The New Love and Sex after 60

Article excerpt

Times have already changed since we wrote the first edition of Love and Sex After 60 in 1976. Recently, Ballentine Books published the fourth revised edition, now titled The New Love and Sex After 60. A quarter of a century ago, the subject made a lot of people uncomfortable-sex for older people was a taboo topic.

Some 25 years have passed, and the subject is no longer taboo. The sexuality of older people has become a generally accepted fact of life, helped along by public figures including former Senator Robert Dole, who openly discussed his erectile problems (connected with prostate cancer) and his relief in being able to do something to resolve them. Great writers-like Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Love in the Time of Cholera-have chosen the theme of late-life love. Even TV sitcoms now occasionally portray older people conducting romances and maintaining relationships that plainly involve sexuality.

A DRIVING FORCE

The boomers are an added driving force in liberating later-life sexuality, first as advocates for their parents and soon, as the oldest boomers approach the age of 60, for themselves. Much as they led the sexual revolution for the young in the 1960s, it is only a matter of time before boomers notice the need for a wholesale transformation of the meaning of love and intimacy.

Our aim in the fourth and newest edition of our book is to continue to bring people the latest data on the dynamic subject of sexuality as they grow older. Although easy access to reliable, up-todate information on late-life sexuality still remains problematic, there is much that is new and heartening. The diagnosis and treatment of sexual problems continue to improve. For example, the options for treating erectile dysfunction in older men have increased dramatically in the past few years, especially with the introduction of the little blue pill, Viagra. A dozen or so new medications are in various stages of clinical trials, waiting to enter the huge market now labeled "life enhancement" or "lifestyle" drugs.

Advances in treating male sexual dysfunction are leading to a fresh focus on the sexuality of older women, underscored by a recognition that women, because of their longer lives, represent an even larger pharmaceutical consumer group than men. …