sex and seniors

What is Sexy?

A couple of weeks back I was down in Florida relaxing in the pool with some of my friends. Most of the guys were just back from the golf course and having a typical man’s conversation. By now you ladies know that means we were retelling our favorite old stories and jokes. Every once-in-a-while somebody would come up with something new. At one point my friend Tom told us about recently being in a local establishment with some of the guys. Before they left, the waitress suggested they come back later that night. She added, “We get a lot of Cougars in here.” (For those of you who don’t get out much, “Cougar” means an older woman who is looking for younger men) Tom told the waitress, “Hell, for us they’d have to be about 85.” We all thought it was a funny line and had a good laugh. His story, while funny, got me to thinking about this question: As we grow older, what is sexy?

Sex at the age of eighty-four is a wonderful experience. Especially the one in the winter.  

 – Milton Berle

Like any other time in one’s life, I’m sure the term sexy means different things to different people. We certainly know throughout history, one’s sex appeal has differed according to their culture. At one time in many societies, being overweight was sexy because it meant wealth and success. I could have been a king. Today,  influenced by the media, most young women consider sexy for themselves and other females to be pencil thin. For men, things don’t seem to have changed much physically. Being in shape has always been considered sexy.

As we age, does our definition of sexy change?  The answer is complicated. Having done considerable research on the subject of aging and sex for our book, The Best of Our Lives, it appears we seniors now live in a world unlike any in history. Advances in medicine have given us, on average, longer lives. Our lifestyles and technology are changing so rapidly, its difficult to keep up. Not long ago, reaching retirement age meant some very specific things. As far as seniors being sexy, society taught us to play down sexuality and had pretty definite rules on how to dress and act. Today, there are many seniors who still follow that script, and many others who have thrown away the rule book.

Attitude is Key 

Based on my research, it’s no surprise physical attractiveness and fitness are still important components for seniors to be perceived as sexy. Beyond that, a senior’s attitude toward life, male or female, is the most important factor. In other words, you don’t have to act young to be sexy, you just don’t want to act old. Seniors who only focus and talk about subjects considered to be “old” such as illnesses and age-related problems will probably be perceived as old and less sexy. Those who still aspire to accomplishment and look to the future, despite the real-life issues all seniors must confront, are often perceived as more youthful and sexy. One’s intelligence is also considered to be sexy in a senior. Other factors, in no particular order are, appropriate and polite behaviors, a sense of humor, good hygiene, dressing nicely, and being well-groomed.

Did I leave anything out? Yes. Wealth is considered by some to be very sexy. My father used to say, “It’s just as easy to love a rich woman as a poor one.” Of course, he would always laugh because when he married my mom, they had $63 dollars between them, and when he passed they had been married 65 years. The fact is, the comfort of security and an elegant lifestyle are often perceived as sexy. This, of course, should not be confused with happiness. While on a recent cruise, we could not help but notice one of the other couples who clearly had tons of money and became a major topic of shipboard conversation. At every event, dinner, and excursion, the wife was decked out in jewels and expensive clothes. She constantly proclaimed her boredom in every port because she had “been here so many times.” No amount of wealth could have made her sexy. Now for a test. Ladies, does this new $400,000 Ferrari SA Aperta Roadster make me more sexy?

Really? I guess it’s trade in time.

So what’s the point of this little exercise. Well, as I’ve discussed, there are certain qualities most people agree are sexy. It is, however, an individual preference. For instance, my wife is a very pretty lady, is very intellegent, and has an extremely positive attitude. Not surprisingly, I consider her to be very sexy. It’s interesting, however, that when she feels the least sexy, during her daily exercise and work out, I think she is very sexy. There is something about the effort she puts forth to stay fit that I find very attractive. 

In closing, let me share this with you. It’s from a website called I’ve condensed the poll results in their article entitled, What Older Women Want in a Man.   

