When it comes to fitness, abstinence won’t make the heart grow stronger Reply

It’s no secret that guys think about sex. A lot. And it’s not just the young bucks, either – sex is important to old dudes, too. For instance, just picture Hugh Hefner and his young girlfriends while … no, wait. Don’t picture that.

Sorry.

Let’s get back to the sex. Some older guys – especially those with cardiovascular disease – sometimes wonder if the horizontal bop might be dangerous for them, potentially triggering a heart attack in the midst of the excitement (also known as “coming and going.”)

On the other hand, exercise is supposed to be good for the heart, so maybe the same is true for sex. Lots of exercise there – especially if you count the pleading.

Well, fellow old dudes, wonder no longer. A new review by the Harvard Men’s Health Watch indicates that, looked on as exercise, sex is much like chicken soup. No, I don’t mean that it’s better with matzoth balls. What I mean is that, while it may not help, it probably won’t hurt, either.

Several studies have linked sexual activity to heart attacks; however, none of them sharply define “sexual activity.” As a result, it’s not clear if they’re using a very narrow definition that covers only the act itself, or a broader one that includes things like foreplay, going to the jewelry store, or procuring chloroform.

Anyway, the Harvard study showed that the rate of fatal arrhythmias during the act itself is about one in 200. For a healthy 50-year-old man, the risk of having a heart attack in any one hour is about one in a million; sexual activity doubles the risk, but that risk is still just two in a million.

For men with heart disease, the risk is 10 times higher, but that is still only 20 in a million. Factor in the odds of an old dude actually getting laid to begin with, and the chances of checking out during sex are about the same as getting hit by lightning while cashing a winning Power Ball ticket on the deck of the Titanic.

So much for the danger part; what about exercise? How does making whoopee stack up against more prosaic forms of exertion, such as running? Well, I’m sorry to say that sex comes up short (I apologize for my language; “coming up short” is not a phrase any man wants to hear in relation to sex).

Researchers studied 19 men, measuring their heart rate on a treadmill in the laboratory, and while having sex in the privacy of their homes. I think they should have studied them having sex on a treadmill – I would love to see those numbers (and the video).

As it turns out, sex burns about 5 calories per minute, about the same as walking on a golf course. In other words, if you’re hoping for any sort of aerobic gains through sex, you’re going to have to lose the cart – or at the very least, fire the caddy.

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Is there life after rock ’n’ roll super-stardom? You decide 7

The life of a rock demigod is not an easy one. Sure, there’s the money. And the fame. And the adulation. And the sex. And the drugs. But take those away and you might as well be a columnist.

And if the life of a rock demigod is not easy, what then of the life of a retired rock demigod? That’s a tough one to answer, because not many of them actually make it to the “retired” stage.

Some of them – notably Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd – make it to the “retired (if you know what I mean)” stage, due in large to their genius, their vision, and their being completely mental.

Plenty of them make it to the “late” stage – and oddly, some stars’ stature has actually improved posthumously – but you can count on one hand those who have actually decided to turn their back on the spotlight, put away the coke spoon, and spend the remainder of their years clipping coupons.

One such rocker is Bill Wyman. Wyman once played bass guitar for an English combo called the Rolling Stones (perhaps you’ve heard of them; they were all the rage back when the surface of the earth was still cooling). The Stones – as their fans were wont to call them – were second in popularity only to Paul McCartney’s pre-Wings backup band, the Beatles.

Wyman voluntarily left the Stones in 1992 and decamped to France, where he now spends his days puttering around the chateau, dusting his solid gold Rolls-Royces and polishing his diamond-studded guitar picks. I guess a man can take only so much fame, fortune, and casual sex. Frankly, I don’t know how he hung on for as long as he did.

But do you know what Wyman does today to make ends meet? He sells metal detectors.

How’s that for a letdown? One of the true godfathers of rock, rich as Croesus (maybe richer, as I don’t think Croesus ever had a hit record) – and now he’s selling metal detectors.

Don’t know what a metal detector is? Ever been to a park and seen an old dude wearing a cardigan and Hush Puppies and a VFW cap, walking  slowly and waving one of those things that look like a WWII mine-sweeper, and nearly having a coronary every time he finds a tab top? That’s a metal detector. And Bill Wyman sells ’em.

According to his website, Bill is quite the treasure hunter himself. Apparently not content with merely being a relic, he’s taken up searching for them, as well.

I’m happy for Bill. He’s alive – which can’t be said for all of his original band mates. And you never see him in the news, checking into rehab, or divorcing yet anther wife, or getting into a drunken fistfight with a flight attendant. So there’s that.

But still – metal detectors? Back in 1965, Mick Jagger couldn’t get no satisfaction; don’t know if he ever did – but if he ever needs help finding his car keys, he should call Bill.

