Mature adults re-entering the dating scene will appreciate the new book by Susan Kiner, Sex After 60-New Rules for Dating for the Next Third of Your Life. It provides helpful advice on gracefully starting over in the dating scene.
Sex After 60: Interview with Susan Kiner
About the Book
LTK: Why did you feel there was a need for this book?
- After reading my novels (a series in which the protagonist is a single over 50 securities attorney, who enjoys a lusty love life) many of my friends suggested I write, Sex After 60 - New Rules For Dating For the Next Third of Your Life.
- A major difference between Baby Boomers and previous generations is that they will be economically stronger than the preceding generation. This is primarily because more Baby Boom women are having careers, while their mothers did not. As a result, they will enjoy two pension checks and two social security checks. It will be less likely that a woman who has survived her husband will live off only a survivor benefit. It's more probable that a widow will live off a survivor benefit plus her own pension and social security income.
- For better or worse, there have been alterations in the beliefs and rules governing courtship, marriage, family formation, divorce, and definitions of accepted gender related behavior.
- The fact that many Baby Boomers are retiring or are approaching retirement, thus obliging husbands and wives to spend much more time together than ever before, has also led to older people seeking divorce.
LTK: What groundwork did you do to prepare for this book?
Susan Kiner: I interviewed extensively for the book, not confining myself to women or to the over 60. Some of the most terrific interviews conducted were with men. Then I did exhaustive research about women's health issues, how to make senses (touch, sight, smell, etc.) work for you, the best places to meet men (both geographically - where in the country are the most single mature men - and how to meet them in your own home town).
The Dating Scene
LTK: How is the dating scene different for those over 60?
Susan Kiner: When we were in high school or college, the competition was limited. There were a finite number of females in the "dating pool." Some of today's potential competition hadn't yet been born. It's true that certain men prefer the company of women many years their junior. As Tony Soprano would say, "fuggetaboutit." Write them off. You'll never make it with them because you don't have what they're looking for. Be pragmatic and don't beat a dead horse. Move on.
You're different than you were. You have maturity. You can converse intelligently on a wide variety of subjects. You've experienced life-both the good and the bad. You can look back with laughter and nostalgia as you reminisce with men your age, older, or even younger.
LTK: Do most people in their 60s want a relationship or a fling?
Susan Kiner: Most are looking for a relationship. That doesn't necessarily mean marriage, just companionship, fun and sex. However, if the relationship is wonderful - marriage ensues.
It is amazing that even "mature" adults repeat the mistakes of the past. Perhaps they've had a failed marriage (or two). The number of people, men and women, who cite fundamental differences when assessing the reason for a failed marriage, has amazed me. Dissimilarities in background, education, and religion top the list. If you and your ex spouse(s) were from diverse cultural backgrounds, had differing family experiences, differing levels of education, and a different religion, perhaps it is time to re-think what to look for in a new relationship.
While it may be true that opposites attract, and it has been tried (more than once) and if you found it had no staying power, now is the time to consider someone who is more like you.
Dating After 60
LTK: What were some of the most common questions?
Susan Kiner: The most often asked question is "Are all the good ones taken?" Recently a cousin complained, "I could have dates every night, but the men down here (in South Florida) are awful. It must be something in the water. Don't any of them have a mirror? Or a brain?" What did she mean? What's the matter with mature single men today? The answer may be loneliness, and the inability to cope with it.
Some men, who are single after being married most or all of their adult lives, just can't seem to "get it together." They don't seem to be as resilient as women. Most men don't have a social network. Many men can't even dress themselves properly. They need someone to tell them what to wear, when to get a haircut, or buy new underwear.
The answer is simple: Men-look in the mirror. Clean up your act. Learn to use an iron instead of being seen in public resembling an unmade bed. A man's appearance can make the statement that he respects himself. Many men can't or won't follow this advice. Those who can and will are the undiscovered gems. They're the good ones-not yet taken. Every day a new crop of potential "good ones" comes on the market.
LTK: Can dating during menopause still be fun?'''
Susan Kiner: During perimenopause, the months or years prior to menopause, levels of two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, vary irregularly. This happens as the ovaries struggle to keep up with the needs of an aging woman's body. The symptoms of menopause can result from these changing hormone levels. Even after menopause, when a woman's ovaries make much less estrogen and progesterone, the symptoms may continue.
Menopausal hormone therapy may help control these symptoms. Women who had their uterus removed can use estrogen alone to control her symptoms. Estrogen comes in many forms and dosages. One can use a skin patch or vaginal tablet or cream, take a pill, or get an implant, shot, or a vaginal ring insert.
A woman whose uterus is still intact must take progesterone or a progestin (synthetic progesterone) along with the estrogen. Progesterone or progestin is often taken as a pill, sometimes as part of the same pill as the estrogen. It also comes in patch form, shot, IUD (intrauterine device), vaginal gel, or suppository. This will prevent unwanted thickening of the lining of the uterus and reduce the risk of cancer of the uterus, an uncommon, but possible result of using estrogen alone.
The form your doctor suggests may depend on your symptoms. For example, patches or pills can relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. They will also slow or prevent bone loss and help delay osteoporosis while you are using them. Other forms-vaginal creams, tablets, or rings-are used to alleviate vaginal dryness, making "mature" sex feel just like when you were young.
LTK: What do men want?
Susan Kiner: I've divided this category into what older men want and what younger men want, and devote an entire chapter to it. Some older men want a woman to take care of them. If this turns you off-move on. Some want a companion with whom to enjoy their golden years. Some want friendship-not sex. Some want sex, and lots of it. Gloria Steinem refers to them as "the Viagra-crazed seventy-year-olds."
If sex is more important to you than it is to him, then you must ask him why. Depending on his answer, you'll have to decide whether you want the relationship to continue. Most men over 60 need some help in this department. Those who are unwilling to make this a priority before marriage will most certainly not do so after. Move on.
With maturity comes wisdom. Talking things through with a mature woman is often very comforting to a younger man. The guidance of a mature woman can help him not only in his career, but also in his interpersonal relationships. With age frequently comes the crumbling of inhibitions. Many younger men thoroughly relish the freedom from sexual inhibitions many older women offer.
Older women as a group often have their own economic and social standing. They have a power base, and are now able to select the man that they want rather than having to choose a man for financial support and to give them social status.
LTK: What tips can you offer those 60 and older to help them smoothly re-enter the dating game?
Susan Kiner: The old tried and true method of introductions by friends and family still works. It's safe because someone you know and trust, knows and trusts him. I call this the credible introduction. Many religious organizations sponsor senior singles clubs. You can meet people at work, whether paid or volunteer.
I urge all "mature" singles to just get out there! You won't meet anyone sitting in front of your television set.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Susan Kiner for sharing her advice. If you're ready to "get out there", get a copy of Sex After 60-New Rules for Dating for the Next Third of Your Life. For updates on its release date, as well as information on her other books, visit Susan's Facebook page.