79-year-old Seattle sex therapist wants to normalize and encourage senior sex

Sep 1, 2022, 11:07 AM
senior sex...
Photo by FORMAT arw on Unsplash

Sex scenes on TV or in movies aren’t always like real life, which can create all kinds of problems for real-life couples who might have formed unrealistic expectations based on what they’ve seen on screen.

“The most prevalent one is that sex needs to be spontaneous for it to be good,” said Seattle’s Dr. Diana Wiley, a board-certified sex therapist marriage and family counselor with forty years of experience.

“When two people in the movies, or on TV, run to each other and they’re so passionate, we see them having good sex and the women having no trouble with orgasms,” Wiley said. “Of course, this makes for better drama and excitement, but it is not true. In my experience, couples really need to put sex on the calendar, it’s the most likely way to have it happen.”

One particular genre of media is steering young men in the wrong direction

“Boys start watching pornography as young as nine, I’m horrified by that,” said Wiley. “Pornography needs to be seen as entertainment, it’s not sex education. These young men have these really strange ideas which they’ve seen in porn which they think will work in real life and it just doesn’t.”

One thing Dr. Diana says we don’t see enough of on-screen is the sex lives of older adults. She thinks it needs to be normalized and encouraged.

“Older people really need to be aware of how good sex is for our health. It’s fabulous for your heart and it encourages flexibility. Sex is one of the safest sports older couples can do. It stretches and tones every part of the body and it’s such fun exercise!” Wiley laughed.

“Research suggests that some arthritis sufferers have less pain for up to six hours after sex and sex also strengthens the pelvic floor muscles,” she continued. “That can help with urinary incontinence, which is the main reason many, women especially, have to go into nursing homes. Sex helps you sleep better. The oxytocin that’s released with orgasm, in particular, promotes sleep.”

Dr. Diana should know, she’s 79 years old.

“[My husband and I] just took a trip to Hawaii. We had sex, like, 13 nights in a row, and it was good sex! Yes, I’m bragging,” she laughed. “But it makes you feel so good as an older person because when you’re having sex, you’re feeling so alive and older people want that sense of aliveness.”

But if you’re an older woman and this all sounds impossible…

“So many women, post-menopause, do not have balanced hormones,” Wiley said. “I’ve been on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which is different from straight hormone replacement therapy. A study from the National Institute of Health in 2004 put a lot of women off HRT; it was a flawed study. I’m so glad that I went on it and have been on it for 20 years, it has made a difference. So many doctors really dismiss problems that older women have. There are lots of ways to get your hormones back. I think that more women need to know about this.”

Another thing you don’t see on TV: married couples living apart. That is a choice Dr. Diana and her husband made when they got married later in life.

“It’s more and more common for couples, mostly over 50, after their children have been launched,” Wiley said. “We’re about 15 minutes apart. So he’s here on Wednesdays and I’m at his home on the weekends. It works for Bryan and me, we just have the best time. We have time to anticipate sex with each other and even the anticipation can produce more dopamine, and dopamine is the hormone of arousal. Dopamine, baby. Dopamine.”

She says there is one show that’s doing a great job of normalizing senior sex.

More from Rachel Belle: Heart attack portrayals in TV and movies can be bad for your health

Grace and Frankie with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin on Netflix,” Wiley said. “It’s really good and it does show sex and older people.”

If you’re having any issues or sexual anxieties, Dr. Diana strongly suggests finding a good sex therapist. It’s never too late, you don’t have to give up.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Newsradio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

mike's chili parlor...
Rachel Belle

City of Seattle honors 100 years of Mike’s Chili Parlor in Ballard

One hundred years ago, a Greek immigrant opened a chili cart in Ballard, and 100 years later the business is still thriving on the family's secret recipe. 
2 days ago
no phone...
Rachel Belle

Comedians and musicians are adopting ‘no phone’ policies at their shows

Artists like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Madonna are using a service called Yondr, that requires audiences lock up their phone in a pouch for the duration of a show. 
9 days ago
Rachel Belle

Does checking out library books hurt authors and indie bookstores?

Do authors and bookstores miss out on sales when we check out books for free at the library? Seattle Public Library and publisher Sasquatch Books weigh in. 
19 days ago
Rachel Belle

What to eat at Seahawks games this season: new menu is local and diverse

Seahawks season officially kicks off tonight at Lumen Field, and if you like meatballs just as much as footballs, this report is for you. 
20 days ago
college clean...
Rachel Belle

Most college kids say they ‘were not prepared to clean’ their dorm or apartment

A new American Cleaning Institute survey revealed that 75% of college students landed on campus, unprepared to clean up after themselves.
25 days ago
hospice nurse...
Rachel Belle

Local hospice nurse says death is not what you see in the movies

Death is not always peaceful and never pretty, but hospice nurse Katie Bracken says their job is to prepare people for a loved ones death. 
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
79-year-old Seattle sex therapist wants to normalize and encourage senior sex