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Pennsylvania: A Workshop Says Sex Need Not Stop With Advancing Age

September 26, 2011

Around 100 counselors, therapists, social workers, and educators gathered Friday at Widener University in Chester for the first of what organizers hope will be an annual event focusing on sexuality and aging.

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"If people can understand the changes they'll go through, they're much less likely to be upset by them, and they can maintain their intimacy as they age," said Peggy Brick, a longtime sex educator and founder of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener.

The workshops covered topics ranging from changing body image and chronic illness to retirement-community living and LGBT concerns. Session leaders discussed ways to help clients navigate their way through changes in sexual health.

Psychologist Carol Cobb-Nettleton led a discussion on how chronic conditions, such as hypertension and arthritis, and the medicines used to treat them can impact sex drive. "I teach my clients about the sexual-arousal cycle: desire, arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution," said the director of the Wayne Counseling and Family Services Center. "That way they can focus on what isn't working and what's in trouble."

Betsy Crane, director of Widener's graduate program in human sexuality, said the biggest obstacle to sexual fulfillment is often aging persons' own attitudes. When people undergo physical changes, she said, they may try to convince themselves that sex and intimacy no longer matter.

Back to other news for September 2011

Excerpted from:
Philadelphia Inquirer
09.26.2011; Kristen E. Holmes




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