From Bernard Ohanian
Dr. Pepper Schwartz, AARP's new expert for love and relationships entertained a crowd of serveral hundred people in the aptly named Casanova ballroom with a talk about sexuality and health that was frank, inspirational, and funny.
Schwartz, the author of 16 books and a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, hammered home her point about the importance of a good sex life. buttressing her arguments by citing numerous academic studies. At various points throughout the presentation, she said:
- "Sex is a lifelong gift."
- "We are meant to have sex frequently to keep us bonded."
- "If you don't have sex you're not taking care of your physical and mental health."
- "Frequent sex adds years to your life."
- "Sex makes us live longer and live healthier."
"This is not," she reminded her audience, "a trivial topic."
While acknowledging that "sex gets trickier with age," she also dismissed as a "myth" the idea that we outgrow our need for sex as we get older. "We can love forever," she said. "We can be passionate forever."
She also gave a sneak preview of some of the results of the 2009 AARP sex survey, which will be released soon. One of the results, she said, made her sad: People aged 45 and older spend less time hugging and kissing than they did in 2004, the last time such a survey was taken. "Let's fix that," she told her laughing audience at the end of her presentation. "Turn to the person next to you, and give him or her a big hug."
The crowd, warmed up by her hour-long discussion of the importance of touch, needed no more urging.