• Perry Floyd

Millennials and sex questions

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, sex advisor

In a recent TIME Magazine, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 90, was asked about her life and work as a sex therapist. Here are three of the questions and her answers:

TIME: Are there questions you've gotten over the years to which your answer changed?

Dr. W: I don't think so, but I'll tell you what has changed. I get more questions about people who, in a relationship, may be always looking [to see] if there's something better.

TIME: Why do you think that is?

Dr. W: Because of the way the media depicts famous people. People have to be realistic.

TIME: You're doing a new edition of Sex for Dummies for millennials. What needed to be added for them?

Dr. W: I talk about the loneliness. I talk about the art of conversation. I also talk about how you have to make time for sex, once you have a partner... **

Three connections in these questions to note and beware: First, how the media portrays famous people. We love rom-coms, but they have very little to do with reality. Fairy tales and Disney princesses are not the way real life happens, but they set up expectations in our culture disconnected from actual romance and life with a spouse or partner.

Second, people in relationships always looking for something better. Lasting relationships are built on commitment and loyalty to what/who is present; keeping my options open often leads to splits and starts (read pain and heartache).

Third, loneliness and the art of conversation. I remember Dr. Malcolm Bane, my pastor long ago, teaching about forming a stable marriage. He said to prepare for marriage, a couple should spend 14 evenings in a row together, sitting on a couch talking. No touching, no TV, just two people talking, since, he said, marriage is almost exclusively two people who are friends talking and listening to one another. Sex is the spice in a marriage, but is actually very little of what goes on in a lasting partnership. I am blessed to have as my life partner my closest friend, and we carry on a 45 year conversation that never totally ends. I haven't been lonely in decades.

** TIME, May 20, 2019, p 60.

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