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.

Online Dating Isn’t Working. Now What?

Q: I have been a widow for about three years.  (I live with my son, a highly functional autistic man who is independent in most areas but needs my help financially.) I’d love to find a new romantic relationship again, but fear I am destined to be alone. I’ve tried dating sites and have met many men, but we only go out on a date or two and that’s it. Either I don’t feel any connection, which is not very often, or they …

Sex and Dementia: What Are Our Rights When We’re Not Ourselves Any More?

A recent Bloomberg article recapped an incident in a nursing home in which an employee walked in on two elderly residents, both diagnosed with dementia, having intercourse. The man was in his late 70s, the woman in her late 80s. The employee, a nurse, called for help and separated the two, but not without the woman clawing and screaming at them. It’s a delicate subject and the zone is completely gray. The incident led to the male patient being removed …

“She Wants to Know Details of My Infidelity”

Q: Last year, I confessed to my wife of 35 years that I’d had affairs with several women approximately 20 years ago. She’s in the process of forgiving me. We have agreed to move forward and have both seen counselors, separately. However, I feel she’s not really moving forward, due to the questions she has about my affairs. She wants me to share my story of infidelity with her: How was I able to do it? How could I do …

Ginny Johnson Not Given Enough Credit for Sex Study Contributions

Ginny Johnson’s death brings back a lot of memories. I remember, as a new Ph.D. and young professor, sitting around many living rooms with her and her even more famous husband, Bill Masters, talking about sex research, about women in the field, and about differences in opinions between the behavioral scientists (my group) and  the medical people (Bill’s and, to some extent, Ginny’s group). Ginny was Bill Masters’ partner in sex research. Starting out as a secretary in his office, she transitioned to the …

Family Ties

Q: How (and when) do I tell a dating partner about my difficult family situation? I haven’t dated in a long time (I’m 59, never married). This is partly due to being a caregiver – first for my dad, who had a stroke, and now my mom, who is recovering from a stroke, and my brother, who has schizophrenia and is in poor physical health. They do live independently, and with some help from community agencies, I don’t have to …

An Unexpected Test

Q: My age is 60. I am very active and energetic and would love to meet the perfect match for me, a partner for life. Dilemma: A few men my age or younger can no longer hold an erection. Thus, the protection of a condom no longer works because it comes off. However, men at this age are taken aback when I suggest that we have blood tests before having intercourse. I have received a lot of shocked looks, comments …