Mutual understanding vital for sex in your sixties
By Rochmat Darodjat
BANDUNG (JP): "Frankly, my husband and I still need sex," says 62-year-old Rokayah loudly to a cheering audience in a seminar.
"I say this in front of you all, men and woman of my age, with a sincere intention to share experiences and to lift up your spirit not to stop enjoying sex."
While looking at her husband, the retired teacher added that, "With God's name and with the title of hajjah in front of my name, I say it one more time, we don't want to be hypocrites, we still need sex." Hajjah is a title given to a Muslim woman who has performed the haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Listening to his wife, Rokayah's husband could not stop laughing, clapping his hands just like other participants in a dialog titled Do Old People Still Need Sex?. The dialog, which was held along with a discussion of a book about sex for the elderly by physician Suparto, was organized during a recent book exhibition at Landmark Convention Hall in Bandung.
Speakers at the dialog were Suparto, psychologist Ria Dewi Ariani and gynecologist Hany Rono.
Another female participant, 59-year-old Liem Sio Hoa, also said she still needed sex despite her age. Unfortunately, her husband could no longer satisfy her need. He has lost his power and spirit, forcing her to satisfy herself in her own way.
She said when she could not bear the urge, she would go to her private swimming pool and masturbate.
Gynecologist Hany explained that in old age, men lose their sexual ability faster than women.
"Men usually have strong sexual drives at a young age and it declines with old age," said the expert, who is also a host in a sex dialog titled Buka Pintu (Open the Door) at a radio station in Bandung.
"If young men can have sex three times a week, they might only be able to do it once in two weeks at older age. If they force themselves to do it, their 'service' will not satisfy their wives, or cannot make their wives reach orgasm."
There are several signs of people who are reaching their old age. According to Suparto, two of the main signs are the inability to concentrate and the lack of confidence.
"The two symptoms really affect one's sexual ability," he said.
In his book Seks Untuk Lansia (Sex for Elderly People), which was published by PT Remaja Rosdakarya Bandung, Suparto offers several suggestions to slow down the aging process.
"Don't let yourself get used to doing nothing, especially sleeping the whole day, letting the body get 'rusty' and unhealthy," said the physician.
"Make yourself busy. You can exercise your body and your mind, such as by doing crosswords, watching quizzes on television or having discussions with anybody," said Suparto, who has written another book, Sehat Menjelang Usia Senja (Healthy at Old Age).
In the latter he says, "At old age, don't stop physical activities, don't stop thinking and don't stop meeting people."
Psychologist Ria Dewi Ariani argued that strong understanding and love between husbands and wives are the main solution to counter sex problems in old age.
For instance, she said, husbands who have retired spend more time with their wives and families at home, while the wives tend to their husbands, who usually become more annoying at old age.
"Mutual understanding is necessary here. Elderly couples who have good mutual understanding and love will retain their fire of love as Ibu Rokayah and her husband do."