The New Love and Sex After 60: Completely Revised And Updated

Paperback | January 29, 2002

byRobert N. Butler, Myrna I. Lewis

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You may be getting older but love and sex are still a vital part of your life. Here is the book that speaks to your concerns about sex beyond the middle years. Two leading experts have completely updated and revised the classic guide on the subject to address the needs of our changing world in the new millennium. Inside you'll find:

- The truth about aging and how it affects sexual desire and lovemaking
- A thorough guide to common medical problems--and solutions
- New drugs that can improve and enhance sexuality--including the latest on Viagra
- Research on post-menopausal changes
- A detailed look at the procedures for easing and solving sexual problems
- Practical strategies for finding new relationships and staying sexually fit
- Advice to help your adult children understand your new relationships

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From the Publisher

LIFE CAN BE RICH AND FULL--AT ANY AGEYou may be getting older but love and sex are still a vital part of your life. Here is the book that speaks to your concerns about sex beyond the middle years. Two leading experts have completely updated and revised the classic guide on the subject to address the needs of our changing world in the n...

From the Jacket

LIFE CAN BE RICH AND FULL--AT ANY AGE You may be getting older but love and sex are still a vital part of your life. Here is the book that speaks to your concerns about sex beyond the middle years. Two leading experts have completely updated and revised the classic guide on the subject to address the needs of our changing world in the ...

Robert Neil Butler was born on January 21, 1927. He graduated from Columbia University. He was a physician, gerontologist, and psychiatrist. He was a lead investigator of one of the first interdisciplinary, comprehensive, longitudinal studies of healthy community-residing older persons, which resulted in the book Human Aging. He founde...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:402 pages, 8.2 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:January 29, 2002Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345442113

