With Valentines Day around the corner, there are lots of articles, including a recent piece in the New York Times, on how to keep the spark in long-term marriages alive, but no one has actually come clean about the obstacles to geriatric sex.
No matter how motivated my husband and I -- 79 and 67, respectively, are to keep the spice in our marriage, there are some insurmountable obstacles:
Medicare limits the number of sex-enhancing drugs like Viagra and Cialis to five a month. God forbid, you should have too much fun! I can't begin to describe the panic that ensued when my husband dropped his last pill on the floor and I couldn't find my glasses.
Some couples practice "date night," which in our case is "date morning" because we're stronger and more rested (if we've only had to get up twice to pee). When we were young and had to be at work early and get the kids off to school, we rarely did it in the morning. And on weekends, we were nervous they might walk in. But if we thought when we were older, we wouldn't be interrupted, we were wrong. Now, they and the grandchildren call Saturday or Sunday mornings wanting to Skype.
Some experts recommend kissing every time you say goodbye, but for couples like us who are with each other close to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we NEVER say goodbye? Others suggest reading out loud to each other in bed, but I've been trying for 43 years to get my husband to shut up and refrain from reading me his favorite passages from the sports page, Moby Dick or show me the cartoons from the New Yorker.
Then there are the physical challenges like cramping. To protect my children who've always been revolted at the idea of their parents having sex, I will not go into further detail. After my husband broke his leg (not as a result of acrobatic sex) we decided to buy an alert system in case in fell and no one was home. He chose to wear the Lifeline button around his wrist rather than on a lavaliere around his neck.
In the throes of passion one morning, I grabbed his wrist to stop myself from falling off the bed and a siren as loud as a NYFD fire engine, accompanied by a bellowing voice, "ALERT! ALERT! ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?!" nearly gave both of us a heart attack.
Last Sunday, when we finished reading the paper and were beginning to snuggle, my husband said, "I really like this new toothpaste you bought." "Really," I responded. "I don't like the gel as much as the paste." "But it's got such a tangy flavor."
By this time I was getting mildly aroused. "Why are we talking about toothpaste?" we said looking deep into each others eyes and broke into a paroxysm of laughter.
No question that a sense of humor is one of the secrets to a long, successful marriage, a better Valentine than flowers or chocolate. But don't kid yourself, not nearly as romantic as a good f--k!