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Ever since my friend and hilarious social satirist Rick Koster teased me about the horrible magazines in doctors' waiting rooms, I admit that I have become a bit self conscious.
One afternoon, as I was listening to the heart sounds of an older, female patient, I noticed Cosmopolitan on her lap with a title that read something like "Incredible, New Sex Moves." I think I probably blushed. I thought of calling Koster for advice.
Instead, I waited 'til the end of the day, after my patients and all the staff had left, and I secretly grabbed the magazine from the examination room and read it. I felt a guilty excitement as I flipped the pages, as if I were afraid someone might catch me.
I had never really read or thought that much about Cosmo. When I was a little kid, my Grandma Mary showed my mother a Cosmo photo of a nude Burt Reynolds (I think Grandma Mary thought Burt was somewhat of a hunk) and I think the whole thing scarred me. And now, here I was in my middle age, secretly flipping through Cosmopolitan magazine, hoping that I might learn something new and exciting.
Not surprisingly, there was nothing new. (And thankfully, I didn't have to look at any naked men.) A lot of the other titles seemed to promise readers some new discovery about human sexuality, as if there were something previously undiscovered about the oldest act known to all life forms.
I was once sitting in a falafel shop in Boulder, Colorado, with my good friend, Hoag, and both of our wives when some silver haired 50-something guy drove up with a 24-year-old, Victoria Secret look-alike in his convertible Porsche. On cue they started making out as soon as they parked in front of our umbrella-covered table. Hoag and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, "That dog!" with a mixture of self-righteous disgust and maybe some envy.
A heated conversation followed, of course, in which our wives concluded that since a man's sexual peak is at 18 years old and a woman's sexual prime is in middle age, the silver-haired dude probably left his wife because she was hitting her sexual stride and he was simply not keeping up. He opted for a younger woman to not feel so inadequate. Hoag and I just nodded and agreed.
Not that I actually believe all that stuff about women not peaking until middle age or men falling apart after 18. It's a garbage theory postulated by Alfred Kinsey in the 1950s, linking average hormone levels at different ages with sexual feelings. It's kind of like saying boys are better at math than girls - it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy when people start believing it. I have patients in their 90s whose sex lives are as passionate as ever.
While I roll my eyes and say "yeah, whatever" whenever I now see another goofy article in Cosmo promising the "best sex ever," I think that the best authorities on such a subject should be my passionate nonagenarian couples, since they've been married the longest. Maybe we can start a new magazine - and have Koster as editor in chief.