20 suggestions for keeping your romance alive in the golden years without a pill!


Every day, on my drive to and from work, I am barraged by a series of ads reminding me of ways to improve my sex life. First, for men, there’s that little blue pill. But that one takes 30 minutes and leaves you with a red face and runny nose, apparently. So then there is the option of something called “Code Red,” and WOW! That works in 7 seconds, I’m told. After that, I’m informed that, if my sex life is lacking and I have no libido as a woman, there is a pill that will revive my sexual appetite. And the lady on the radio says it really works! Yippee.

I get it. We 60-somethings are at an age when our sex drive and physical capabilities are not what they were in our 20’s. In many ways, that is not a bad thing, so I wonder why we are so eager to pretend we are younger than we are. Perhaps it’s because we never learned how to appreciate where we actually are at any given age.

We’ve come a long way, baby. There’s a magic pill for everything that ails you.

Anxious? There’s a pill for you.

Depressed? Yup, there’s a pill for that, too.

Your kid’s got too much energy for you? You got it. Ask your pediatrician for a prescription drug to slow him down.

Sex not what it used to be? Of course, they’ve got a pill to fix that, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-doctors or anti-medication. What I prefer, though, is to consider other options first — the free options with no detrimental side effects. They can be just as habit-forming but don’t trigger headaches or nausea or an erection lasting 4 hours.

How? Glad you asked.

Our “microwave” society wants what it wants…now. We send a text message, and get angry if someone doesn’t respond immediately. We shoot off an email without considering first how our words might be interpreted, and the recipient gets offended. We take naked photos of ourselves and send them over our smart phone. Oh yeah, that’s Anthony Wiener, sorry.

We communicate impulsively in sound bites, without taking time to think things through thoroughly. We rush from one appointment to the other, even if we are retired, because we’ve come to believe the big lie that says being still just means you’re lazy or not important. We can sit next to each other on the couch and communicate through Facebook. Then we are supposed to jump into bed and BAM! Awesome.

Want More Romance In Your Life? Here Are Some Suggestions:

  • When was the last time you got showered and dressed up, put on your perfume and went to a romantic dinner, instead of running out in your jeans and tennis shoes? Date nights are important, even if you’re together all the time.
  • Do you close your computers in the evening and park your cell phones and just play a game or watch a movie together??
  • Have you tried reading a book together? Any book…it doesn’t have to be a marriage manual.
  • What was the last adventure you took together? Could be just a motorcycle ride or a hike up Old Rag, stopping for a picnic on the way back. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • Do you spend time talking to your friends about your partner, telling them how much you appreciate the fact that your husband cooked dinner for you last night? Or are you always bad mouthing him?
  • Did you cook dinner for her last night?
  • Are you careful of your words? Are you kind or critical? [I don’t care if you think you’re just telling the truth. You don’t have to speak everything that you think is true.]
  • If you have trouble staying awake late or your health makes it difficult for you to have sex late at night, have you tried the middle of the afternoon? Sometimes it helps to plan ahead and schedule it, or tell your partner in the morning that you’d like to make love later.
  • A normal issue with older couples is dryness, have you tried a lubricant? Or if there’s another issue, try talking about it. Maybe there’s an easy remedy. Maybe there’s something you need to ask your doctor.
  • When was the last time you studied your partner and told him or her how great s/he looks to you? She’s not 20 anymore. Neither are you. There’s beauty in that.
  • Have you considered what makes your partner feel loved? It may be different than what makes you feel loved. You might like just spending time together. Your partner might appreciate if you took a few of his/her chores off his/her plate. You might like physical affection. S/he might like a small gift once in a while. Sometimes words of appreciation are important, even if you think s/he should know.
  • If there has been a betrayal, you really must come totally clean and ask forgiveness. And the betrayed partner, if s/he chooses to stay, must learn to forgive, and over time to let it go and not use it as a club. Get counseling.
  • We all screw up from time to time. Are you humble enough to ask forgiveness for even smaller offenses along the way? That’s different than just saying, “I told you I’m sorry.”
  • Have you tried lighting scented candles in your bedroom and creating a romantic atmosphere? [Generally, the glow of the TV doesn’t do that.]
  • Can you make a list of all the qualities you really DO appreciate about your partner?
  • If you are married, can you make a list of the things you really like about the institution of marriage? Know why you are together and not apart; and focus on that.
  • Are you each involved in things that keep life exciting and new? This gives you interesting stuff to talk about.
  • Do you still hold hands?
  • Do you still kiss for no reason?
  • If you choose to be with your partner, choose to be happy about it. Otherwise, you’re choosing to be miserable; and forgive my saying so, but that’s just plain stupid.

Yes, there are things that have gone wrong over the years.

No, you don’t see eye to eye on everything.

Yes, sometimes things get too familiar and you stop trying to be your charming self.

Just remember: Even though our society focuses on the superficial aspects of romance, like enhancing sexual performance, sex is just a small part of what goes into romancing your partner. Lovemaking only takes a few minutes out of your day. Everything else is foreplay; and how you manage foreplay will ultimately determine the quality of your lovemaking, with or without a pill. 


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