At age 22:

1. Handsome 2. Charming 3. Financially successful 4. A caring listener 5. Witty 6. In good shape 7. Well dressed 8. Appreciates finer things 9. Full of thoughtful surprises 10. Romantic lover

Age 52        

1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed 2. Doesn’t belch or scratch in public 3. Doesn’t borrow money too often 4. Doesn’t nod off to sleep when I’m venting 5. Doesn’t retell the same joke too many times 6. In good enough shape to get off couch on weekends 7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear 8. Appreciates a good microwave dinner 9. Remembers my name on occasion 10. Shaves some weekends.

Age (let’s just say much older)

1. Breathing 2. Doesn’t miss the toilet  

Obviously, this survey was meant to be funny. But the question remains, what is sexy? Are you sexy? I guess its in the eye of the beholder. Deep down I guess everyone would like to think they’re sexy, we just hope others can see it. If only.

I want to thank everyone who reads my blog and also those of you who email me and/or make comments in the reply section. As always, if you find it worthy, I would appreciate it if you would forward this blog to anyone in your address book you think would enjoy it. Thanks.

Be sure to visit Trisha’s Dishes:

Meatloaf, Baked Beans, and Soup from Trisha’s Dishes

As they say in Hollywood, let’s cut to the chase: Sex is good for us. I know the typical reaction to this statement will probably be “Well, duh.” But folks, I’m talking science here.

In a recent article printed in Live Science, researcher and writer Sally Law reporting on a study which investigated the sex lives and health of more than 3,000 seniors concluded, “And just as in younger adults, healthy sex means healthy senior citizens.”

Additionally, her article quotes one of the researchers, Linda J. Waite of the University of Chicago in a special supplemental issue of The Journals of Gerontology, “Individuals with strong, functioning sexual and intimate relationships will have better trajectories of health and well-being than those whose relationships function less well or who lack such relationships.” The study also looked at some of the possible physical problems seniors may encounter in their sex lives. On this aspect of sex and aging, Ms. Waite is quoted as stating, “If [women] continue to be sexually active they appear not to be much more likely to have problems with sexual function at older than at younger ages . . . sexually active older men seem to function at much the same level as sexually active younger men, with a few exceptions, not all of which favor younger men.”

Obviously, not all seniors have intimate partners, others may have serious physical issues, and still others may choose not to have physical relationships for a variety of reasons. Given that broad caveat, and at the risk of seeming simplistic, my suggestion for those able and interested is: just do it, it’s good for you.

Travel Tip of the Day

In preparing for an upcoming travel adventure, I have been re-evaluating my packing decisions. With airline restrictions on the number of bags you may check and lower weight limits, even more so on foreign airlines, I’m closely scrutinizing every item being packed. In my shaving kit, or what I call my “go bag,” the object that takes up the most room is my can of shaving cream. While I typically use the very small travel versions, stores don’t always stock them.

Having struck out at a couple of stores, I discovered Shave Secret. Was very skeptical having never heard of this product before, but gave it a try.  Well, it worked for me. It’s natural oils that come in a small plastic bottle about the size of eye drops. You simply wet your face, put three drops into your wet hands and rub it on your face. Then you shave. Understand I have one of the toughest beards you can have, but I actually got a smooth shave. Unbelievable. I’ve freed up more space in my travel bag and will also use it at home. I’ve told my wife about this product and she wants to try it on her legs. Can’t guarantee it, but it did work well for me.

Cute Story

As my wife Trisha and I waited at a very crowded airline ticket counter in San Francisco recently (an entire family of seven in front of us had not heard about the weight limits on luggage and were hastily repacking at the counter), I realized the gentleman behind me was three time Super Bowl Champion and All-Pro 49er Brent Jones. Since the line wasn’t moving, we were able to get acquainted and exchanged business information with each other. As the line finally started to move, Trisha took notice of my “new best friend” and gave us both a big smile. I introduced her to Brent and she took over from there. By the time we reached the counter, she had invited him to come visit us at our home.

After we said goodbye and cleared security, I turned to Trisha and said, “Do you know who Brent Jones is? She said, “No, who is he? Gotta love this lady.