In Search of Their Own Elixir of Love
By Michael Winerip
Published: November 27, 2009
CHARLOTTE McLAUGHLIN was married for 35 wonderful years. “He was the only partner in my life, a terrific guy,” said Ms. McLaughlin, a retired cosmetics consultant. But in 2001, her husband, Bill, died of heart disease at 60, and to help cope with the loss, Ms. McLaughlin, who was in her 50s, began taking an antidepressant.
Then in 2004 she met another terrific guy, a 65-year-old widower named Sanford, and felt an attraction, though she worried about keeping up. Antidepressants can inhibit sex drive. “I was afraid of pain at my age, after three or four years of not having … you know, relations.”
So Ms. McLaughlin did what a lot of middle-aged women here do when they are not ready to give up on sex. She visited the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute, which treats about 200 women a week, mostly from the Philadelphia-New York City corridor, but some from as far away as Canada, South America and Britain. Half the patients seen by the staff of 20 are boomer women. A lot have husbands and boyfriends who’ve been given a recharge via Viagra or even a penile implant, and, as Ms. McLaughlin said, “We need something, too.”
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