Born in 1945 just before the war ended, I still can remember the ruins when I was walking through Berlin with my mother. I was only 5 years old. We left when I was 7, but I still remember those images. I also remember my mother almost jealously saying to me when I grew older, that I have it so good, everything is there, no war and no threatening life interruptions.
Most of us were going to school, provided with an education, having a tangible future, enjoying material comfort, medical care, going on holidays, having a normal life. Baby boomers do not have to adjust to disruptive changes as our parents had to. Our life is safer.
So we do not want to loose what we have, and this means less readiness in accepting changes and losses. But getting older means both personal and biological major life-changes and sometimes grief. Financial institutions prepare us for financial retirement, but there is little help with emotional coping.
Common issues that receive little attention are our sexual and relational changes as we mature in age.
My clients, both couples and individuals, often say that they feel a great sense of loss when:
- Erection problems and impotence dominate their sex lives.
- Ejaculation problems, mainly premature ejaculation, cause grief, concern and anger.
- Desire, arousal and orgasmic changes and difficulties in both men and women can add to a sense of worthlessness, abandonment and depression.
- For those who have lived alone for an extended period of time it may be a scary thought to return to a sexual relationship.
- People who recover from /or live with a terminal illness and would like some advise on how to return to a perhaps changed but satisfying sexual partnership.
As much as financial security matters to quality of life, so does personal high self-esteem, in other words this feeling of being alive, connected and full of energy and joy that a healthy personal and sexual self image can provide.
People often come to my private practice concerned with the ‘loss of their sex life’ and a ‘boring dissatisfying relationship’.
Examination of these complaints often reveal a common problem in relationships – long-standing and unresolved issues of a non sexual nature. The solution here is couples or individual counselling with the goal of mending the differences that have made intimacy difficult in the first place.
Couples and individuals will learn new skills of assertive communication and the joy of connecting and togetherness, relating and sexual happiness.
Heide McConkey is a Counsellor and Sexual Health Therapist.