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Securing an early check-in for Room 200 at a Quality Inn on a nondescript highway at noon was like leading a high-level trade negotiation. It took one reservation clerk and two supervisors to sign off on the only time we had that week to grab an hour of pleasure. Blame it on my raging libido and a scheduling crunch. Motel sex or nothing? Nothing is not the correct answer.
After a five-year sex drought, I am in a sexual relationship again. At times, it’s all I can think about. When I see Ed, the sex usually comes first.
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Who knew, in my 60s, that sex could feel this powerful? I had missed my sexual self, and for me now there is a sense of urgency around it that I’ve never experienced before. That urgency only makes the sex hotter. I think Ed would tell you the same.
Sex and intimacy disappeared from my landscape when my husband died. Their presence in my life had in part defined me. So did their absence. At some point, I started referring to myself as “celibate.” It seemed more like a glass half-full approach. It’s just a word but it made me feel better — as though I had agency, a choice in the matter. Then I reconnected with Ed, a man I had profiled for a local magazine decades ago. He’d unearthed the article I’d written during a move and found me.
Finally, I figured, I was having sex again, just like everyone else.
But what I discovered in conversations with friends, sexual wellness professionals and physicians is that a lot of older people in committed relationships aren’t having sex at all. And while many couples are OK with that, others, understandably, are distraught about it.
One man I talked to told me his wife informed him when she turned 60 that she was done with sex. That was eight years ago. A woman I know says she misses the “sex bunny” she used to be but that her sex drive shut down when she was in her mid-50s. As she frames it: “We could do it, but it would be pitiful. You get sore and you get tired. What we’ve got left are memories.”