Ask Beatty: How to Rekindle Your Sex Life

Beautiful senior couple enjoying time together at home - Romantic moments at home, elderly couple in bed needs to rekindle their sex life
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Dear Beatty,

Jason and I have been married for 15 years. This is a third marriage for both of us. I am 75 years old and Jason is 87. We met on Match.com and have a really wonderful relationship. We used to have a dynamite sex life. However, since having my ovaries removed eight years ago, I have ZERO interest in sex. Although I try to sexually pleasure Jason on occasion, my lack of interest is starting to really affect our marriage. We have been arguing more about small things, when I know that our bickering is really about our sex life … or rather, lack of. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Barbara K., Sagaponack

Dear Barbara,

The fact is that despite people’s ages or stages in life, the majority of men and women’s sexual desire does wane and wax for a variety of reasons. Some of these include: illness, hormonal changes, medications, relationship problems, depression, anxiety, substance abuse of various kinds, family problems, job and money worries, extramarital affairs and retirement. And although our hormones certainly effect our sex drive, there are many things that couples can do to rekindle their sex life.

When people are younger (just ask young adolescent boys and girls), their sex hormones rule their very existence, regardless of what may be going on in their young lives. The good news is that individuals and couples who are serious about wanting to improve their sex lives will be able to achieve at least some degree of success. A former patient of mine from Sarasota, Florida, learned at age 87 to give oral sex and achieve orgasms for the first time in her life!

MY SESSIONS WITH BARBARA AND JASON

Barbara and Jason made an appointment to see me in person at my East Hampton office. My first session was with Barbara and Jason together. I tried to identify any and all issues (large and small) that may be interfering with their relationship, both in and out of the bedroom. Next, I met with both Barbara and Jason individually to see if there were any emotional, psychiatric or physical problems, including prescription and over-the-counter medications that may explain their sexual challenges. The good news was that they really loved each other and the life that they shared together. Jason was amazing. He was happy with his wife and his life and was in fairly good physical health. His only complaint was that he wanted a more active sex life.

When I met with Barbara alone, she assured me that her lack of sexual desire, including vaginal dryness was directly related to a decrease in her estrogen and progesterone levels as a result of her ovaries having been removed. She chose not to use estrogen therapy, but instead has tried to boost estrogen levels naturally with: phytoestrogen-rich foods found in plants and plant-based foods which have a similar structure to estradiol, (which is the strongest of the estrogen hormones), B vitamins, boron, black cohosh and evening primrose. Unfortunately, these remedies did not help Barbara’s sex drive. In discussing the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy, it is always best to have these discussions with your health care provider and be willing to seek out second opinions if necessary.

 IGNITING THE FIRES

If we simply wait for our feelings to motivate us to try to accomplish many things in life — including losing weight, beginning a new career, finding a relationship, etc. — we might wait a lifetime for these motivational feelings to surface. Wishing, hoping and dreaming to meet our goals is insufficient. It’s the decision to take action that ultimately determines whether our dreams and hopes can become a reality.

DATES FOR SEX

Barbara and Jason and myself worked out a tentative plan for the couple to begin to make dates for sex, despite the fact that Barbara had zero sex drive. Barbara reluctantly agreed to this plan, convinced that nothing would change. She agreed to be in charge of making the dates and planned to do so before our next weekly session.

WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME?

Within a few days, I received a one-word text from Barbara: “SUCCESS!!” When Jason and Barbara arrived for our next session, they were all smiles. Barbara could hardly believe how sexy she had felt, despite her trepidation. She was so excited to tell me that she had her first orgasm in almost eight years. And Jason, of course, was thrilled. I had a follow-up session with them a couple of weeks later. They told me that their weekly date for sex was working and they were both pleasantly surprised that they were able to achieve success after only a few sessions.

*The names and some of the details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of my patients.

HOW TO PUT THE SIZZLE IN YOUR SEX LIFE

I hope you will join me and board-certified OBGYN, Dr. Carolyn Delucia, MD FACOG at the East Hampton Library on Saturday, August 27 from 1–2:30 p.m. Our presentation will deal with all of the things that we can do to improve our sex lives, regardless of one’s age or stage in life.

Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author of For Better for Worse Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, national speaker, national radio and television expert guest and host of the weekly “Ask Beatty Show” on the Progressive Radio Network. She has a private practice in NYC and East Hampton.

Beatty would love to hear from you. You can send your questions and comments to her at [email protected]. For more info, go to beattycohan.com.

Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT

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