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.

“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 …

No Long-Term Relationships (Yet)

Q: I am almost 65 years old and have never been married. My longest relationship lasted 10 months, right after I turned 40. Since then, I’ve done some online dating, and like the prospect of finding a partner.  But I’m wondering if it’s possible to find a long-term relationship at this stage of life?  (You should also know that I’ve had five years of therapy that has made a huge difference in my life, and that my two sisters have …

A Renewed Sense of Self After Cancer

Q: My wife lost a breast to cancer. Chemotherapy took six months, during which she basically lay on the couch and had no energy. It’s now 16 months after chemo and she’s still on the couch. I can’t get her to get up and do much of anything, including sex. We have no money to do any traveling since Social Security is all we get. Any ideas? Dr. Pepper Schwartz: She sounds as if she might be depressed. It is …