Jason and I have been married for 15 years. This is a third marriage for both of them. I’m 75 and Jason is 87. We met on Match.com and we have a really wonderful relationship. We used to have a dynamite sex life. However, since having my ovaries removed eight years ago, I have ZERO interest in sex. Although I try to please Jason sexually from time to time, my lack of interest is beginning to affect our marriage. We’ve been arguing more about little things, when I know our arguments are really about our sex life… or rather, the lack of it. Do you have any suggestions for us?
Barbara K., Sagaponack
The fact is that regardless of a person’s age or life stage, most men’s and women’s sexual desire waxes and wanes for a variety of reasons. Some of these include: illness, hormonal changes, medications, relationship problems, depression, anxiety, substance abuse of various kinds, family problems, job and financial concerns, extramarital affairs, and retirement. And while our hormones certainly affect our sex drive, there are plenty of things couples can do to rekindle their sex lives.
When people are younger (just ask teenage boys and girls), their sex hormones rule their very existence, regardless of what might be going on in their young lives. The good news is that individuals and couples who are serious about improving their sex lives will be able to achieve at least some degree of success. A former patient of mine from Sarasota, Florida learned at the age of 87 to give oral sex and achieve orgasms for the first time in her life!
MY SESSIONS WITH BARBARA AND JASON
Barbara and Jason made an appointment to see me in person at my East Hampton office. My first shoot was with Barbara and Jason together. I tried to identify any and all issues (big and small) that might be interfering with their relationship, both inside and outside the bedroom. Next, I met with Barbara and Jason individually to see if there were any emotional, psychiatric, or physical issues, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, that might explain their sexual challenges. The good news was that they really loved each other and loved the life they shared together. Jason was amazing. He was happy with his wife and with his life and was in fairly good physical health. His only complaint was that he wanted a more active sex life.
When I met with Barbara alone, she assured me that her lack of sexual desire, including vaginal dryness, was directly related to a drop in her estrogen and progesterone levels as a result of having her ovaries removed. She chose not to use estrogen therapy, instead trying to increase estrogen levels naturally with: foods rich in phytoestrogens found in plants and plant-based foods that are similar in structure to estradiol (which is the hormone stronger estrogen), B vitamins, boron, black cohosh, and evening primrose. Unfortunately, these remedies did not help Barbara’s sex drive. When discussing the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy, it’s always best to have these discussions with her health care provider and be willing to seek a second opinion if necessary.
LIGHT THE FIRES
If we simply wait for our feelings to motivate us to try to accomplish many things in life, such as losing weight, starting a new career, finding a relationship, etc., we could wait a lifetime for these motivating feelings to arise. Wishing, hoping and dreaming to meet our goals is insufficient. It is the decision to act that ultimately determines whether our dreams and hopes can come true.
DATES FOR SEX
Barbara, Jason, and I made a tentative plan for the couple to start dating for sex, even though Barbara had no sexual desire. Barbara reluctantly agreed to this plan, convinced that nothing would change. She agreed to be in charge of making the dates and planned to do it before our next weekly session.
WHICH IT WAS THE RESULT?
Within a few days, I received a one-word text from Barbara: “SUCCESS!!” When Jason and Barbara arrived for our next session, they were all smiles. Barbara could hardly believe how sexy she had felt, despite her dread. She was so excited to tell me that she had her first orgasm in almost eight years. And Jason, of course, was delighted. I had a follow up session with them a couple of weeks later. They told me that their weekly sex date was working and they were both pleasantly surprised that they were able to achieve success after only a few sessions.
*Names and some of the details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of my patients.
HOW TO PUT THE SPARKLES IN YOUR SEX LIFE
I hope you’ll join me and board certified OBGYN Dr. Carolyn Delucia, MD FACOG at the East Hampton Library on Saturday, August 27 from 1-2:30 pm Our presentation will be about all the things we can do to improve our sex life, regardless of age or stage of life.
Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author of For Better for Worse Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, national speaker, national television and radio guest expert, and host of the weekly ” Ask Beatty Show”. ” on the Progressive Radio Network. She has a private practice in New York and East Hampton.
Beatty would love to hear from you. You can send your questions and comments to [email protected]. For more information, visit beattycohan.com.