Getting old beats the alternative? Jury still out 5

I like to say, “Getting old sucks, but it still beats the alternative.” And while that’s mostly true, there’s no denying that getting old … well … kinda sucks.

Speaking of getting older, I just read the other day that in 2010 (which is this year, in case you haven’t been keeping up) one of every four people in the US will be 55 or older.

This is both good and bad. The good side is that people my age will have lots of peers to keep us company; the bad side is that going to the pool may soon require a blindfold. Seriously – – if I want to look at saggy, overweight old folks I have a full-length mirror in my bedroom. Of course it’s been turned to the wall since I turned 45.

You know those funhouse mirrors that distort your image to great comic effect? Don’t need one. Or people who put mirrors above their beds to heighten their erotic appeal? Not for me, thanks. That’s a little too much like sea-lion porn for my taste.

Speaking of mirrors, what sadistic bastard decided that mirrors the size of billboards, combined with operating-room lighting, were a good idea in hotel bathrooms? Last time I stepped out of a hotel bathroom shower and stood in front of one of those enormous mirrors, I screamed like a girl because I thought a walrus or, even scarier, a naked Wilford Brimley (or, scarier still, a naked David Crosby) had snuck in behind me. Turned out to be me. Now I shower with the lights off and my eyes closed.

Parties are different at this stage of life, too. Used to be, I could count on going to a party and meeting some hot chicks. Today when I go to a party, the only hot chicks I’m likely to meet are the host’s kids — or, even more depressingly, their grandkids. And even if I were not chronically married, I would never stand a chance of hooking up with one of these young nubiles. You’ve seen the bumper sticker that says, “No Fat Chicks?” Well, I saw a young woman the other day wearing a t-shirt that said, “No Old Dudes.” You’re probably familiar with the concept of the MILF, but did you ever wonder why you’ve never heard of a GILF? By the way, if you ever have wondered that, you’re a sick puppy and sure hope you wash your hands before you eat.

Another cruel trick nature plays on the aging — about the time my eyes started to go, I started sprouting wiry little black hairs in places I’d prefer not having wiry little black hairs. This makes it hard to see those wiry little black hairs. Those wiry little black hairs are partially to blame — they have a wicked knack for growing where I couldn’t see them, even if I had the eyes of peregrine falcon. Places like the inside of my ears. In the great evolutionary scheme of things, why in the world would a mammal need those wiry little black hairs inside his ears?

If there is a God and I were to meet Him (or Her) and I could ask only three questions, I already know what they’d be. The first would be, “What is the meaning of life (and, God or no God, if He – or She – says, “Monty Python’s best movie,” there’s gonna be an ass-kicking). The second question would be, “So, what were the Kingsmen actually saying?” And the third would be, “What is up with the hairs? I mean, seriously — WTF?”

“Hide your glasses, Sunshine – the Viagra’s kickin’ in!” 3

I read a news story the other day that claimed that the same generation that had ushered in the sexual revolution is about to have its way with senior sex.

As they said in that movie: “Be afraid – be very afraid.”

The story was about a program on aging and sexuality in sunny Orlando, Florida. Great – like the mental image of old, naked and sweaty wasn’t bad enough, now you can add to that list the adjective “sun-damaged.” You know, leather may be sexy in some situations, but not when it’s hanging in folds from your paramour’s bones.

The doctor who led the program said, “Attitudes about sex among seniors are changing as the baby boom generation comes along. They want more information about staying sexually active as they get older.” Here’s some information, fellow boomers: keep your eyes closed. And speaking of mental images, here’s a couple of helpful words for you guys: Salma Hayek.

One couple attending the program had been married for 48 years; they said they came to learn new ways to add spark to their relationship. The guy was quoted as saying, “She knows all my tricks by now.” If that’s the case, then she’s probably hip to that Salma Hayek thing, too.

In the song, “My Generation,” Pete Townsend famously wrote, “Hope I die before I get old.” Had he been even half as clever as he thought he was, he would have said, “Hope I die before I have to get naked with an old person.” (Pete, here’s an idea: maybe you could rework the chorus lyrics to say, “Talkin’ ’bout old genitalia.” Just a thought.)

For reasons I probably don’t need to enumerate, most people don’t think of older folks (especially when we’re trying to eat) as sexually active. But research shows that sexual activity occurs in about 73 percent of those aged 57-64, 53 percent of those 65-74, and 26 percent of those 75 and older. The research did not specify if those figures reflect sex with partners; if you toss in that parameter, I bet the numbers go down. Way down.

The article said that Boomers are less likely to accept and internalize society’s view of asexual seniors. The organizer said,  “One of the problems is that there are few role models of elderly sexuality. There aren’t a lot of media portrayals of sexually active seniors.”

To that, one can say only, thank heaven for small graces. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see portrayals of sexually active seniors. “Sexually active” usually implies nudity (as I recall) and that’s a sight I can live without — glasses or no glasses.