Sexual intimacy is important for the success of any romantic relationship. Unfortunately as we age our body changes and so does the sexual intimacy of the relationship. So couples who are in their 50’s have more challenges in the area of sexual intimacy versus a couple who is in their 30’s. To help understand common sexual intimacy challenges that aging couples face and what an aging couple can do to improve their sexual intimacy, I have interviewed therapist Wendy K. Hammond LMFT.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“In a nutshell: I’m in private practice in Los Angeles serving Angelenos suffering from depression, anxiety, and relationship struggles. I love my work and am consistently impressed with our ability to grow and change with the proper motivating factors. Satisfying relationships (and sex) tend to be heavily motivating.”
What is common sexual intimacy challenges that aging couples face?
“Time and priorities tend to be the biggest barriers to a satisfying sex life. Additionally, biology doesn’t take as good of care of us in our later years as it does in the earlier ones, from a hormone/sex drive stand point. When we’re in our 20’s the drive for sex is so strong it supersedes other responsibilities and becomes the priority. There are other biological factors (i.e. reduction in hormones, medications that interfere with drive and ability to perform).”
What type of impact can those sexual intimacy challenges have on the relationship?
“Sexual intimacy is integral to a wholly satisfying relationship. A disparity in desire or perceived desire between partners can chip away and other bonds in the relationship. Insecurity usually plants itself in those chipped away pieces. Strong sexual intimacy works as mortar for the relationship and builds positive collateral in the relationship.”
What are some tips you can give to help aging couples improve their sexual intimacy with each other?
“First, I would revisit a time in their relationship when they were both satisfied and determine what the recipe for success in their relationship is. I would also be exploring what “sexual intimacy” is for them and build out from there, introducing other forms of sexual expression. Sexual intimacy is not just intercourse. I would also want to open a dialogue about current expectations and desires to establish attainable goals.”
What type of professional help is available for aging couples that want to improve their sexual intimacy?
“Information from literature or physicians is a good, non-threatening place to start. Couples therapy with a specialist is also a great resource to reset expectations and develop a plan to meet them. There are groups available (which can feel more threatening…and public). There are also retreats designed to build stronger bonds and focus on one another in a targeted way.”
Thank you Wendy for doing the interview on sexual intimacy for aging couples. For more information about Wendy Hammond or her work you can check out her website on www.wendyhammond.com.
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A Married Couple’s Path to Sexual Intimacy