Points to consider;
- Increased promiscuity
- Increased sex drive
- Decreased sex drive
- STD’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases
When speaking to individuals about sex and intimacy after a loss there are areas of discussion that many counselors ignore completely or shy away from when speaking with clients. Start the conversation or take your client’s lead when they share intimate stories.
Increased promiscuity can and does occur in many age groups after a loss. Where does the emotional energy go to when an individual does not know how to handle the loss they are experiencing? The loss does not necessarily have to be recent. Other factors may enter a person’s life and compound the situation, bringing up past losses.
Some people state they want to just feel alive again; it has nothing to with having a relationship. Comments such as; “I was never like this before”, “I don’t want to see that person again”, “This is like an addiction for me” have been made. There is never any judgment from a professional stand point.
Have the discussion about safe sex. Some people will know about this, but perhaps you have an elderly client who has not been in the singles market for decades and is not aware of how some social interactions have changed. Talk about the use of condoms and where to purchase them.
I am serious about this. Not everyone knows about this stuff. Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases by going to a doctor or a health clinic. There is a large increase in sexually transmitted disease in the senior population.
After a loss some people have reported increased and decreased sex drives; both are normal grief reactions. There is no right or wrong reaction here.
Personal safety needs to be addressed, no matter the age of the individual. There are predators out there. Social media, dating sites and going to any social function can be a place where predators seek those who seem vulnerable and perhaps alone.
Too often, individuals seeking love and comfort come to realize they are trapped, stuck in a relationship they did not see coming and do not know what to do now.
As a professional you are in a position to warn and educate your clients. Set all personal discomfort aside and have the sex talk.
Normalize grief reactions whenever possible.
Some people come to you with shame, blame, ignorance
and do not know where to have this conversation at or with whom.
You can be the neutral spot for them to understand what is going on.
All my best,
Barbara Gillett Saunders
When we know better, we do better.