DEAR ABBY: My wife of 41 years passed away four years ago. I'm in my mid-60s. I have sought grief counseling to fully process her loss. The counselor has encouraged me to maintain and expand my peer relationships. The counselor has also encouraged dating, which I have tried, but no romances have resulted.
My wife was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 mental disorder, which progressed the longer she lived. When she died, I was glad she no longer had to suffer with her mental illness. With the onset of menopause and the bipolar, her libido had dropped dramatically. The counselor has assured me that if romance develops, sexual relations can happen with women my age.
Because of my religious convictions, I will not have sexual relations before marriage. My question concerns a woman's desire for sexual relations at this stage of life. Are sexual relations something that can be mutually enjoyed, or just a requirement of marriage? -- WONDERING IN IOWA
DEAR WONDERING: Allow me to put your concerns to rest. Seniors are not clones of each other. Some enjoy sex into their 80s; others do not. If both partners are comfortable with their bodies and willing to accommodate the inevitable changes that come as their bodies age, they can enjoy sex as much as couples who are younger.
While your religious beliefs may not allow you to have sex before marriage, there is no reason why the subject can't be honestly discussed, and this is what I urge you to do if you become involved with someone.