Couple sexuality in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s is energizing and satisfying. The good news is that there is solid scientific evidence that couples can be sexual at least until 85. The bad news is that between 60-65 one in three couples have stopped sex and between 70-75 it becomes two of three . Both professionals and the public are surprised to learn that contrary to gender expectations in the great majority of couples the choice is the man’s .He makes it unilaterally and conveys it non-verbally. The major reason is he has lost confidence in erections and intercourse and says to himself “I don’t want to start something I can’t finish.” This choice has major negative impacts on the man, woman, and couple. He not only stops intercourse, but all types of sensual, playful, and erotic touching-sometimes even affection. Unlike younger couples it is unlikely the couple will divorce, but they exist in an empty marriage, not feeling desire or desirable.
The key to healthy sexuality with aging involves three core components
- Redefining sexuality as a couple process of sharing pleasure rather than an individual sex performance.
- Embracing Good Enough Sex (GES) to include sensual, playful, and erotic scenarios in addition to intercourse. Sex is no longer defined as a pass- fail intercourse performance.
- Adopting the Female-Male Sexual Equity model and confronting the traditional double standard. Healthy couple sexuality involves being intimate and erotic allies.
Sexuality with aging is more genuine and human-you need each other as intimate and erotic allies.
This five hour workshop explores the reasons couples give up sex and how to create a couple sexuality with aging that integrates desire/pleasure /eroticism/satisfaction. We will describe the four session assessment model, tailoring interventions to the needs of the couple, utilize psychosexual skill exercises, especially the Dimensions of Sexual Touch exercise, adopt the Good Enough Sex model with both intercourse and erotic scenarios, and promote acceptance of both synchronous and asynchronous scenarios. We advocate for a psychobiosocial model to assess and treat sexual problems such as sexual pain, erectile dysfunction, non-orgasmic response, and ejaculatory inhibition as well as the most common sexual problem-low desire and desire discrepancies. In addition, we will create an individualized relapse prevention plan and how to monitor it.
- Describe a pro-sexuality approach to assessment and treatment of sexual problems and concerns for couples after age 60
- Explain the psychobiosocial model for sexual function and dysfunction, especially illness and disability factors
- Discuss the Good Enough Sex model to promote desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction with aging.
- Describe how to create and monitor an individualized relapse prevention plan.
- Myths and iatrogenic understandings which subvert couple sexuality after 60
- Female-Male Sexual Equity and confronting the traditional double standard
- Five dimensions of touch and ending “sex =intercourse”
- Embracing the couple-oriented Good Enough Sex model
- Dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual plus, and alternative sexualities couples
- Sexuality among singles or new couples
- Integrating the mantra of desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction
- Dealing with illness and disability
- Integrating medical interventions in the couple sexual style
- Valuing a satisfying, secure, and sexual relationship
Barry W. McCarthy, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP), certified marital and sex therapist, and a tenured professor of psychology at American University. His clinical expertise focused on integrating sex therapy strategies and techniques into individual and couple therapy, assessment and treatment of the most common male and female sexual problems, and a special expertise in the treatment of sexual desire disorders.
Dr. McCarthy earned his BA from Loyola University and his MA and PhD from Southern Illinois University. His professional memberships include the American Psychological Association, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, Society for Sex Therapy and Research, and Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He is a Diplomate in sex therapy earning this from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.
As a leading expert in this field, Dr. McCarthy has presented over 350 workshops around the world, and his extensive list of publications includes over 100 professional articles, 26 book chapters, and co-authorship of 14 books, including Rekindling Desire (2nd edition), Sexual Awareness (5th edition), Enduring Desire, Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style, Men’s Sexual Health, Coping with Erectile Dysfunction, Getting It Right the First Time, and Coping with Premature Ejaculation.