Curl Up with a Good Book…and the One You Love

Reading is usually thought of as a solitary activity. Sure, back in our grade-school days, we sat around in groups and pretended to listen as one classmate after another read aloud, and then we blushed and stammered a bit when it was our turn.  But ever since we got out of school, we’ve done our reading alone.  Who knows, maybe it has something to do with those unpleasant school room memories.

Reading together is actually a very enjoyable past-time for people to share, especially when they’re in love, and even more when they’re reading about love. Curling up together with a good book can bring you and your partner closer — not only in a very real physical sense as you snuggle together and turn the pages, but in an emotional sense, as well.

There are a few things to keep in mind to make the experience as satisfying as possible.

COMFORT COUNTS

If either of you is uncomfortable, reading pleasure — and comprehension — is going to go downhill fast.  Prop up the pillows, adjust the lighting, make sure the room temperature is right, and that ceiling fans aren’t whipping the pages around.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME

Don’t rush through reading. Choose a time when you can relax and not worry about where you have to be later or all the things on a long to-do list. It doesn’t matter if you spend fifteen minutes or several hours reading together. What does matter is that you can fully enjoy the experience.

TUNE OUT DISTRACTIONS

Maybe a little music in the background is all right, but usually nothing works better for reading than quiet. Remember those blue-haired librarians who always shushed you? They did it for a reason.  Please do keep the television off, and shut off your cellphones, too.  Candles and incense might sound like good ideas, but they can easily become distractions. You can’t concentrate on reading — or your partner — if you’re worried about setting the curtains on fire, or if your eyes are watering from too much sweet-smelling smoke.

TAKE A CASUAL ATTITUDE

Nothing can spoil the fun of reading more than feeling that it’s mandatory. It’s not, you know. Reading together is supposed to be fun, not a chore. Neither of you should feel pressured or anxious. Some people read better than others. Some people just don’t enjoy reading aloud.  It’s fine if you do the reading and your partner listens. It’s fine the other way around, too. It’s even all right if neither of you reads aloud. In fact, you don’t even have to be reading from the same book or magazine.  Being together and sharing the activity is what makes it special. If you’re reading from separate books, newspapers, or magazines, take a moment now and then to share things that catch your interest.

DISCUSS WHAT YOU’RE READING

Talk about it. Ask questions. Express opinions. If you find a subject that catches your attention, build on that interest and seek out more books on the topic. Of course, if you start reading a book and quickly discover that one of you has lost interest or, if you’re reading non-fiction and one of you has strong negative feelings about the author’s premise, put the book aside and find something you can both enjoy.  The key word is discuss, not debate. Above all, don’t argue.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS…OR MORE

Reading isn’t always about words. Remember the picture books you enjoyed as a child? Adults can enjoy picture books, too, and no, I’m not talking about THOSE kinds of pictures. You know what I mean. I’m talking about picture books that take you to faraway places, or ones that offer new things to learn. Always wanted to visit Paris? Find a travel book, curl up together on a rainy morning, and wander the Champs-Elysees together. Or if art is your thing, check out a book of masterpieces and turn the pages slowly. These are the sort of books that are often called “coffee table” works, but they’re great for bedside tables, too. Even a cookbook makes for great reading. Pick out recipes you’d both like to try.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

Where you start is up to you, but some subjects are more suited for romantic bedtime reading than others.  Here are a few topics to consider:

Books on Love and Marriage

You’ll find lots of books written for couples, both for newlyweds and those who’ve been together for a lifetime. There are books for wives, books for husbands, and books to address specific problems.  Here are a few you might want to check out:

A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

The Secret of Happily Married Men

What a Husband Needs From His Wife

10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage

Books on Sexuality

For more intimate reading, you might want to explore massage techniques, or learn about Tantra. With the right book, reading can become a pleasurable “hands-on” experience.

Tantra for Erotic Empowerment: The Key to Enriching Your Sexual Life

The Essence of Tantric Sexuality

A Little Bit Kinky: A Couple’s Guide to Rediscovering the Thrill of Sex

A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy

The Art of Sensual Massage

Joke Books

What’s even more fun than reading in bed? Well, besides THAT.  How about reading and laughing in bed? Especially if you do your reading in the evening after a long, hard day, you might enjoy tickling each other’s funny bones with a good book of jokes.

Adult Only Joke Book

Dave Barry is Not Making This Up

The Mancode Exposed

Advice for a Happy Marriage: From Miss Dietz’s 3rd Grade Class

A Perfectly Funny Marriage

Picture Books

You’ll find lots of delightful picture book to explore, depending on your interests. Check out books on art, photography, travel, nature and wildlife, foods, cars, motorcycles, seashells…the list of possibilities is endless.

Paris in Color

Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary

The Sculptures of Picasso

The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy  Sunday Book

Wildlife: The Nature Paintings of Carl Brenders

The suggestions given here are only a few of the many, many possibilities for fun, relaxing, and romantic reading. In addition to non-fiction titles, try reading fiction, choosing from popular titles, romance, or erotica.

Or how about the classics? Poetry? Scriptures? There’s a huge world of books waiting to be read. So, indulge, enjoy, and share the experience with the one you love.

A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS ON FICTION

  • Fiction, like film, is subjective. Choose titles that appeal to both of you.
  • If you do your reading late at night, select “quiet” stories that will leave you in a restful, peaceful state of mind.
  • Don’t spoil a story for your partner. You might have the ending figured out early on, but keep it to yourself, OK?

