You are currently viewing 3 Myths About Aging And Intimacy: Lessons Learned from the Golden Bachelor

3 Myths About Aging And Intimacy: Lessons Learned from the Golden Bachelor

Episode #102October 2, 2023

Aging and intimacy often bring forth various misconceptions. Dive into the latest episode of our “Psychology of Aging Podcast” where we unmask the reality of love and sexual health for older adults. Inspired by the heartfelt journey of Gerry from the popular “Golden Bachelor” series, this episode offers eye-opening statistics, heartwarming anecdotes, and expert insights to challenge the taboos surrounding seniors and sexuality.

Exploring Senior Dating Shows: The Golden Bachelor Insights

  • Fascinating backdrop of Gerry’s story: From a 40-year marriage to tragic loss and newfound hope in love.
  • Celebrity spice: Jimmy Kimmel’s aunt’s unexpected appearance.

Decoding Myths about Senior Sexuality and Intimacy

  • Listener’s quiz: Examining personal perceptions on older adult relationships and intimacy.


  • Myth 1: Diminished Interest in Romance with Age
    – Hard-hitting statistics from a revealing 2018 study on senior sexual activity and interest.


  • Myth 2: Finding Love has an Age Limit
    – Glimpses from the Golden Bachelor’s love pursuits.
    – Heartwarming tale of Steve and Marie’s late-life love story.


  • Myth 3: Physical Limitations Dampen Senior Relationships
    – Insights from a collaboration with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.
    – Vital strategies for couples facing health challenges:

1. Health & Wellness: The core of intimacy.
2. Intimacy Scheduling: Making time for romance.
3. Creating Romance:Sensual spaces and ambiance.
4. Relationship Communication:Conversations that matter.
5. Adaptable Intimacy: From experimentation to adjustment.

      • Introduction to the transformative ParkinSex Kit.


Our understanding of sexual health and intimacy shouldn’t be confined by age. As this episode illustrates, love, intimacy, and the desire for connection are ageless pursuits. We encourage our listeners to expand their view of sexual health and aging, and to continually challenge and discard age-related misconceptions.


Resources & Links for Further Exploration



About Regina Koepp, PsyD, ABPP

Dr. Regina Koepp is a board certified clinical psychologist, clinical geropsychologist, and founder and director of the Center for Mental Health & Aging: the “go to” place online for mental health and aging. She is currently the lead medical psychologist at University of Vermont Medical Center. Dr. Koepp is a sought after speaker on the topics of mental health and aging, caregiving, ageism, resilience, sexual health and aging, intimacy in the context of life altering Illness, and dementia and sexual expression. Learn more about Dr. Regina Koepp here.

Podcast- Dispelling 3 myths about love and intimacy over 65

This is a podcast episode inspired by the golden bachelor. If you haven't heard of it, the golden bachelor. It was just premiered last week. It's part of the bachelor series. The golden bachelor follows Gary who's in his early seventies from Indiana. And he is looking to find love again. He was married for more than 40 years and his wife died unexpectedly of a bacterial infection in 2017, right after they retired and bought their dream home. It was incredibly tragic for him. In the opening of the bachelor, which again, aired last week. Gary's talk talks about the loss of his wife and he was so real and honest, you could see the pain and how much it impacted him. You know, it reminds me of this concept that people have about grief is that the grief never gets smaller. When we lose somebody we love, our life just gets bigger around it. And you could see that being true for Gary in that first episode. In the first episode , women appear and they are unique and interesting. Even Jimmy Kimmel's aunt is there. Which was a lot of fun. I think she was my favorite part. Anyway. This inspired me too make this podcast today. On three common myths that we have about aging and sexuality and sexual health.

I specialize in aging and sexuality. I actually have continuing education courses sexual health and aging. I've one sexual health and aging basics course for three continuing education units. And also have a dementia and sexual health certification program. Where I teach professionals, how to navigate sexual expression in the context of dementia. How do we determine capacity to consent in the context of dementia? How do we identify hypersexuality from a sexual expression that's healthy? And so on. That's only released once a year, but the other sexual health and aging basics course for three continuing education units is on demand, meaning it's prerecorded and you can listen to it at any time. I'll drop a link in the show notes so you can check it out. All right.

I want to start by asking you. What comes to mind? When I say older adults and sex. What messages have you received about older adults and sex?

Do your thoughts come with myths, taboos, personal beliefs, prejudices. Negative attitudes, positive attitudes.

Do your thoughts about sex differ between. Heterosexual men and women. Same-sex couples. Transgender or gender non-conforming adults?

So we're going to dive into three myths:

One of the most common myths that I hear about aging and intimacy. "Older people aren't interested in lover romance anymore. Haven't they grown out of that."

