Robert Butler on Sex Among the Elderly
Dr. Robert N. Butler is the President and CEO of the International Longevity Center. Whether through his many appearances in front of the United States Congress, or his hundreds of interviews with the media, Dr. Butler has worked tirelessly for decades to push population-aging issues into the public discourse. As a gerontologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Butler recognized discrimination against the elderly as early as 1968, coining the term "ageism." Eight years later, the publication of his Pulitzer-prize-winning "Why Survive? Being Old in America" solidified his reputation as someone who foresaw the impact that aging would have on American society. A founding director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the nation's first department of geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Butler often consults for television and radio. He is the author of some 300 scientific and medical articles. Source: The International Longevity Center
Question: Do the elderly still want sex?
Robert Butler: Well not all older people do, but those that do often enjoy it very much and they are still very much involved after all. Human intimacy is so important in life and the capability is there unless one has diabetes in particular or some neurological dysfunction or circulatory problem. And even there, to a degree, there are now medications that will help like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, which can make a difference in people's lives. They don’t become a substitute for intimacy. You have to have a loving important relationship. They are mechanical. They are not intimate and they are not also aphrodisiacs.
Question: How can you spark desire in those who are no longer interested in sex?
Robert Butler: Well, if they really are not interested, I don't think they should be pushed into something they are not interested in. If they have some inkling of interest, then they have an opportunity to talk with a specialist who may be able to help them address whatever problems they may feel they have their partner.
Is sex an important part of staying healthy in old age?
Robert Butler: Well, I don’t if there is anything more important than human closeness and intimacy. Sexuality is not just intercourse. Of course, sexuality is also closeness. Sexuality touching, so there is much that couples who may even have a serious medical impediment can still enjoy in terms of bodily contact.Recorded on: Mar 17 2008
Sexuality, Butler says, is not just intercourse.
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