Reading: Share it with the one you love.

Sex After Fifty – Myths and Realities

Sex After Fifty — Myths and Realities

When we’re young, we spend a lot of time thinking about how nice life will be when we’re older. When we’re older, we’ll have more money saved, we’ll have more time for the good things in life, and best of all, the kids will be grown, gone, and life will be so much easier.

Right?

Well, yes…maybe…and, no, not always.

Even assuming all of the above are true, i.e. more money, more time, fewer responsibilities, getting older brings its own array of new challenges. Aches, pains, vision and hearing problems. Arthritis. Bad backs. Dentures. Fallen arches. And the list goes on and on.

Years ago I worked for a delightful boss in his seventies, whose wife advised me to “enjoy yourself now, because the golden years are more than a bit tarnished.”

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women'...

Sex

Of course, when we’re younger and look forward to those golden years, one thing we rarely think about is intimacy. We take it for granted. Like breathing. As one man I know quipped one day, sex and breathing really are about the same. “You don’t think about either one until you can’t do it anymore,” he told me.

But, wait! Does getting older mean you have to give up intimacy?

Not exactly, although it may mean changing your ideas about what intimacy is, learing new ways to please your partner — and yourself — and for many couples, getting older can mean that sex gets even better.

“Sort of like a fine wine,” a friend remarked when we discussed the myths and realities of sex after fifty. “It improves with age,” she said with a smile.

The Myths

Probably the most common myth or misconception about sex and aging is that as we grow older we simply lose interest.

Nope. The good news is that there isn’t an age limit on sexuality. The even better news is that, according to a survey from the National Council on Aging, more than 70% of those over 60 who have regular intercourse say their sex lives are more satisfying now than when they were in their 40’s. Studies show, however, that at midlife and beyond, sexual satisfaction depends more on the overall quality of the relationship than it does for younger couples.

Another myth is that when older couples do have sexual relations, it’s what you might call “routine”. In other words, dull and not all that exciting.

Think again. Older lovers are more comfortable together, and therefore tend to be less inhibited. In a survey conducted by the University of Chicago a few years ago, over 3,000 people between the ages of 57 and 85 were interviewed. More than half said they gave or received oral sex. Even for those between the ages of 75 and 85, the rate was nearly a third.

OK, so what about the frequency of sex? Surely that’s going to decrease with age, right?

Not necessarily. It’s another myth for the most part, although the answer does depend somewhat on the individuals. Some couples are content with less-frequent intercourse, but most couples maintain the same patterns they’ve established in earlier years, rather it’s once a day, once a week, or once a month. Whatever has worked in the past, will still work.

Well…let’s back up a bit there. Some things won’t work like they did in the past. That’s where the realities of sex after fifty come in.

Realities

His erection probably won’t be what it was when he was younger, but that’s all right. It can still do what it needs to do. It might take a little longer, but since when has that been a problem? Longer arousal times mean more foreplay, more intimate talk, more pleasure.

But what if he really can’t perform? Medical conditions such as diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction, as can taking certain prescription medications. Does that mean sex is out of the question?

Of course not. It means it might be time to discuss the situation with a doctor. Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis all work by increasing blood flow to the penis. Another drug, Stendra, was approved by the FDA last year. There are also pumps, implants, and shots available. Do yourself — and your partner — a favor, gents. Have that little chat with your physician.

Another reality is that female parts don’t work quite the same either. Menopause can lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort, but there’s a quick fix for that. You’ll find a variety of different lubricants available. You might also want to discuss estrogen-based creams with your doctor.

One of the best realities about sex and aging is that it not only feels good, it’s good for you. People who remain sexually active over fifty are apt to be more active overall and tend to stay more physically fit. Regular exercise boosts the libido, keeps the heart healthy, and muscles strong.

Will sex change as you age? Yes, of course, it will. The most important reality to remember is that sex doesn’t always have to include intercourse, and it doesn’t always have to end with orgasm. Touching, kissing, stroking, cuddling, or “spooning” as it’s often called, can sometimes be every bit as exciting and pleasurable as the sex act itself, and many times it’s even more emotionally satisfying.

For younger lovers, sex can actually be stressful, with both individuals feeling pressured to “perform”. Older couples have no such worries. They’re much more willing to relax and let things happen — or not. Either way, the time spent sharing yourself and your body with the one you love brings a genuine satisfaction that young lovers can’t yet begin to imagine.

Why Sex Gets Better After Fifty

  • Female sex drive often increases after menopause because the ratio of testosterone to estrogen and progesterone shifts.
  • Orgasms may be more frequent, more intense — or both — for women after menopause.
  • Longer arousal times for men mean more time for foreplay and intimate talk.
  • Woman past menopause no longer have to worry about pregnancy, making it easier to relax and enjoy their sexuality.
  • Retiring or cutting back on work hours means more time to enjoy sex with your partner.
  • By the age of fity, you know your body and what gives you pleasure.
  • If you and your partner have been together for a long time, it’s easier for  you to communicate your needs.
  • As we age, we lose a lot of our inhibitions, making sex more of an adventure than ever.
  • Mature couples are more experienced and much more sexually confident.
  • Sex after fifty is driven more by love than hormones, and being loved brings the greatest satisfaction of all.

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