The idea that love and romance is only for young people has long been dead. In truth, age is no barrier for romance; any age at any time is suitable for romantic relationships. Emotional and physical health can remain vital provided exercise, diet and social engagement are integrated into a full and vibrant life throughout middle and old age.
Romance is the emotional attachment between two people, and is not necessarily associated with sex; sexual activity is not an essential element in romantic relationships. Old age romance can still be continued between married couples or display in single people at sometimes surprisingly late ages.
Meaningful loving connections are just as important to seniors as they are to younger people. The desire for closeness and intimacy may change over time, yet it doesn’t disappear. At any age, we need companionship, human connection, closeness, and someone to share our daily feelings, thoughts, and activities.
What is really good about romance in the older years
- Old age romance comes with greater calmness and maturity. Most often an old age romance simply reflects in sharing, caring and expressing feelings through companionship, conversation, and exchanging gifts. Old age brings more emotional depth and empathy, feelings that are genuine, loyal and valued.
- Romance has a massively rejuvenating effect on older people, enabling them to approach life with more interest, a spring in the step, and even noticeable dissipation of nagging aches and pains.
- A new enthusiasm is provided to the physical body. Romance means one feels more wanted, and can experience a greater purpose to life. Having sex releases endorphins and other hormones that help people to feel better and more motivated. Aging individuals can remain sexually active in spite of physiological changes and even bone fragility.
- Physical decline, like lack of mobility, often means you need to rely more on your partner in a way that was not necessary in earlier years. Couples should be willing to openly talk about these changes and address what is difficult for them. There may be a fear of joints seizing or fragile old bones fracturing. These are very real issues and must be renegotiated and accommodated by both individuals. Each couple needs to find the compromise that works best for their specific situation.
- There’s no doubt that stress on bones can cause pain – or even worse, a fracture. Your partner needs to know that while you may not be able to participate as before, there are techniques that can still create satisfying intercourse for both of you. There are great benefits in maintaining a healthy sex life because it can relieve stress by releasing endorphins into the brain that will generally improve overall well-being.
- Sexual dynamics improve when partners understand each other’s point of view, and empathise with what their partner is feeling. They can figure out solutions that take into account their different needs and preferences. For couples willing to address these challenges, an intimate relationship can bring much happiness and a stronger, more loving relationship than they might have imagined.
Famous couples who found love that lasted into the older years
- Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens: Kirk Douglas, a legendary Hollywood actor, married his second wife when they were both in their thirties – and they remained happily married for over 60 years.
- Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart: Harrison Ford, best known for his role as Indiana Jones, married Calista Flockhart, star of the TV show ‘Ally McBeal’ when he was 66 and she was 44. They have been together for over 20 years.
- Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were Hollywood royalty in the 1950s and 60s. They were happily married for 50 years until Newman’s death in 2008.
- Clint Eastwood and Dina Ruiz: Clint Eastwood, the legendary director and actor, married Dina Ruiz, a journalist, when he was 68. They were married for 17 years before their separation in 2013.
Love goes deep…deep as bone! And surprisingly, bones last well through all the ages of love. So, worry not…and love your bones!
NOFSA (National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa)
NOFSA is the only non-profit, voluntary health organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health. We focus on reducing the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis while working to find a cure for the disease, and by supporting research and developing programmes of education and advocacy.
Find out more about our work at: www.osteoporosis.org.za