Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
I have a couple of questions or worries that perhaps you can help with. I am a 65-year-old man and for the past five or six years I haven’t been sexually active. When my last relationship ended, I went in a different direction with my life, but for a number of reasons, I decided that I want to be sexually active again. I recently found someone through a website and there seems to a good chance we will go to bed together. YEAH! I really like this woman; I feel like she’s showing me all kinds of new and exciting ways of living.
So, my first concern is what happens to men as they age. I am not worried about performance — I am wondering what my pleasure level will be like. In those five or six years I lived without a sex partner, I did masturbate and one time I hired a escort. Hiring the escort was the starting point for realizing that I want a sex life again. Anyway, it seems to be that when I have orgasms they’re not as powerful as they were when I was younger. There’s not that sudden release of tension that is so pleasurable. Is this part of the aging process? I am in good health and, I think, in good condition. I run five days a week and do weight training three days. I really like physical affection — of course, I would still want powerful and pleasurable orgasms too!
My grandma said that sex with my grandpa only got better into her 80s. I’ve told that story before in these pages, and many more times in my day-to-day life — partly as a personal prayer, but more so because it reflects a broader definition of “good sex” that I think can be as beneficial at 25 as at 65.
That isn’t to say that aging doesn’t present potential sexual problems. It’s totally normal for older men to have a difficult time orgasming and to ejaculate less — in frequency, volume and force. This typically has to do with decreased sensitivity, changing hormones and weakened pelvic floor muscles. But none of this means that sex can’t keep getting better with age.
Marty Klein, a sex therapist I recently interviewed about his new book, “Sexual Intelligence” — the rare sex advice book that I actually recommend — says, “Just as with everything else in life, if we can expand our thinking and perspective a little bit, then there’s no reason that we can’t enjoy sex just as much, if not more, at 65 than at 25.” Instead of asking whether your orgasm is going to be as powerful as it was four decades ago, he suggests asking a new question: “Are you going to have as much enjoyment and pleasure and satisfaction and nourishment from sex at 65 as you had at 25?’”
His answer: “It is most certainly possible” — but “the nature of that enjoyment may change.” He explains, “Our bodies do slow down as we get into middle age and beyond, so we need to be able to adjust our thinking about what good sex is going to look like and feel like,” he says. In his book, he emphasizes the importance of the mind over the body — sorry, am I getting too woo-woo here? — and talks about the simple concept of having sex without focusing on a climactic endpoint. Imagine a sensual, satisfying encounter that doesn’t include an orgasm — or one where the highlight is not the climax.
Klein offers a comparison: In our 20s, “we might down three or four beers without even noticing how they taste,” he says. Later in life, “we save our money for a good bottle of wine,” one that we savor along with engaging conversation. “It’s the same thing with sex,” he says. “Our bodies change and our sensitivities change” — and that can be a wonderful thing.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.
Every weeknight, Salon lets loose with Salon -- After Dark, our series of edgy and smart sex stories covering everything from porn to sex-themed art to the science of getting it on. Check back at around midnight ET (9 p.m. PT) Monday through Friday, for fresh new stories. For more information, click here.