Sex at 60

7 Sep

By David Sherman, For Postmedia News

Do people have sex at 60? I certainly hope so. Sixty is coming and it has me thinking. I don’t “hurt in the places I used to play,” as Leonard Cohen sang, not yet anyway, but I can relate.

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I can see sex at 60 much like it is today — fun and intimate. It works. We hope it keeps working, though I imagine at 60 — the new 40, my ass — one might consider worrying about it. As the big hand ticks toward that milestone, you worry about lots of things, like will you get to 61. But the compulsion, the fascination, the gratification, the desire to touch and be touched remains a constant companion. So far.

Sex at 60? Appetite might be dwindling. Has it really been five days since?

I guess it has. Been busy. Tired. Need to make time. Did we have to make time 20 years ago? Thirty years ago? It seems there was barely time for anything else. But that might well be the telescope of time, making everything back then boil with more turbulence.

On TV and in the movies people at 60 don’t seem to do it anymore. If they do, it’s cute. On the screens, sex at 60 is more like an old cracked leather jacket kept in the back corner of a closet. Or propelled by pills that promise 36 hours of readiness. “C’mon dear, wake up. I got 22 hours left.” It would seem that popular culture, outside of pharmaceutical ads, of course, worships sex, but only until a certain age. Say 35. After that, “OMG, ick, please!”

A friend and I, partnered up, monogamous most of our lives, can’t help but admire, stealing glances at the wonders of young women. It’s been a lifelong hobby, we admit, though now we take it all in through the subtle distortion of bifocals. We work out, swim, bike, duel furiously with sag and swell — sag and swell is winning — but we also have time for the curves in spandex and Lycra and little shorts at the Y. It’s appreciation, we like to think — no lecherous leer for us. And yes, we know only too well that no one is looking back. And if a pretty woman crossing a street or passing by smiles at me, it makes my day. “Lift those shoulders, suck in the gut, keep your head up” — the aging ego doing what it can to merit even an innocent acknowledgment.

From what I can see, most men my age are still in the ring, punching their weight with their regular sparring partner, all the while still wondering about the mysteries of the other — a woman in the gym, a cashier at the pharmacy, a teller at the bank, a girl in the park. All mysterious, all desirable, all out of reach, a banquet, albeit only for the eyes. This appreciation of the flesh and the clothing it’s housed in, the colours, the fabrics, the cling, remain instants of unimpeachable “that’s what I’m living for.” Desire and women, in all their guises, all their ages, are life.

I’ve conferred with my male counterparts, and yes, even at this advanced age of degeneration, the lifelong curiosity over breasts remains feverish with no sign of abatement. Women bent over their bicycles, at the dinner table, sliding my beer across the bar, in bikinis at the pool, the pleasure a reaffirmation that we were manufactured this way, hardwired, as a friend says. We feel, therefore we are. Beauty, we reckon, is now life-affirming rather than motivating. Wistful as opposed to wishful. There will probably be no other partners, and if there should ever be it is doubtful it will be the 25-year-old on the treadmill at the gym. At 60, that seems OK. Almost.

Sex at 60 remains what it was at 18, without the blinding urgency. Today, it’s more “Now or later?” as opposed to yesterday’s “Now!” “Now!” “Now!” Sex at 60 doesn’t often wake you in the middle of the night, not the way it might’ve not too long ago. It lets you sleep, per chance to snore.

Sex at 60 is comfort. I’ve been here before. The bed, the sofa, are familiar terrain, pleasantly so, the experience no longer fraught with anxiety. I know my way around. I can laugh about it. I can talk about it. I can ask for things. I can take instruction.

The act can be ambitious and spontaneous and vigorous, just as it was any number of years ago, except today you might need to swallow Advil the next morning for the tender back or the calf that suddenly went into spasm and has you merrily limping. But it’s all good. As the late Robert B. Parker wrote, even bad sex is good.

And yes, the clarion call of my naked spouse, as familiar as all those curves might be, still entices, though the clamouring for attention by various aches, strains and sprains competes loudly with the inspired libido.

At 60, you don’t need the trappings of wine and candles, lobster and music, just time and energy, maybe a warm bath and a good mattress. It’s so much easier and less complicated. By now we’ve accepted ourselves as sexual beasts. And if we’re lucky, the person on the other side of the bed can be similarly atavistic.

We’ve accepted the pleasures as well as the imponderables, the exultation as well as the occasional disappointments. Tomorrow is another day. If you’re lucky.

And if you’re lucky, you appreciate the joy of sex without the attendant library of manuals and instruction books, and view the dancing couples in the erectile dysfunction ads as quaint new millennium marketing.

