People seemed astounded by Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Lisa Vanderpump's (and you've got to love that name) admission on Bravo TV that it's not true that she and her husband Kenneth Todd only have sex twice a year. "Well, not every year," Vanderpump explained. "Christmas and birthdays, and that's his birthday, not mine. Mine is another day off."
On Andy Cohen's show, "Watch What Happens Live," Vanderpump, whose nickname to close friends is "Pinky," laughed off the notion that just because she seems to talk about sex a lot (and she does), doesn't mean that she has a lot of sex. "Look, she said, "my husband and I have been married 29 years. We're very secure in our marriage."
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It seems Vanderpump was making an important statement about the state of many long term happy marriages, i.e. marriages built on commitment, common values, love, respect and affection. The Vanderpumps have children; their daughter Pandora is 24, their son Max is 18. At one time, it's easy to believe they had a vibrant and healthy sex life. But viewers of the show seemed uneasy to learn that the couple were no longer engaging in frequent - or even weekly or monthly -sex. Is that healthy, people wondered. Or could it possibly be true as one viewer wrote in, "Don't rich people like sex?"
While how much money a woman has doesn't necessarily have an effect on her sex drive, the real issue worth discussing is Lisa Vanderpump's open acknowledgment of her lack of physical desire. It was refreshing, I think, and probably has to do with her age. Even if it's true that Vanderpump was "snatched from the cradle," when she married Kenneth Todd, the actress (she appeared in a number of films in the '70's and '80's, including one called "The Wildcats of St. Trinian") is 51 years old, and it's a safe bet to guess she's in menopause. Or post-menopause. And that explains it.
Contrary to what our youth-oriented culture continues to hammer at us, it's perfectly natural and normal for a woman to experience a decrease in sexual desire during and after menopause. That's because of the drop in hormones. The reason for this is biological. Sex drive is connected to procreation, and after menopause, the body knowsthe time for making babies is done. To outsmart the body's natural instinct to shut this down, women ask their doctors to prescribe hormone replacement therapy. But while the therapy does work to restore lubrication, which is a key element to successful sex, there still is no pill or drug or cream that can stimulate or restore the female libido.
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What to do? Well, you can be like the Vanderpumps and find other paths to intimacy. Or you could take hormones, at least for awhile. A healthy and more natural approach is to go out of your way to find alternative ways to give and receive physical pleasure: a massage, plus lots of kissing and cuddling. If you're still interested in having intercourse or simply wish to please your partner, the main thing is lubrication. Without it, intercourse is painful and pain leads to further avoidance.
Here's something else good to know. The vagina is a very forgiving organ. Even if you haven't used yours in awhile, it can "come back." That old adage, "Use it or lose it," isn't completely true. Once you start using it again on a regular basis, your vagina will respond and become as good as new.
About the author: Eve Marx, is an award-winning journalist, columnist, and bona fide "Sexpert." As an authority on sex, dating and relationship advice, she is a contributor to Cosmopolitan, Savvy Miss, Men's Health and iVillage.
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