I mean, I've heard this message so many times. And when I actually tell people out in the world that I specialize with older adults and sex and sexuality many people will say, oh, I've never thought about that before. I've never thought about older adults and sex, or I've never thought about people living with Parkinson's disease and sex or people living with dementia and sex, like all of a sudden age or disability or, or chronic medical conditions make it, so we're no longer interested in intimacy and that's not true. well, let me share. Some statistics to debunk this myth.

There was a big survey study done in 2018. It surveyed a thousand adults between 65 and 80. And it found that 67% of the adults surveyed. Remained interested in sex. 72% had a partner and 54% were sexually active with their partner. And 73% reported being satisfied with their current sex life.

And then this survey asked. How often are men and women having sex. So close to 51% of men and close to 31% of women reported being sexually active.

Okay. So if that's not a myth, Buster, I don't know what is,

all right. Here's another myth for you.

It's too late to find love after a certain age.

What do you think? I think if you look around. You could find several examples in your own community, maybe even your own family to debunk that myth. And what I love about the golden bachelor series. And I've only seen the first episode. But what I've loved about it. Is that it shows that we're never too old to pursue love. And one of my earliest podcast interviews, I interview my friend April's dad, I aired it May, 2020. This is a podcast episode about Steve and Marie who got together after each of them have been married for 50 years to other spouses. And each of their spouses died. And after some grieving time they found each other. And it's just a beautiful story of how they found love in their late seventies. So I'm going to link to that in the show notes as well.

All right. Myth number three, physical limitations make romantic relationships challenging for seniors. All right. So this might be true for some people, but that doesn't mean they're going to stop being intimate. I did a program with the American Parkinson's disease association sharing five tips for helping couples with Parkinson's disease, which as you might know, creates some physical limitations with trimmers or muscle rigidity. And I shared five tips that couples with Parkinson's. Can use to cultivate intimacy, and I'm going to share those five tips with you right now.

The first tip is to optimize your health. So you really want to get aligned with your medical provider and know what to expect with your condition. What symptoms are common, not common? How the medications that you might be taking might impact your physical functioning and your libido or your sex drive. Also nutrition is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good sexual health, especially as we age.

Exercise diet sleep. All of that is so important living with or without chronic medical condition. Also, it's really important as you're thinking about optimizing your health to get treatment for mental health concerns or support with adjusting to life altering conditions. Let me also just say. When it comes to optimizing your health. It's really important that you take time to process all of the changes that are happening in your body, living with a chronic illness and also to grieve some of the losses and changes that are coming with that. That's part of being healthy and that's also part of preparing your body and your mind and your soul for intimacy. So that's number one, optimize your health.

Number two is to schedule time for intimacy. So identify when you are at your best. So if you're the person living with a chronic illness or your partner is whoever it is, identify when you're at your best physically, emotionally, and energy wise. Get to know your symptom patterns, then prioritize intimacy when you're at your best. And then schedule time for intimacy.

The third recommendation is to set the mood. So light a candle, turn on music, remove distractions, create a sensual space.

The fourth recommendation is to communicate. So you might do this by including your partner in your own process of coming to terms with adjusting to your medical changes. And. Ask your partner about what it's been like for them. This may help each of you to manage expectations. And then to reflect on times in your relationship that you experienced the most intimacy and reminisce in detail. It can really start to get the system moving and create some momentum when you reflect on really powerful moments of intimacy between you and your partner.

And the fifth recommendation for cultivating intimacy when you are living with a medical condition is to modify and experiment. What I say is adjust your sex spectation and goals. So orgasm may not be possible for you. And this is where it might actually create a loss for you. And so back to that previous point of really take the time to process and grieve some of these losses. But try to be intimate anyway. Don't take yourself too seriously. Try to have a good sense of humor about it. And that's where the processing will come in, because it's hard to have a good sense of humor when you haven't fully processed something. And get creative, try new positions, toys, lubrication, et cetera.

So those are five ways to maintain intimacy and even cultivate intimacy when living with a chronic medical condition. Like I mentioned, I did a project with the American Parkinson's disease association and they put together this really cool kit called the Parkin sex kit. And you can simply Google it or I'll link to it in the show notes as well.

All right. So there you have it. Three common myths busted about aging and sexual health.

If you want to learn more about sexual health and aging, I really encourage you to take my three hour continuing education course on sexual health and aging, the basics. You'll earn continuing education. If you're a mental health provider, like a psychologist, social worker, et cetera. But it's also very helpful, even if you're not a licensed mental health provider. I'll link to that in the show notes as well.

I hope this episode inspires you to find love at any age. I'll see you soon for another episode of the psychology of aging podcast.

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