Sex & Relationships

As AARP's sex and relationship expert, Pepper Schwartz aims to improve the lives of the age-50-plus audience by enhancing their relationships and offering counsel on everything from sex and health issues to communication and dating.

On Different Sexual Wavelengths?

Q: My wife is rarely interested in sex and gets irritated when I drop hints about meeting in the bedroom or wherever. When the deed does (infrequently) occur, though, she has roaring orgasms — which I love to help with. You’d think that would be a plus, but we’re on different wavelengths, and now I worry about the “use it or lose it” thing setting in. A: Women’s sexual desire is a mystery — a mystery to experts, a mystery …

Monica Lewinsky: Victim of an Outdated Double Standard

In a story to be published by Vanity Fair magazine on May 8, Monica Lewinsky, now 40, relives the pain and humiliation of being shunned – really shunned – in the old-fashioned sense of the word. For nearly two decades since reports of her presidential dalliance stole the headlines in 1998, the former White House intern has been unable to land a job. “Because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history,’ ” she discloses in the …

What’s the Secret to a Happy, Long-Term Marriage?

What does it take to keep a marriage happy, vibrant and enduring? I’m asked that question all the time. And while I think couples all have their own unique recipes for success, I’ve noticed that most include these five essential ingredients: 1. The ability to apologize  Every person in every marriage makes mistakes. Some big, some small, but always some you wish you could un-do. That’s only human, but happy couples admit to their mistakes – and apologize. Just as important is …

How to Handle a Sexless Married Life

Q: As a survivor of childhood incest, I’ve been in therapy for close to 20 years. However – possibly because of the anti-depressants I take – my libido is dead and gone. My sexual parts are unresponsive. My doctor has suggested various treatments, including hormones, and my husband never complains; he loves me as I am and doesn’t want me to undergo painful procedures or take hormones. Is there anything you can suggest to help? I feel like my dear …

Dealing with COPD and Dating

Q: I just turned 60, have been divorced for seven years and have not dated anyone. I am really lonely. I work full time and have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which sometimes requires me to use oxygen. I am scared and embarrassed about possibly having to use oxygen on a date. Since being diagnosed, I have lost all my self-confidence.  How might I start the dating process? If think if I put my COPD out there, I won’t be …

Dating for Introverts: What Can I Do?

Q: I’d like to slowly establish a romantic relationship. I have been in treatment for anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder for 21 years. I have joined interest groups and tried online dating sites, but haven’t found too many people who are reasonably intelligent (I’m in the top 5 percent), don’t want to travel, enjoy deep conversation, and can accept a partner who will never lose the “baggage,” which can be expected with chronic mental illness. I am introverted and like …