he following excerpt is from an article that ap­peared in the September-October 1999 issue of

Modern Maturity magazine.

Recently I was talking to my girlfriend, who is a sextu­ple heart-bypass veteran, about my husband. She had been calling me to help support me during my hus­band’s hospitalization with chest pain. He was sched­uled for an angiogram and possible angioplasty.

"You know, Carolyn, you will have sex again." I was shocked. She said it so quietly that it just slipped into the conversation. At that point I hadn’t even thought about sex. I just wanted to know how to keep him alive. I figured my best contribution would be in the kitchen. Once I started preparing healthier foods for him, clogged arteries would be a thing of the past.

"All Mike has to do," said Millie, "is walk up two flights of stairs without getting winded. As soon as he can do that, it’s all right." "No treadmill test to pass first?"

I asked. "Two flights of stairs, and he can have sex."

I saw him that afternoon, and he was still miffed at his bad luck. He was 52 and the cause of his trouble had been stress and genes. I relayed Millie’s news to him. Despite being drugged and sporting tubes con­nected to an IV and assorted monitors, he nevertheless gave me a smile.

A week later, after undergoing an angioplasty to open an artery that had been 95 percent blocked, Mike was discharged. The only directions he had been given,

other than which medications to take, was that he could not drive for two days. He refused to take it easy and grew antsy whenever I drove him anywhere. Precisely 48 hours after being released, he got into his Jeep and drove around until dinnertime.

On day four, Mike said, "I want to show you some­thing," and led me to the stairwell. He jogged down the stairs, then back up. I started to ask what he was doing, but he held up his finger. Then he went back down and jogged up again. He was breathing easily. That’s when it dawned on me. At the top of the stairs, he took my hand and led me to the bedroom.

"No!" I cried. "This is way too soon." He looked me in the eyes. "I’ve gotta know."

There are a lot of things that crowd into a woman’s mind at a time like this. "Forget it. Call 911 if anything happens." Fear gripped me. Then I said something that contravened my 25 years of feminist thinking: "Don’t try to please me, okay? Just get it over with as fast as you can."

My memory of the occasion is clouded by the chant that washed through my mind: Call 911 . . . call 911 . . . call 911. It seemed like an eternity. All I wanted was for it to be over safely. I got my wish. Just at the right moment, he whispered in my ear, "I’m still alive!"

Looking back, I’d say that was probably the worst sex we’ve ever had. Yet, in my heart, it was also the best.

Source: From Dobel, 1999.

Figure 10.17

The majority of elderly people main­tain an interest in sex and sexual activity.

 

The Best Sex I Ever Had

Подпись: ReviewQuestion Identify and explain some of the physiological changes that occur with aging. How might these affect the sexual response cycle? Подпись:Подпись:lems, such as arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis can also interfere with sexual func­tioning. We will discuss many other physical problems, such as illness, surgery, and in­juries that can affect sexual functioning in Chapter 14.

The stereotype that sex worsens with age is not inevitably true. A key to sexual en­joyment later in life is for partners to learn more about each other and to be patient and understanding with each other. Physical fitness, good nutrition, adequate rest and sleep, a reduction in alcohol intake, and positive self-esteem can all enhance sexuality throughout the life span. As one man notes:

The age of one’s mind and spirit is the determiner that affects all relationships and sex at any age. Age is irrelevant, our culture has made too much of this. We must ignore the public relations commercials in regard to age and sex (always young male and fe­male couples) and begin to see each other as loving persons who need, desire, and can give love—whatever our ages. (Hite, 1981, p. 900)

^ Safer-Sex behaviors————————————————– ‘

What exactly is safe sex? Does it mean wearing a condom? Limiting sex partners? Not engaging in oral, anal, vaginal, or casual sex? Although safe sex does include condom use, it also refers to specific sexual behaviors that are “safe” to engage in because they protect against the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections. However, there are no sexual behaviors that protect a person 100% of the time (with the exception of ab­stinence, solo masturbation, and sexual fantasy). Therefore, maybe the real question is, “Is there really any such thing as safe sex?” In response to that question, it may be more appropriate to refer to safer-sex behaviors, because we do know there are some sexual behaviors that are safer than others (see Sex in Real Life, “Safer-Sex Behavior Guidelines”). In Chapter 15 we will discuss high-risk sexual behaviors.

All sexually active people should be aware of the risks associated with various sex­ual behaviors. Not only should people decrease the number of sexual partners, they must learn more about the backgrounds of their partners, avoid unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse and other risky activities, and use barrier contraception. In Chapter 13 we will discuss what types of lubricants to use with condoms.

Research has shown that college students are aware of their partner’s prior sexual history, past condom use, and HIV status only about half the time (Buysse, 1998). In one study, male college students were more likely to ignore past sexual history with partners who were physically attractive (Agocha & Cooper, 1999).

Even though most people feel anxious about the possibility of acquiring an STI, ca­sual sexual activity has increased in the past several years, and there have been very few increases in heterosexual safer-sex behaviors (Moore, 1999). Although there has been a gradual increase in condom use, there have been very few changes in the heterosexual behavior of male and female college students; in fact, no significant changes in sexual behavior have been noted. Overall, effective safer-sex negotiation is more an exception than the rule in dating couples (Buysse & Ickes, 1999).

One item worth mentioning in the promotion of safer sex is the dental dam, which is a square piece of thin latex, similar to the latex used in condoms, that can be used to pre­vent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. It is stretched across the vulva or anus to prevent the exchange of bodily fluids. It is available without a prescription in many drugstores across the United States and now comes in a variety of flavors and colors.

One behavior that has been clearly linked to unsafe sexual behaviors is drinking al­cohol. As pointed out earlier in this chapter, drinking alcohol can cause impaired judg­ment. In one study, 75% of college students had made decisions while under the influence of alcohol that they later regretted (Poulson et al., 1998). In fact, alcohol use is one of the most important factors that is repeatedly linked to unsafe sexual behavior (Wechsler & Issac, 1992). Young men and women who drink alcohol are seven times

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