I assume if you are reading this blog you are aware of the book I authored, Making Love Again: Hope for Couples Facing Loss of Sexual Intimacy. Writing our journey of regaining intimacy and then getting the book published was a three-year, full-time job.
Shortly after publication Keith and I began receiving invitations to speak publicly. As I’ve mentioned before in my writing, the groups were varied: from cancer support groups to medical students, nurse associations and graduate students majoring in sexual health. We were featured in numerous newspapers including the Washington Post and Minneapolis Star Tribune. Just yesterday I ran into the daughter of a good friend who is getting her graduate degree in Marriage Counseling, and she told me her professor referenced our book often.
While I am very pleased our book has helped many people and is still relevant, I gradually realized after sharing our story with the public that our book was really the beginning of a journey, one that Keith and I are still on—because life doesn’t just give a person or a relationship one challenge in a lifetime. Living means change, adjusting, altering, forming new paths, abandoning old ways, creating and adapting.
So very soon after Keith and I started sharing our story we found that the new experiences we were living were an ongoing continuation of the story we began in our book.
We both experienced more health issues, some of which required significant surgeries and long recovery periods.
We suffered the loss of our parents and nearly collapsed after the suicide death of a grandchild.
We faced career changes and the question of life in retirement.
We continue to face my diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment, and the ever-present and ever-evolving issues of aging.
As time has passed, the need to write about our continued journey has gotten stronger. My mind is filled with the things I want to share—the lessons we’ve learned, the experience we’ve added and clarification for the questions we constantly get during our talks. Particularly, the unexpected and continuing bumps, stumbles, and hurdles of reframing and maintaining intimacy as we walked through the unknown territory of middle age into being aged.
But I knew I didn’t want to write another book, for two reasons. One, it takes a long time to write a book and then get it published. And second, I now understood our story was and is a continuum. The way we deal with change, decline, embarrassment and shame can’t be contained between the covers of just one book; it’s an ever-evolving discovery of exploration, failure and success.
And that’s when I decided to write a collection of essays—short pieces chronicling our journey into the unknown changing and challenging aspects of aging and intimacy. I had thought I would at some point in time (when I couldn’t write any more) seek to publish the collection.
But now there’s blogging! So I don’t have to wait anymore!
I’ll be posting these ‘real time’ essays that describe how Keith and I aged through our forties, fifties and into our sixties beginning next week. I may also revisit some of the stories covered in our book, to add context, reflections and perspective I didn’t have at the time I first wrote them. I hope some of you will read them along with your partners, which would likely start some interesting conversations.
Again, thanks for reading.