Problems in Older Relationships 3- Absence of Sex

Elaine Sihera

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Sometimes, for one reason or another, whether hormonal, through illness or through anger, one partner goes off sex while living with a healthy spouse who still values a good sex life. It is highly unreasonable, selfish and cruel in some instances, to expect that partner to do without sex simply because we have gone off it or choose to use it as a weapon against them. That is a disaster waiting to happen. No healthy person can be expected to go without sex as an imposition for the rest of their life, or for very long periods in a relationship. Sooner or later, that partner will look elsewhere. In fact, an affair is inevitable to satisfy that pressing need, unless the parties involved can come to some arrangement for *** satisfaction through some other means.

The basis of attraction is sex. In the heady days of romance, there is a lot of it. In years to follow, sex dominates and will continue like that until both parties call a halt. It is therefore unreasonable to expect a ‘normal’ relationship to function without sex simply because one party does not care for it, or wishes to deny it for any reason. Denying sex and expecting partners to simply accept it, without discussing options for their comfort, stems from a lack of respect, or a desire to control or punish them by withdrawing affection. No relationship like this can hope to have a future.

In fact, all the latest research points to sex being very good for your health and an active sex life is said to be “crucial to feeling great and staying healthy in old age”, according to Intimate Relations: Living and Loving in Later Life, published in 2004 by the charity, Age Concern. Author Sarah Brewer, a GP, argues that sex helps to reduce stress, leads to greater contentment and better sleeping patterns. “Sex is often a taboo subject in later life, but physical intimacy doesn’t fizzle out and disappear as you get older, ” she says. “When you enjoy a rewarding and regular sex life, all aspects of life, including the enormous range of benefits to your health, tend to take on a rosier hue. ”

The book says having sex and doing exercise are crucial to feeling good as you get older. Dr Brewer adds that, while exercise would burn fat and help prevent heart disease, having sex is the key to real health benefits because sex causes the brain to release endorphins – naturally occurring chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety. Research has also shown that sex prompts the release of substances that bolster the immune system.

Powerful Incentive
Intimacy is therefore not negotiable. It can be both a powerful incentive and a deterrent to becoming deeply *** with the partner you know you will eventually lose. In a culture that denies death, it also takes a lot of courage to love a partner for life and wish to be closely bonded with them when you are acutely aware that you could lose them at any time. But *** bonding is important for partners to remain faithful to one another. In the absence of a satisfactory sex life, some research suggests that a poor marriage is often associated with unfaithfulness.

In the latest research in the UK, for example, 84 per cent of men and 56 per cent of women claimed to have had an affair in the past year. With the Internet and the mobile phone at the ready, the field is wide open for clandestine meetings and satisfying *** needs. In this respect, men appear to seek casual sex and have more outside partners, while women seek emotional attachment and have fewer partners. Working outside the home and having their own income also increase the chances of affairs for women, a situation which has dramatically increased the percentage of women having relationships with people other than their spouses.

As we can see, incompatibility in sex is thus the final invisible force which can destroy relationships, and not the sex itself. It really is about how matched we are and how long that compatibility lasts. If sex has just become really boring between you, to keep your partner’s attention you need to spice it up and make a production out of it. Stop being a slob in front of the television, or using outings with the lads or ladies as an excuse. At least once each week, go out to dinner, go dancing, go to a comedy club, or whatever you like. It is entirely up to you. But you must do something different! Nothing kills intimacy more than predictability and sameness. Enjoy an evening with the clear intention of being seductively romantic and then coming home with plenty of time to make love.

At other times when you are at home, try having sex in different places or at different times, perhaps in the morning or right after exercising. Give each other a bath and/or full body massages. Read together, perhaps a book of love poems, or even one on *** techniques, then talk and talk as required, about your *** enjoyment and how that can be increased. Talk until words are no longer necessary and action takes over. Sex is the greatest gift of your life. Don’t worry about it or ponder upon it. Simply learn to enjoy it.

ELAINE SIHERA (Ms Cyprah - and ) is an expert author, public speaker, media contributor and lifestyle columnist. The first Black graduate of the OU and a post-graduate of Cambridge University. Elaine is a CONFIDENCE guru and a Personal Empowerment, Relationships and Diversity Consultant. Author of: 10 Easy Steps to Growing Older Disgracefully; 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate!; Money, Sex & Compromise and Managing the Diversity Maze, among others (available on as well as her personal website). Also the founder of the British Diversity Awards and the Windrush Men and Women of the Year Achievement Awards. She describes herself as, “Fit, Fabulous, Over-fifty and Ready to Fly!"


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