Dr. Pepper Schwartz

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.
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Well, finally — the cultural conversation about gender and sexual identity has shifted, and all it took was some folks in their 60s and 70s to lead the way.
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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.
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What does it take to keep a marriage happy, vibrant and enduring?
50's Fair
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 successful meeting anyone.
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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 being alone most of the time. I've been married twice, both times to men with alcohol issues. What to do?
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Q: I am a 78-year-old widow, intelligent, friendly, self-sufficient, well-groomed and well-read. My problem is how to word my online profile so that men who are slightly younger will not write me off. I am in excellent health and interested in everything around me. I can still do everything I did when I was 50. I would be a good fit for the right man 10 years my junior, but men don't seem to consider this possibility, and there don't seem to be any suitable men who are my age. Should I lie about my age? I'd have no problem getting away with it, but what if something developed and I had to own up?
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Q: I am a 65-year-old man who had a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) done to reduce an enlarged prostate 10 years ago. Ever since then, even though I achieve an erection, it is not as strong, nor can I maintain it for long. I have been using Viagra, which was covered to a degree under my company insurance, but now that I am on Medicare it will no longer be covered. I have heard a lot about various pumps and the fact that they are sometimes covered by Medicare. Worth it, or will I be wasting my time?
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Q: I've had herpes for the past 20 years. Now, whenever I tell a woman about it (before we become intimate, of course) I'm met with rejection. Are there any safe sites to find partners with herpes? By the way, I don't like using condoms.
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Q: My urologist told me that my sperm are malfunctioning because they are shaped differently than normal sperm and are not moving as quickly as they should, and that I have a low quantity. He said this could result from a low hormone count. What can I do to increase my sperm count? I know that I should eat properly, but I don't know which foods supply the vitamins that will increase my levels of testosterone, sperm, semen and testosterone?
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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 don't, which happens more often. I'm attractive, and in good shape because I run marathons and do triathlons. Any suggestions on what I can do?
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