articulated, it can be helpful and not hurtful to both parties.
7) Older Women attracted to younger men are Cougars:
Yes, sleek and powerful, graceful and instinctual. Face it, between consenting adults the generations may have much to teach each other; done with heartfelt compassion and communication, it can be of great benefit to both parties. Young men have sexual vigor, playfulness, and adoration to please an older woman. And a young man can learn much about pleasing a woman from a mature woman who has finally discovered her self-worth, authentic voice, and sexual expression.
8) Orgasms decrease with age:
A few years ago, I was sitting with my 85 year-old mother in a hot tub at a nudist resort, a first for both of us, and I asked, “Mom, do you still have orgasms?” She probably expected such a question from a budding sexologist daughter. Mother, who was a world traveler and visited China in the early 70’s before President Nixon ‘opened’ it up to the West, smiled and said. “Remember that vibrator I got while in China because my back hurt? I found out if I put it in other places, it feels pretty good. Well, I still have that vibrator from 40 years ago, and I can tell you my orgasms feel as good and strong to me now as they did then.” I tell that story often when asked to speak at bachelorette parties. Invariably, the young women raise their wine glasses to me and cheer, and they make me promise to tell me my mom that they love her. And they love me for telling not only her story, but mine too, and how sex in my 60’s is more awesome than ever!