Dr Ruth Says Sex Can Always Be A Joy When You’re Older

Our bodies change with age and we can’t do a lot of the things we did when we were young. But that doesn’t mean people can’t enjoy sex in their 60s, 60s and beyond.

So says Dr Ruth Westheimer, whose radio show Talk sexually aired nationally in the 1980s. I caught up with her recently and at 93 and a half (she reminded me to add half of the year) she is alive and throwing: on a 25-minute phone interview from the Washington Heights apartment where she’s lived for decades, she plugged in two books, one of them The sex of Dr Ruth after 50 years, the other will be released next year; a movie on its streaming on Hulu, and the cover of a solo piece, Become Dr Ruth, which will open in December at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, with Tovah Feldshuh.

“She played Golda Meir. She played Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Now, Ruth Westheimer. I’m in very good company, ”she said with her high-end German accent, marveling and reveling in his fame at the same time. (She also recently did a Q&A to 92sd Y Street in New York.)

And it was not an “interview” per se; it was more like setting the chords of a jazz improvisation à la Miles Davis or Sonny Rollins on the theme of sex. Each question produced advice delivered with the certainty of an old-school Jewish grandmother, but on a subject few grandmothers of all backgrounds dare to venture into.

Dr Ruth, who is not a doctor of medicine but has a doctorate. in education at Teachers College at Columbia University, and studied and taught human sexuality at the New York Hospital and its medical school, began by saying that the word for sex in Hebrew is ladat, to know. In the famous King James version of the Bible from 1611, the biblical figures knew each other and begotten to the left and to the right.

“People should know that after a certain age – I’m not giving an exact age – the erection is not as strong,” she said. In fact, nearly 70% of men in their 70s suffer from erectile dysfunction.

“There is less lubrication in the vagina, and people need to know that,” she continued, “because if… a man and a woman have sex with an improperly lubricated vagina, it’s painful. And she’s going to say it hurts. Who needs it? “

So how do you deal with biological realities? Dr Ruth was there before I even asked. “Older people should have sex in the morning, not at night. They should get up in the morning, go to the bathroom, have breakfast, go back to bed. Because in the morning it is easier for men to get an erection.

But beyond the mechanics of sex, does it change with age? Is it more privacy and less of the act itself?

“I want people to be thankful if they have a partner,” she said. “This is true for homosexuals or heterosexuals, especially at times like today, with this experience of isolation and loneliness. People who have partners should rejoice. They shouldn’t bring old grudges into the bedroom.

They should also feel free to fantasize. “Fantasies are very important,” she said. “However, if you think you are having sex with your neighbor, don’t talk about it. Keep your mouth shut. ”What your partner doesn’t know about what’s going on in your brain won’t hurt him.

And, as she insisted in the 1980s, when AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases were rampant, she said that men in new couples who don’t know each other’s story should wear a condom.

However, not everyone is attached. According to Pew Research, 27% of American adults aged 60 and over live alone. “For older people who don’t have a partner,” she said, “I want them to masturbate.”

Then, with exquisite timing, she delivered the punchline: “And be careful not to have the Zoom turned on.”

Ka-ching! Who says borscht belt humor is dead?

Dr Ruth said single elderly people should not have inhibitions about masturbation either. “There is no time for feelings of guilt. There is no time or place.

And if you need outside stimulation, go for it, she advised. Breaking away from feminist critics, who say that pornography objective and dehumanizes women, it is pro-porn as long as there are no children around. “Watch a sexy movie. It can be pornographic. It doesn’t have to be, ”she said. “It can be an old movie, like Blown away by the wind.

Uh, Blown away by the wind? Presumably she was talking about the sizzling chemistry between Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, not the Atlanta fire?

When I suggested very kindly that she might be showing her age, she said, “It’s okay. Tell them there are new sexually explicit movies. Indeed there is.

All kidding aside — and I’m sure Dr. Ruth is a good sport — his life story sends a serious message.

As a 10-year-old girl in Nazi Germany, she saw the Gestapo take her father away the week after Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazi thugs destroyed hundreds of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses. Her mother and grandmother sent her on a Kindertransport to Switzerland where she experienced war while her family was murdered in the Holocaust.

She ended up in Israel, where she served as a scout and sniper in the Haganah during the New Nation’s War of Independence against the invading armies of five Arab countries. She almost lost both of her legs in a bomb attack that killed some of her friends.

In 1956, she emigrated to the United States and became a quintessentially American success story. I asked him how someone who has seen the worst of mankind can live without bitterness.

“That doesn’t mean I’m forgetting about it,” she said. “But I learned to make the most of every situation, period. It is my philosophy of life. Rejoice to be alive.

They say living well is the best revenge. And sex is one of the joys of life, at any age.


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