Coming of Age: Part 1Written by Dr. Dorree Lynn
A Valentine For Grown-Ups
And All Those Who Will Someday Be Over Fifty
Part One of Two
Every six seconds, an American man or woman enters sexual wilderness of life after 50. There are close to 60 million of us in our mid-50s and beyond. We are boomers, seniors, wise and sexy elders. We crisscross and belong to all walks of life. At no point in course of history have we lived so long and expected so much of human relationships. Yet when it comes to sex, we remain somewhere between gray and dark ages.
Many of us are lost souls, aging in a society that still worships Pepsi generation bombarded by images of 20-something, wafer-thin beauties and studs with pecs that we can no longer match. Young people remind us in their dances that sex is "dirty"— torrid and grinding. We may have our moments, but surely there must be a more gentle, affectionate, caring sexuality appropriate to our age. Viagra cannot be only answer.
At age 49, I was walking with man I was dating, ambling along a lovely rural road. In distance we saw a couple perhaps in their nineties walking slowly, holding hands. Studying them on quiet country road, he turned to me and said, "if we are fortunate, that will be us — in bed as well as walking”. I knew I wanted to age with wisdom, and companionship, love and sex. A good man was getting harder to find. A hard man, for whom both love and sex mattered, was getting even harder to find. I married him.
I had a paucity of role models for what I wanted. And, I knew from my women friends, I was not alone. Our parents’ generation didn’t have our views and couldn’t supply our needs. They didn’t discuss sex. My friends and I had to invent our own confusing path defining sex and sexuality for grownups. We were surrounded by a society that stubbornly clung to negative images about elders having sex. The thought of older people making love still tends to stir reactions ranging from amusement to disgust. The idea of couples in their 80s or 90s having intercourse remains unfathomable to younger set. Unfortunately, it remains unspeakable to those having it as well.
Is It A Crisis Or Does It Just Feel Like OneWritten by Dr. Dorree Lynn
Part one of a series on psychotherapy
Contrary to way most of us think about crises, genuine crises are few and far between. Life or death situations such as serious illness, a bad accident, or a suicide attempt are crises that must be dealt with in moment. An out of control alcoholic spouse, a physically abusive parent, a child swallowing poison, aftermath of rape, are all crises that require immediate attention. In these situations you will need to call a trusted relative or friend, a crisis hot line, 911, your physician, or go to local emergency room. You must take action now. Almost all other situations such as a divorce or your child having a behavior problem just make you feel as though you must do something this second. You want to do almost anything to stop pain, but, in fact, you don't have to do anything in moment. You have time to think and to find best help you can.
Ask yourself an important question. Is what you are facing really a crisis or does it just feel like one? Although we live in a culture that demands instant gratification and instant solutions, in actuality there is very little that must be acted on immediately. What most people consider a crisis is simply an overwhelming sense of panic, an intense reaction to a conflict or difficult situation. Since life will always hand us "hard times," it helps to understand that we can learn to manage a situation that feels "out of control." Human beings are remarkably resilient and tend to bounce back even when it feels as though they never will. All cultures understand that upheaval can result in growth. The Chinese symbol for crisis or obstacle is same one that represents opportunity. This is a notion to which I adhere, as a psychotherapist and as a human being.