February 19th, 2013

In my ongoing adventures as a mother, wife and career woman it’s always a challenge to fit in passion, sex, spontaneity and yes, more sex. It’s a test that all of us women face. Last month I proposed a challenge to our readers to have fun while building intimacy by depositing a bit of money in a jar each time you participated in any amorous activity with your partner, so you could reward yourselves with the fruit of your love labor by having a night out, or, as in our case – a trip. Even when you schedule it in, sex or intimacy is worth it.

I’m pleased to report that our collection is growing, but I acknowledge that it’s not an easy task when you have kids, careers and ongoing health challenges, as in my case. However, taking time for ourselves is a conscious decision the value of which has been wisely expressed to us by couples that both my husband and I admire, who have sustained profound and happy relationships despite the many challenges they have faced.

Recently, I found myself in the presence of some women who were a generation older than my 40+ years, and it was fascinating how they had all been affected in their perceptions about physical intimacy. In matters of the heart, love, passion and sex there was a myriad of different perspectives and I pondered where I potentially would fit in a decade. The one similarity in this particular group that struck me was that there seemed to be a weariness and lack of eagerness about love making. Some of these women had faced testing physical conditions or their spouses had, which had at some point presented an obstacle to lovemaking.

Others just thought of sex as young person’s thing and had no desire in participating in affectionate behavior, and had accepted that their spouse had other stimulus to fill in the gap when needed, including porn. But where was the closeness? Even if sex wasn’t the focus, wouldn’t an intimate massage, longing glances or merely holding hands and feeling each other’s touch be vital in simply expressing love? To them it seemed natural that intimacy, attraction and sexiness eventually fades. It’s just normal. Was this what I have to look forward too?

Luckily I also have had the chance to know other older women who report strong and vibrant sex lives into their 60s and 70s, which inspires me to think that even better times may lie ahead for my husband and me. Some of these ladies – all of whom have dealt with life and career challenges – shared heartwarming stories. One woman in her 80s talked about taking daily baths with her husband throughout their 50 years of marriage. She lost her husband a few years ago, but these fond memories of their intimacy and love prevail.

As well, my former mother and father-in-law into their 70s would ride the train to the city every Friday night for date nights despite the fact that her husband was fighting a debilitating illness. These weekly trips invigorated them and allowed them a sense of freedom and flirtation with life, she expressed. My mother has a friend who even now while dealing with a terminal illness puts on her best outfits and goes salsa dancing with her husband every Friday for their date night.

Many of these women report experiencing even better sex and bonding once they passed into their 60s and 70s, simply because at these ages you have become comfortable in who you are, and equally importantly, more comfortable with your body. No longer fighting to maintain an image 20 years younger, or a perfect body weight, or worrying about getting pregnant, or having to hide in the dark under the covers, or chasing careers and raising kids. This freedom allows you to just enjoy and explore your sexuality and intimacy without the chains of self doubt and negative self image. Their stories have left me looking forward to the journey.

I asked myself: what is the difference between the first group of women and the second? Why had one group successfully sustained and even increased intimacy through decades of marriage, while the other group had fallen into a comfortable, but mundane and less passion-filled routine that they felt was natural. To me it was a choice that those in the second group had made to make sexual intimacy and passion a priority and take the necessary steps at the beginning – and especially in the middle of the relationship where the most hurdles arise – to build the foundation for future happiness. So being sensual and sexual simply became a habit and therefore remained an integral part of their relationships.

I have been fortunate to have readers open up to me about their challenges, predominantly some of their health issues and the complications that these have had on their sex lives. From personal experience I understand these challenges, but it reinforces to me how valuable it is to understand that the physical bond that we maintain with our partners, especially when it may be a challenge to engage in actual sexual intercourse, creates a potent union.

We live in a society where everybody is in a rush, but at some point life slows down. I continue to deal with some health challenges, so it is not always ideal strutting around in my sexy lingerie. However, we continue to engage in embraces, caresses, tenderness and flirting, and it continues to be a source of joy and healing for me. I encourage you to strip your inhibitions away and simply enjoy skin to skin, heart to heart loving with your partner.

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