ISBN - 13:9780345442116


Extra Content

Read from the Book

The best authorities on whether love and sex can exist in later life are older people themselves. Frank and Marianne have been together forty-six years. They've led unremarkable lives in terms of success and lucky breaks and have had more than their share of tragedies. Yet in their late seventies they are enthusiastic, optimistic, and in love. Frank says of Marianne, "I love this woman more each day." Marianne replies, "I couldn't have asked for a better partner--he's kind, sweet, funny . . . he is everything a woman could want." Both are quick to add that it is their relationship that has been the core of their sense of satisfaction in life--and their sexual closeness is an indispensable part of their affection for each other. These two are not alone in their point of view. Any of us who has worked professionally with older people (or is older himself) could cite scores of examples of similar attitudes among older men and women, married or single.Sound research data beyond the clinical observa-tions of those workingwith older people is another story. The United States lacks a trulycomprehensive national survey of sexuality that encompasses the olderpopulation. The available information includes the important but nowoutdated and limited Kinsey studies (first published in 1948), thephysiologic investigations of Masters and Johnson, and the findings ofboth the Duke Longitudinal Studies and the Baltimore Longitudinal Studyon Aging. Questionnaire surveys of self-reported sexual activity amongolder people have been conducted by mail (for example, by ConsumersUnion), but these provide information only on those who volunteer. Otherstudies have age cutoffs for their subjects, usually at sixty orseventy. The outcome is that facts and figures on the nature andfrequency of sexual activity among older persons, including itsassociation with marital and health status or any other variable inpeople's lives, are unknown.One thing is certain, however. Our society is in the midst of an immensedemographic change. Every day over six thousand Americans turn sixty.Altogether, forty-five million people or one out of every six of us aresixty or older. By the year 2006 baby boomers will begin to dramaticallyexpand the ranks of the older population as they themselves startturning sixty. In about twenty five years, one in five Americans,including the boomers, will be over sixty-five--a historicallyunprecedented 20 percent of the population.The definition of old age is changing. In June 2000, The New YorkerMagazine ran a cartoon showing a woman announcing to her husband,"Good news, honey-- seventy is the new fifty." That same year a HarrisPoll found that only 14 percent of respondents believed chronologicalage was the best marker of old age. Instead, 41 percent cited a "declinein physical ability"--a highly variable event--as the best evidence ofthe beginning of old age. According to this definition, people in goodhealth are younger longer, whereas anyone who gets sick becomes oldersooner. As for disability itself, studies show that there have beensignificant declines in disability rates since 1982. Heart disease andstroke alone have been reduced 60 percent since 1950.In light of all this, what can we safely say about sexuality in laterlife? Our views on this topic have not yet caught up with the slowlychanging character of aging. Many people--not only the young andmiddle-aged but older people themselves--are quite uniformly negativeabout the prospects of continued sexual interest and ability. Manysimply assume that the game is over somewhere in late midlife or earlylater life. They couldn't be more wrong. In spite of the scarcity ofnationwide data, we turn to our own clinical and research work and thework of other gerontologists and researchers to demon-B strate thatrelatively healthy older people who enjoy sex are capable ofexperiencing it--often until very late in life. Frequently those who dohave sexual problems can be helped.We have written this book for those older men and women who arepresently or potentially interested in sexuality and would like to knowmore about what is likely to happen to their sexuality over time.We willoffer solutions to sexual problems that may occur, and propose ways ofcountering the negative attitudes that older people mayexperience--within themselves, from family members, from the medical andpsychotherapeutic professions, and from society at large. We especiallywant older people to know that their concerns and problems are notunique, that they are not alone in their experience, and that manyothers feel exactly as they do.Even those people who have had a livelyenthusiasm and capacity for sex all their lives often need information,support, and sometimes various kinds of treatment in order to continueengaging in sexual activity as the years go by. In addition, people forwhom sex may not have been especially satisfying in their younger daysmay find that it is now possible to improve the quality of theexperience despite their long-standing difficulties.Sex and sexuality are pleasurable, rewarding, and fulfilling experiencesthat can enhance the middle and later years. But they are also--aseveryone knows-- enormously complex psychologically. Every one of uscarries with us throughout our lives a weight of attitudes related tosexuality that have been shaped by our genes, our parents, our families,our teachers, and our society, some of which are positive and somenegative, some of which we realize and many of which we are unaware.Because of this, it is useful to understand what underlies so many ofthe attitudes and problems about sex that one encounters. If you are anolder person, be prepared for the likelihood of conflicting feelingswithin yourself and contradictory attitudes from the outside world.Should older people have sex lives? Are they even able to make love? Dothey really want to? Is it appropriate--that is, "normal" or"decent"--or is sexual interest a sign of "senility" and brain disease(he/she has gone "daft"), poor judgment, or an embarrassing inability toadjust to aging with the proper restraint and resignation?How much less troubling it would be to accept the folklore ofcookie-baking grandmothers who bustle around the kitchen making goodiesfor their loved ones while rocking-chair grandfathers puff on theirpipes and reminisce. Idealized folk figures like these are not supposedto have sex lives of their own. After all, they represent the parentsand grandparents we all remember from our childhood, rather than fellowadults with the same needs and desires that we have.As an older man or woman, you may find that love and sex in later life,when they are acknowledged at all, will be patronizingly thought of as"cute" or "sweet," like the puppy love of teenagers; but even morelikely, they will be ridiculed, a subject for jokes that haveundercurrents of disdain and apprehensiveness at the prospect of growingolder. Our language is full of telltale phrases: older men become "dirtyold men," "old fools," or "old goats" where sex is involved. Older womenare depicted as uniformly sexless or sexually unattractive. Most of this"humor" implies the impotence of older men and the ugliness of olderwomen.A mythology fed by misinformation surrounds late-life sexuality. Thepresumption is that sexual desire automatically ebbs with age--that itbegins to decline when you are in your forties or even earlier, proceedsrelentlessly downward (you are "losing it"), and eventually hits bottom(you are "over the hill") at some time between sixty and sixty-five.Thus an older woman who shows an evident, perhaps even a lusty, interestin sex is often assumed to be suffering from "emotional" problems; andif she is obviously in her right mind and sexually active, she runs therisk of being called "oversexed" or, more kindly, said to be clingingpathetically to her lost youth.

Editorial Reviews

"Marvelous . . . [This book] helps women and men . . . attain what the authors brilliantly delineate as the second language of sex."

"Everyone who is 60 (or older) should read this book.  Even I learned something!"