I like affection. Maybe it’s my European heritage, but hugging, kissing, and public displays of affection have always been part of my life.
I have never shied away from giving my wife a little kiss or cuddle in public! Ok, maybe more of an elbow-bump in these socially distant times, but you get my drift!
As we get older, showing our affection can get a little difficult for some people. Giving or receiving affection from partners and loved ones can become stressful with every year that passes.
That’s not because we’ve suddenly turned into ‘grumpy old men’ or ‘angry old ladies’ – nor is it due to the widely held belief that as we age, we lose our desire. Far from it – for many people, the desire is alive and well – it’s just that intimacy is a whole different ball game after a certain age.
The limited studies conducted so far tell us that physical inability, coupled with health issues are the greatest impediments to intimacy for older people. Naturally, if you are sick or have an on-going ailment the idea of doing the horizontal tango isn’t going to really float your boat.
Add to that the cocktail (and I’m not talking the Pina Colada kind) of prescription medications you are probably taking to help combat the illness – and we have a complete recipe for intimacy inaction.
While the idea of physical intimacy can become intimidating as we age, we can adapt and adjust what intimacy means to us. It doesn’t have to be full physical intimacy. A cuddle, a kiss, and some old-fashioned handholding can be just as rewarding.
Touch is an essential human need. It is one of the best therapies for our overall health and mental well-being. As we get older, touch becomes so important, yet many people choose to ignore this yearning because of an association with sexual intimacy.
Intimacy and love are found in many forms – and you don’t even need a partner to enjoy them all:
A massage can be very rewarding. There’s nothing sexual to the encounter if you’re seeing a Qualified Therapist, but giving a massage to your partner is another story.
Don’t involve any rules or time frames. Cuddle morning, noon, or evening – or all of the above. You can also do this when you watch your favourite TV shows!
My wife and I have a dog. He’s good company when I’m in the doghouse! Seriously though, pets provide wonderful emotional support to people who live on their own.
As we age, what’s most important is our health, our happiness and our well-being. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to intimacy. Do what makes you happy.
Being happy means, we must also do our best to maintain a healthy body because that makes for a healthy mind and a healthy mind allows us to take on every day with a smile!
Lastly, don’t be afraid to throw caution to the wind every now and again. Surprise yourself and surprise your partner. Let your imagination go wild. But, not too wild, especially if your adult children are in the bedroom next door.
What does intimacy mean to you at your age? Do you have someone to be intimate with? How often do you cuddle with your partner or loved ones? Have you noticed any changes in your affection toward loved ones as you grow older? Please share in comments below.