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Sex and Senior Citizens; Yoga for Everyone

January 28, 2002|JANE ALLEN

THE NEW LOVE AND SEX AFTER 60

By Dr. Robert N. Butler and Myrna I. Lewis

Ballantine Books

380 pages, $14.95

Publication date: Feb. 1, 2002

This celebration of sexuality in the senior years updates a landmark book by authors who have a host of credentials in dealing with aging men and women.

Dr. Robert Butler, the founding director of the National Institute on Aging, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his book "Why Survive? Being Old in America." Psychotherapist Myrna Lewis, a fellow faculty member at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, is an expert on social and health issues for women of middle age and above.

Much has changed since 1976, however, when their first book tackled the sensitive subject of sex and seniors. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole has helped advertise Viagra, bringing erectile dysfunction into prime-time television; actor Tony Randall fathered a child well into his 70s; and AIDS has been diagnosed in old and young alike. At the same time, the number of Americans older than 60 has soared, and with them the expectation of sexual activity well into their retirement years.

The Butler and Lewis book has been updated accordingly, with information on performance-enhancing medications and a host of medical conditions that can affect sexuality, including menopause. The authors explain normal aging in both men and women, suggesting ways to address some of the more difficult obstacles an older couple may encounter during lovemaking. The authors remind readers that physical fitness has much to do with sexual fitness, so it's important to exercise, even if you have physical limitations.

Most important, they help readers see sexuality and sensuality as important contributors to happiness and satisfaction at any time of life.

*

YOGA:

The Poetry of the Body

By Rodney Yee and Nina Zolotow

Thomas Dunne Books/

St. Martin's Griffin

345 pages, $21.95

Rodney Yee can do some amazing things. Just turn to pages 266 and 267 to see him in the "Easy Lord of the Fishes Pose." Easy? Not for a beginner, but it shows what years of adhering to the disciplines of yoga can do.

Yee, the co-director of the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, and Zolotow, one of his yoga students, have put together this comprehensive book, which intersperses their conversations about the practice of yoga with more than 400 detailed black-and-white photos. In them, Yee and his wife, Donna Fone, demonstrate poses from the simplest to those that torque the body in ways you may never think to try.

One of the best things about the book is that it covers many yoga styles, which make it appropriate for people seeking different rewards from the practice of yoga. As the authors say, everyone can do yoga: "You can be male or female, young or old, flexible or stiff, well or sick, healthy or injured."

Those who primarily want to relax will find useful the demonstrations in which cushiony bolsters are used to help maintain certain positions, thereby releasing tension in particular parts of the body. The more ambitious yoga enthusiast can use the book to build a complete sequence of poses, including warmup moves, standing poses, twists, back bends, seated poses, forward bends and restorative poses.

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