“There is nervous laughter.”
“It isn’t an easy topic to discuss when you’re older.”
But Flossmoor sex therapists Mila and Cesar Puray try to break the ice by telling jokes.
Presenting a seminar on intimacy for older couples at South Suburban Hospital that incorporates cartoons along with anatomical drawings, the husband and wife physician team, on staff at the hospital, shatters the myth that couples become washed up as they age.
Mila says older men and women, who may be plagued by arthritis or circulation problems, can still make one another happy if they are willing to take time for romance and try new sexual positions that aren’t that aren’t as physically taxing.
“Avoid swinging from the chandeliers and these other acrobatics,” she chuckles.
Mila says a common fear among older people is if they overdo it, especially after heart surgery, they will die from excitement.” “If you can walk up two flights of stairs,” Mila says, “then you can resume sexual activities.”
Mila says it might take older men a longer time to become aroused, and women may lose some of their sexual appetite after menopause, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have passion in their relationships.
“When we get older we need a lot of touching,” she explains.
Cesar says older couples-like young couples-will lose romance if they start to take on another for granted.
When they’re making love, Cesar emphasizes, that’s just when a man and woman most need to communicate.
Mila says too many couples put all the emphasis on their genitals and forget sex starts in the brain.
Pointing first to her head, then below her waist, Mila says, “If you can’t get it together up here, then you can’t get it together down there.”
The men in the audience giggled when the outspoken sex therapist told them they’ll be in the doghouse if they do this to their spouses.
“The woman will be very mad at you, and she will be unhappy for many, many days, Cesar says. “I that happens, forget about dinner. You can go to McDonald’s.”
Though the elderly singles and married couples in the audience tittered at these remarks, the subject obviously aroused interest.
One woman asked if she could improve her sex life with her husband by using a certain product.
The Purays encouraged couples to spice up their “love play” in whatever way works for them.
Though frequency of sexual activity may diminish for older couples, Mila says that doesn’t mean they can’t have terrific sex.
Mila says mature couples can actually enjoy sex more than younger couples because they have fewer distractions.
“When we get older,” she explains, “we no longer have the kids. We have the house to ourselves and we have privacy to ourselves.
“When we’re younger, we’re more afraid of getting pregnant,” she adds. “When we’re older, we don’t have this worry.”
Older couples admit that they’ve discovered a level of intimacy that is deeper because it is much less driven by hormones and based more on true romance and companionship.
“I don’t have the sexual drive I used to have,” says 56 year-old Evelyn Vanek, “but I have a much deeper, more mature relationship (with her boyfriend John Hawkinson).
Vanek admits “When I was younger, it was “get it on and get off.” Now it’s more love-making.”
The divorced Blue Island woman, who has three children, says this is a wonderful time to be in love because she knows what she wants in a relationship.
“I’ve learned to love myself more, so I’ve drawn a person who loves me more,” Vanek says. “I want to be cherished and loved, and I know this is what I deserve.”
Vanek and her boyfriend of nine months enjoy taking walks together, having romantic dinners and holding hands.
Vanek says when they make love, it’s the icing on the cake. “I feel like I’m a queen when I’m with John. He’ll take all the time in the world to please me,” she candidly states.
Shirley and Earl Erickson have also maintained the spark in their relationship because they’ve worked at it. Though they’ve been married 47 years, the Hazel Crest couple still go on dates to the movies, and out to dinner. They also enjoy cozy camping trips together.
“I think togetherness is what keeps you healthy, wealthy, and wise,” Earl says.
Star Sentinel – Selected Paragraphs
Are you married? Have you run our of things to do to make Valentine’s Day exciting? Have you run our of ways to make an ordinary day an extraordinary one?
The answer may come in the form of one word: Sybaris.
You may have heard it from friends, or seen their recent television commercials during the daytime, but no matter what you have learned about it, according to founder and President Ken Knudson, nothing compares to experiencing Sybaris yourself.
Sybaris was conceived by Knudson, when his wife eyed a bedroom display in a store called Unique Interiors n the Woodfield Mall and wanted one in their home. Knudson took on the task himself, and the end result was met with rave reviews from their friends, who wished they had a place like that “hidden from the kids and in-laws,” he said.
Knudson says with pride that “to date, no one has been able to copy his idea” of providing a place that’s needed. He stresses “needed” because “married couples need a place like this after the first few years of marriage. Marriage is hard work, in a mundane world, and they need a place where they can be alone.
Knudson said Hawaii is then next best thing to the Sybaris cottages, which are modeled after the tropical paradise where he lived for several years. And so each cottage features plush carpeting, beveled mirrors, a fireplace, bar, whirlpool for two, king size custom waterbeds with headboard controls for lighting, TV and stereo system. No phones, no windows, and a “completely intimate, private capsule” is how it’s described.
Knudson kept perfecting the idea first into swimming pool cottages, featuring 22 foot swimming pools with attached whirlpool and overhead waterfall, and now into the last word – – the Sybaris Chalet, 2336 square feet of romance, 28-foot pool with attached whirlpool, 90 square foot steam room, stone fireplace, loft bedroom with attached balcony and whirlpool, attached cedar deck with an eight foot water slide into the pool below and Hawaiian mural sunset.
As it was in 1974 when the first suite opened, Knudson sees the Sybaris as a “magical place of sensuous tranquility where couples could shed the stress of daily life and reacquaint themselves with love. A special place dedicated to the enhancement of romantic marriage.”