I’m not 60 yet, but if I’m lucky it will soon be here. It is not 40, new or otherwise. It is frankly 60. I have the summer to brace for it, and to stock up on Advil.

Read the original story here.

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1 Aug

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Young adult dating trend slows road to marriage

29 Jul

By Paula Rogo, Reuters

Young adults are slowing the road to marriage with “stayover relationships,” a dating trend that allows them to enjoy committed relationships without living together, new research shows.

A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia revealed that as an alternative to fully cohabiting couples are spending three of more nights together a week and still maintaining their own homes, which could help to explain recent U.S. census data that indicates people are getting married later.

“Instead of following a clear path from courtship to marriage, individuals are choosing to engage in romantic ties on their own terms — without the guidance of social norms,” said Tyler Jamison, a researcher in the university’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

“There is a gap between the teen years and adulthood during which we don’t know much about the dating behaviours of young adults. Stayovers are the unique answer to what emerging adults are doing in their relationships.”

The findings, which are published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, are based on interviews with college-educated adults in committed relationships.

Jamison and the co-author of the study, Lawrence Ganong, found that comfort and convenience are the biggest attractions of stayover relationships among young adults, which allow them to maintain a form of control over the pace of their relationship and their possessions.

“None of them saw themselves as cohabiters,” Jamison explained, even if they spent six or seven nights together. “It is interesting how separate they felt about their living arrangements to the point where they would act like a guest in the other person’s place.”

The need to control the pace of the relationship is mostly based on timing with many young adults not at a point in their lives to make long-term commitments. The stayovers acts as a stopgap measure between casual dating and long-term commitments.

“It is not a different relationship form,” Jamison said. “It is one thing that people do while dating.”

Survey: Canadian men often romantic – but many motivated by sex

26 Jul

By Misty Harris, Postmedia News

What would Canadian men do in a relationship? See the survery results here.

The good: More than three-quarters of Canadian men say they’re often, or somewhat often, romantic.

The bad: Of those guys, roughly one in five admits his top motivation is sex.

The ugly: Romance or not, half of men say they’d dump their girlfriend if she got fat.

So go the results of AskMen.com’s annual Great Male Survey, which this year polled more than 7,600 Canadians to unbutton the state of manhood across the country.

On the positive side, 87 per cent of Canadian guys would welcome a relationship with a higher-income earner, 65 per cent would take male birth-control were it available and 56 per cent believe no one side is “winning” the battle of the sexes.

Sixty-three per cent say they have faith in, and want to participate in, the institution of marriage. And most guys believe a “real man” is a terrific husband and father, as opposed to a great lover, leader or handyman.

Less encouraging is that half of men are dissatisfied with either the quality or quantity of their sex — or have no sex life to speak of in the first place. Half have lied to their partner about the number of previous lovers they’ve had. And a staggering 57 per cent believe it’s acceptable to pay for sex, either any time or in certain circumstances.

Also notable, fully 40 per cent of Canadian men consider a woman “promiscuous” after her 10th bedmate. The survey didn’t ask guys if they hold themselves to the same standard, but AskMen.com’s editor-in-chief James Bassil — who is based in Montreal — dryly says he’s “sure that they don’t.”

Then there’s the weighty matter of half of respondents claiming they’d dump their girlfriend if she got fat. The required poundage isn’t specified, but Bassil says the percentage has remained relatively consistent over the years — and that it doesn’t necessarily mean men are superficial.

“From our experience with readers, they’re put off by it because they see it as indicative of her caring less or putting less effort into the relationship,” says Bassil. “That doesn’t totally let guys off the hook for this, but it’s definitely something to take into consideration.”

The survey’s findings on digital life are also striking.

Given the opportunity to snoop on their partner’s Facebook messages, emails and other e-correspondence, 67 per cent of men say they wouldn’t do it — or wouldn’t do it without permission, 84 per cent wouldn’t track their partner’s movements with GPS, even if they could, 66 per cent say they don’t know anyone who’s used the Internet to facilitate cheating and 34 per cent have met a woman online at some point — a proportion lower than expected, given the popularity of dating sites.

The survey, published Tuesday, was conducted online in June and July and drew 7,656 Canadian responses. No margin of error was given.

mharris@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/popcultini

Men in Canada

- More than half of men think their drink order reflects their masculinity.

- Scotch is considered the “ultimate man’s drink,” followed by beer and whiskey.

- Most men own between four and six pairs of shoes, and no more than three suits.

- Most guys are consuming either the same amount or less fast-food than they did a year ago.

- Most believe abs are a man’s most prized physical asset to women.

