Confronting taboos and misunderstandings about sexuality and aging, Couple Sexuality After 60: Intimate, Pleasurable, and Satisfying motivates couples to embrace sex and sexuality in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. The book busts two extreme myths—that people over 60 cannot and should not be sexual and that the best way to be sexual is to emphasize eroticism, using sex toys, and "kinky sex".
Using a variable, flexible approach to couple sexuality based on the Good Enough Sex (GES) model, this book places the essence of sexuality in pleasure-oriented touching, not individual sex performance. Barry and Emily McCarthy introduce a new sexual mantra of "desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction" with the goal of presenting a healthy model of sexuality to replace the traditional double standard that couples learn in young adulthood. Specific chapters focus on important areas like coming to terms with the new normal, female–male sexual equity, satisfaction being about more than intercourse and orgasm, valuing synchronous and asynchronous sexuality, psychobiosocial approaches to sexuality, and more.
In addition to aging heterosexual couples, single individuals and queer couples will find this book interesting. Additionally, sexual health clinicians and sex therapists with clients over the age of 60 will find this a fascinating read.
Table of Contents
1. Confronting Myths About Sexuality and Aging 2. Embracing the New Normal: Variable, Flexible Couple Sexuality 3. Sexuality is More than Intercourse: Challenge, Not Loss 4. Good Enough Sex (GES): Roles, Meanings, and Outcomes 5. Female-Male Sexual Equity: Being Intimate and Erotic Friends 6. Desire is the Key: Reinforcing Sexual Anticipation 7. Satisfaction: More than Orgasm 8. Naked at Our Age: The Challenge of Integrated Eroticism 9. Couple Sexuality: Valuing Synchronous and Asynchronous Sexuality 10. A Pill Can’t Do It All: A Psychobiosocial Approach to Sex 11. Sexually, One Size Never Fits All: Non-Traditional Individuals and Couples 12. Illness and Disability: Don’t Let It Control Your Sexuality 13. Sexuality for Singles: Enjoying Your Sexual Self 14. Celebrating Sexuality and Aging
Barry McCarthy is professor emeritus of psychology at American University, a diplomate in clinical psychology, a diplomate in sex therapy, and a certified couple therapist. He is the author of over 100 articles, 33 book chapters and 21 books. He has presented over 450 professional workshops nationally and internationally. Barry received the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) Masters and Johnson award for lifetime contributions to the sex therapy field.
Emily McCarthy received a BS degree in speech communication, and her writing and wisdom provide a balanced humanistic perspective. This is Barry and Emily’s 16th co-authored book.
"Barry and Emily McCarthy have authored a number of outstanding texts concerning human sexuality for the general public. Their latest book, Couple Sexuality After 60, offers a compassionate understanding of sexuality in aging couples. It offers sophisticated yet practical advice. I encourage anyone over 60 to purchase, enjoy, and contemplate the wisdom offered by this respected internationally respected clinician."
Robert Taylor Segraves, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry Case Western Reserve University, Editor Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy
"Barry and Emily McCarthy have created yet another masterpiece! Skillfully guiding readers through the nuances of maintaining a satisfying sex life well into old age, the McCarthys’ steer professional and lay audiences alike through the myriad of misinformation, misunderstanding, and fallacies that haunt our views of sex and aging. Their writing style is clear and inviting. Their suggested exercises are thoughtful and practical. And their optimism regarding sex and aging is refreshing, wise, and sound. I know I will recommend this book to my aging patients, those with and without partners."
Daniel N. Watter, EdD, Past President, Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR)
"This self-help book for seniors is the culmination of the authors’ highly productive writing partnership. A long married couple, the McCarthys provide guidance that revolves around two models: Good Enough Sex and Female–Male Sexual Equity. These well explained themes and their variations are delivered in a conversational style inspiring readers to rethink their previous sexual patterns, accept their regrets over past errors, and get right to a better, variable, sensual, pleasurable life, with or without intercourse. Their messages are wise: do not give up on sexual behavior and keep discovering your capacities!"
Stephen B. Levine, MD, author of Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Sexual Problems: An Essential Guide for Mental Health Professionals
"Couple Sexuality After 60 will surprise and enlighten readers of any age, but will prove most valuable to men and women hoping to enhance their sexual experience as they grow older. The McCarthys disprove many of the myths surrounding sex and aging. Even better, they offer their readers new perspectives, dismissing performance-oriented sex and embracing a realistic positive attitude towards couple sexuality in which 'intimate and erotic allies turn to each other and share pleasure.' Their focus on responsive desire, more genuine and human than the spontaneous desire associated with youth, is a highlight of the book."
Katharine Bethell, MSW, author of An Essential Guide to Aging Well
"If you are 60 or older, and mourning the loss of youthful and effortless sex, take heart. What you will find in the pages of this book may upend all you have ever believed about sex. But then sex after 60 is different than the sex that came before, in ways that may be as unexpected as they are pleasurable. Written for couples to read together, this book promises to help older couples become intimate and erotic allies who turn towards each other to embrace a new and pleasurable sexuality."
Kathryn Hall, PhD, Editor, Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, 6th edition, Past President, Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR)
"With Barry and Emily McCarthy’s 16th book, Couple Sexuality After 60, arrives added consensus that the sexuality writing team constitute a blooming ‘national treasure.’ Their immense gift to the nation is highlighted by their work’s contrast with the dismal sexual culture it addresses.
The authors offer new perspectives on sexual cultural deficits in the US like double standards, ageism, abstinence-only sex education, LGBTQIA+phobia, high STI and sexual violence rates, sexual performance anxiety, reproductive injustice, devaluation of the erotic, and more. They also describe how to love well despite personally damaging national attitudes and policies.
The new book’s insightful myth-bashing, concepts like 'good enough sex' and finding a sexual style, and helpful guidance on fostering desire and on appreciating differences, aims to shift attitudes and open hearts to greater mutuality and satisfaction.
If Barry and Emily's Couple Sexuality After 60 were the only resource teens had for sex education, they would be well prepared for satisfying sexuality throughout their lives. Although this book probably won’t be marketed to teens, it will serve its intended audience well.
Baby boomers will spark to its directness and honesty, plain speaking usefulness, cutting edge knowledge, excellent selection of topics, no-nonsense elevation of sex as entitlement, peak experience, and relationship sustenance. They will love the inspiration to keep sexuality the important part of their lives it has always been for this generation.
A wise book and fun read for professionals and common readers alike."
Susan Stiritz, Immediate Past President of AASECT, Associate Professor of Practice, Chair, Specialization in Sexual Health and Education, The Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis