I’ve recently met a woman to whom I’m very much attracted. We’ve spent time together doing things we both enjoy and feel that we have much in common. Trouble is we’re quite a bit older now (I’m 81 and she is 76 years old) and I’m not sure if I want to keep this at the friendship level or become more involved and serious with her. We haven’t talked about this and in the back of my mind is the question about how to bring up becoming intimate. Is it ok to have a sexual relationship at our age?
Dearie: Oh my goodness. I didn’t think we’d be having to answer those kind of questions.
Barbara: Mama, I think you’re blushing!
Dearie: Well it’s not the easiest thing to talk about, especially to you. It seems to me it should be something just between the two people.
Barbara: I know, it’s a little uncomfortable for me, too. But you know, it’s very real. Couples do continue to have sex even as they get older. And in fact, this gentleman is asking that exact question: is it okay, and how to ask her if she is interested.
Dearie: I don’t want to sound too much like a prude because I know a lot has changed since Daddy and I got married. And maybe it’s for the better. I guess people talk about sex more easily and birth control certainly changed things.
Barbara: Birth control isn’t the problem here!
Dearie: Of course not, I was just saying that birth control made talking about sex easier and having sex be more casual. I’m not so sure I like that.
Barbara: Right, so let’s talk about this for this gentleman. What do you think, do they have to be married or have a commitment to each other before they sleep together?
Dearie: What I think is that this is not just about the two of them. Maybe they have children who have an opinion about this.
Barbara: But Mama, why should that matter? It’s just between them, isn’t it?
Dearie: No, I don’t think so. He’s over 80 years old. What if he gets sick or doesn’t live much longer? He’s become involved with this woman and then she’s left alone, or having to take care of him.
Barbara: Shouldn’t that be her decision? All to the point that they should have a conversation. Mama, have you ever been interested in getting married again, since Daddy died?
Dearie: No sweetie. I do miss having someone with me every day, someone to cuddle with. When you and your brother visit, it’s wonderful but it’s not the same. It just feels like it would be too hard now to learn to be with another person – you know, to learn the give and take of a marriage. I’m ok. I hope you know that.