- Slightly more than half of men would not punch a colleague in the face, even if they could get away with it.

- If they could be any superhero, most would be Superman.

- The majority of men get their news online, but from traditional media sources.

- Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber are the stars they’re most tired of hearing about.

Divorcing Ontario couples to attend mandatory session on alternatives

18 Jul

PostMedia News

TORONTO — Ontario couples seeking a divorce will now have to attend a mandatory information session on alternatives to going to court.

The new program, which took effect Monday, is meant to save couples time and legal fees, Attorney General Chris Bentley has said.

“We made a commitment to Ontario families to make our family justice system more affordable, faster, simpler and less confrontational,” he said when it was first announced.

Similar sessions have been offered in Toronto for years and the attorney general said that 95 per cent of users found them “very helpful.”

Courts in Milton, Ont., and Brampton, Ont., tried out the new program with the help of volunteer local lawyers and mental-health professionals.

Couples will also have the option of attending a mediation session paid for by the province before deciding if they still want to go ahead and file for a divorce in court.

The information sessions will answer questions about the cost of a trial, the effects of a court process on children and alternatives to a court hearing.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

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13 Jul
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New rules of engagement

12 Jul

By Aimee Tjader, Star Tribune

An unsuspecting woman cast her fishing line into a Twin Cities lake recently only to reel in a dazzling diamond ring, which had been attached to the hook by professional divers underwater.

An Ikea shopping trip for another couple ended with the future groom breaking into song and dance before getting on one knee.

To stage his proposal, a self-proclaimed “thrill-seeker” enlisted the help of a pair of Minneapolis cops to fake his arrest for homicide in front of his future bride.

Those stories may be rare, but more people are finding elaborate, sometimes extreme ways to propose marriage, wedding industry experts say. For many couples, the marriage proposal has become part of the wedding build-up, complete with paparazzi-style photography to capture the moment, and often, an audience.

Some grooms-to-be are even hiring a “proposal planner” – for a fee of $2,000 to $10,000 – who all but promises that the bride-to-be will say yes.

“I’m only getting married once, so I wanted this to be an engagement to remember,” Ryan Calhoun, 28, said of his “shocking” arrest proposal, which he said had little romance but plenty of adrenaline. “It was a little risky, and it takes the right woman to do something like this.”

From engagements that create public spectacles to private, jet-setting fairy tales, popping the question is not just becoming a bigger deal. It’s big business, too.

Amy Lynch isn’t surprised. The Nashville author and researcher of generations Y and Z said couples are getting married later in life and typically living together before they’re engaged, therefore demystifying the proposal process – to the point that they feel the need to turn it into an event.

“Marriage isn’t the usual marker of adulthood that it used to be,” Lynch said.

“It’s a bigger decision to make, so the proposal and the wedding have accorded more importance.”

Local jewellers say popping the question with a ring is no longer enough. Most women want to pick out their engagement rings, yet nearly 70 per cent of women surveyed feel the “surprise factor” is essential to the perfect proposal, according to a joint survey by theknot.com and Men’s Health magazine.

Having been in the business since the 1970s, Rich Nordstrom, manager of Bergstrom Jewelers in St. Louis Park, said he’s pleased to see that guys are going the distance to propose, because it hasn’t always been that way.

“This is something you’re going to remember forever and reminisce about,” he said. “Since she already knows she’s getting a ring, there’s more pressure to surprise her so that moment is burned into her memory forever.”

Contests for the ultimate proposal story – and an opportunity for 15 minutes of viral fame – also help drive elaborately staged public engagements inspired by flash mobs, sporting events and unusual follies. In fact, private proposals decreased 57 per cent from the previous year in a recent survey by theknot.com and weddingchannel.com.

Such extreme engagements should be approached with caution, said Debra Orbuch Grayson, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Minnetonka, Minn. Couples should understand the difference between fantasy and reality and not idealize romance by what they see on TV.

“The media – reality TV shows like ‘The Bachelor’- play a large part in distorting our view of romance and relationships,” she said. “If you start with this elaborate, extreme marriage proposal, where does one go from there?”

Some guys feel pressured enough to hire help. Sarah Pease expanded her New York wedding planning business (www.brillianteventplanning.com) to include proposal planning services. For $2,000 and up, the Proposal Planner will customize every detail so the only thing left for him to worry about is what she says after he pops the question.

“Everyone says the wedding is all about the bride, and the way I see it, the proposal is all about the groom’s chance to shine,” Pease said. “This is his moment to put all of his heart and creativity into something that’s a memory they’ll have for the rest of their lives together.”

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