Friday, July 22, 2011

Is a person ever too old to enjoy romance and sex?

I actually had to research this medically because I've been writing mostly from my gut which insistently screams "no" to this question. Part of me can't help laughing at the very idea that after 50 a person would simply wake up one day, turn a year older, and bam--all lascivious thoughts would simply stop. I'm not saying there aren't changes, but those happen between 18 and 21, after childbirth, after accidents, etc and so on. It would take a lot to convince me that age alone is a factor. Most medical sites stipulated a 50+ audience as if that birthday were a milestone after which every experience for the remaining 20-50 years of a person's life is too similar to merit separate discussion. Here is one site that seemed clued in to reality in a much more realistic way. I at least found the information more impartial about the matter. I ignored the others I found in a burst of Baby Boomer stubbornness.

I have a single title (non-series) book out to beta readers and my editor who I hope will be looking at this one twice. In this story is a sexy scene featuring a 72 yr old man and 68 year old woman. It's a little more steamy even than what you might find in movies like "Cocoon" that tried years ago to bust the myth that people simply got too old to want the basic human connection that romantic love offers. That movie clearly showed the "want".

There is also a scene in my story where the son (Morgan--aka my hero) asks his father (Gerald--my 72 old) a question about how he manages to have relationship luck with so many women in his life. Morgan was mostly teasing and being sarcastic. I made the father completely unrepentant in his reply which involves a honest revelation the son wasn't quite expecting.

“Go back and convince Thea that your interest in Amy is friendship and your interest in her is more. It’s not rocket science,” Gerald told his son, amused at the distress on Morgan’s face.

“How the hell do I do that?” Morgan demanded, exasperated that everyone seemed to know but him. There was a good reason he didn’t have any experience. He had never in his life chased a woman who had given him such a obvious brush-off.

“For starters, keep showing up at the restaurant. Get in Thea’s face,” Gerald said, shrugging. “Surely you know what to do once you get that far.”

Morgan threw a roll at his father who let it bounce off his shoulder as he laughed. “Get in her face. That’s your expert advice. How in the hell do you have every woman in this town falling all over you?”

Gerald pulled the pill he’d carried all day out of his shirt pocket and pushed it over to Morgan.

Curious, Morgan picked it up and read the side of it to see what kind of supplement it was. Once he did, he immediately returned the pill to his father’s side of the table, his face flushing while his father laughed. Morgan couldn’t hold his gaze and had to look at the table.

“Well, you asked to know my secret. That’s how I keep one of them very interested. Some women are more complicated,” Gerald said, grinning at the flush still on Morgan’s face. “Sorry if I embarrassed you. I thought we covered this when you were seventeen. No one told me adult kids would need a refresher course. I’d have talked to you in your thirties. At forty-four, you’re almost too old to change your ways now.”

“Damn it, Dad,” Morgan said, finally leaning his face into his hand and laughing himself. “I don’t need physical assistance—or at least not yet. I need to know how to talk to Althea right.”

Gerald leaned back in his chair. “You know, Sedona agrees with you, Morgan. You’re getting smarter every day you’re here.”

Morgan snorted in disbelief. “So you going to seriously help me or not?”

“Show up. Compliment the food. Let Thea catch you staring at her so she’s clear about your intentions,” Gerald said. “That should get the ball rolling. Hopefully, Amy will have cleared up the incident from today. Cross your fingers for timing and good luck.”

“And these are your best suggestions?” Morgan demanded, shaking his head in disbelief again. “It can’t be that easy.” 
“Easy? Boy have you got a lot to learn,” Gerald said, digging into his pasta again.  

It's not the first time I've mentioned male enhancement drugs in my stories. It's not even the first time I've shown a father talking to his son about sex. It likely won't be my last for either if I continue to write romantic stories featuring older characters. Morgan is my hero of this story, but if a book ever has two, Gerald is definitely the second. He is modeled after my late grandfather who I believe was romantically involved with women well into his late seventies.

To date, Gerald is my oldest romantic character, and I love his joie de vivre concerning women and romance. He has a very complex view of love that reflects all his life experiences of it. Though the word is French and not English, most English dictionaries contain it and list "enjoyment" as a synonym. Enjoyment is the "pleasure felt when having a good time". What Gerald has learned from his years of experience is the value of living in the moment and taking the time to enjoy everything.

When I look 20+ years ahead of where I am right now, I am hoping to be exactly where Gerald is or at least to have someone like him in my life. In the meantime, I'm working on my own joie de vivre.
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