Today, there are many widowed , divorced, or separated people who yearn to find an intimate partner again. Or perhaps there is a partner, but a physical intimacy no longer exists.
Because our society constantly emphasizes that sex and love are only for the young and beautiful, many older people withdraw from seeking a new partner or engaging in any form of sexual activity with the partner sharing their bed. They are afraid to risk rejection, experience performance anxiety and are reluctant to expose themselves as less attractive and desirable than they were in their younger years.
If they do meet someone or if they yearn to resume an intimate relationship with a long-term partner, the fear of how they will perform haunts them. Sex in the media today is portrayed as a "how to" activity that even affects younger man and women.
The famous sex researchers, Masters and Johnson, described that long periods of sexual abstinence can develop into a form of atrophy not unlike what an athlete experiences when he gives up his sport over a long period of time. He needs to go slowly to regain his former confidence. A certain amount of awkwardness is to be expected just like it might be on a new job, meeting new people, or learning all over again a long-forgotten skill. Alcohol doesn't help. Shakespeare knew that "It provokes the desire--but dulls the performance.
"Women often worry that intercourse may be uncomfortable because vaginal tissues can be dry and brittle from disuse. It is a good idea to visit a gynecologist. If this could be a problem, it can be easily corrected. Don't wait until an encounter occurs; be prepared! Masturbation helps to keep the tissues moist, too.
Focusing on the pleasure, not the goal, is a good way to start over. Enjoy touching, kissing, and tasting the warmth of a partner's body next to yours. Explore!
What's the hurry? It is not as if you're teenagers and your parents will be home from the movies any minute. And your kids have left home long ago.
Posted by Shirley Zussman at 7:21 A