I recently went with my wife to visit her mom who is in a memory care unit. It was late in the day, and they were getting the residents ready for dinner. Most are fairly mobile, some can easily manage on their own, while others have walkers and a few need to be transported in wheel chairs.

However, all are generally able to make it to the dining room and sit at tables with other residents. The conversations are sometimes very clear while others take time to interpret.

When my wife went to sit down, the aides instructed her to sit across from the man who was sitting with them. He was a very pleasant man, in his early 90s, with advanced dementia, but could communicate somewhat with staff and other residents. Sometimes it made sense and other times not.

He looked at my wife and said that it was very hot today. She agreed, and then he said, “You would be much cooler if you unbuttoned your blouse.” At that, my wife began to blush, and the aides chuckled. When that did not work, he added, “You would also be prettier if you unbuttoned your blouse.”

My wife then totally turned red and was left speechless. The aide then changed the subject and dinner went on without any additional comments.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Are men the only ones who think about sex even when they are totally incapacitated?

Let’s step back for a moment. The book Fifty Shades of Grey became a best seller, and the buyers were mostly women.

There was even a movie called the Book Club starring well-known actresses who represented retired women with much to say about the book and their own personal feelings about sex.

Does this indicate that women think about sex as much as men? Or is it that women think about sex very differently than men?

Men and Sex

From a guy’s perspective, the biggest difference here is that many men were taught at a young age that women don’t really think about sex – or even like it, and that they ‘give in’ to the man’s request only to keep the marriage or relationship healthy.

You probably think I must be 90 years old and that these thoughts and ideas are from the 1940s and 50s. That they do not concern the modern man or woman.

You might be surprised to learn, however, that many retired men have not resolved these issues. In fact, this is one cause for disagreements in the bedroom of many aging couples.

The Female Perspective, Maybe

Were you taught that sex was fun or that it was your duty to please your husband? If you came of age in the 1960s and later, you are likely a baby boomer and survived the relationship crisis of the 1970s as women were becoming more independent.

Do you remember when Gloria Steinem said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”? If you were married in the years between the late 1960s and 1970s, you are most likely also divorced – at least once!

The times were changing and the relationships between men and women were undergoing a separate revolution.

I was one of the fortunate men who had sisters. I also dated women in the 1970s who educated me about sex and taught me that many women enjoy sex just as much as men do. And yes, I got married early and also was divorced. The sexual revolution was eye-opening!

Sex and Aging

So, men and women are very different. Some are from Venus and some are from Mars, but for many of us who are aging gracefully – men and women – sex continues to be an important part of our lives. It just needs to be discussed more openly with your partner to find out what works best for each of you.

Some men have found help with Viagra, but that is not the whole story. You might find it hard to believe, but men do have feelings – we just don’t always know how to express them!

Do you have open and honest conversations with your significant other about how you feel about sex, your wishes and desires? If not, why not? But the real question may be, is sex important to you as you age? Please share in the comments below; no shame, no judgment.

Let's Have a Conversation!