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What’s age got to do with love and desire

Sexual desire and love continue to be basic requirements even when we get old

Copyright: Fotolia/jamenpercy

In this excerpt from “The Love Diet,” published by Random House, Shonaali Sabherwal, chef and instructor in macrobiotics, reveals the secrets of keeping the chemistry alive at an age when women are fighting menopause and lower testosterone levels are bumming out men. “I don’t think about ageing. I have those moments of panic and vanity. But life keeps getting better, so you can’t worry about it too much.” – Jennifer Garner

Sexual behaviour and desire change with ageing, but they never really go away. Sometimes health issues impact sexuality, but the need for intimacy – both emotional and physical – remains even as you become older and more settled. The key to be in touch with your sexuality when you age is to keep talking to your partner. Talk, take your health seriously and listen. For women, it’s usually their gynaecologist and for men, it’s usually their women. If you don’t have a partner, then talk to a friend. It is extremely important to build a relationship at this time with your healthcare provider – this could be your doctor or for men, a urologist.

For women, menopause may lead to a waning of sexual desire or sometimes not – it’s just a matter of adapting to changes. At this time it is good to address your and your partner’s sexual needs. Does a low libido alter or change anything about your life? I recently spoke to a cousin who is 46. She said that the perimenopause phase was really nerve-wracking, not only emotionally, but physically as well.

The same was revealed to me by a friend yesterday – she’s 50 and going through menopause. The sheer physicality of the situation has taken a toll on her nerves. But when I asked them if it has affected things between them and their partners, they surprisingly said that nothing much had changed about their sexuality or sexual behaviour. They both have very supportive partners and it really helped. It’s important for men to extend a hand of support to their lady loves.

The Love Diet by Shonali SabherwalGetting older is not a disease – you are in charge of your sexuality and the love life you want. While ageing is a fact, feeling old is optional. The best thing you can do is stay sexually active. I keep setting new fitness milestones for myself every year – my next one is to participate in the Wildflower Triathalon held in California – that’s how I keep myself challenged. Overcome your fears by challenging yourself constantly and keeping yourself mentally and physically fit.

Remedies to revive sexual health

Vitality stew (for vegetarians, replace fish with burdock)

Objective: To restore sexual vitality, energy, and potency


1 whole fish, including bones (about 2.5 kgs)

½ to 1 cup tulsi (basil.- ed.) leaves with stem

1 tablespoon grated ginger (fresh)

Burdock equal proportion to fish (dhatura ki jad in Hindi or ghagra in Marathi); native mostly to Africa and Europe. Some Northern parts of India are growing this root vegetable. You can subsitute with carrots instead, if burdock is not easily available.


Leave fish intact, except cleaning it to remove internals (gall bladder and thyroid). Include the whole fish, i.e. the head, scales, and fins; you can remove the eye of the fish if you wish. Cut it into 1-2 inches thick pieces.

Cut burdock root (ideal is 2-3 times the weight of the fish) into match sticks or thin slices. Chop everything else, and place all ingredients in a pressure cooker. Take tulsi leaves and stems and wrap it in a muslin cloth and tie the end like a pouch. Put this in the pressure cooker on top of the fish, and add water 3-4 cups (2/3rd water). Pressure cook for an hour on low flame. Once done switch off and let pressure release on its own, don’t force it. Alternatively you can boil the soup for 6 hours till bones dissolve.

This soup can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Eat 1 cup at a time – warm. You can continue to have it till your vitality returns….

Your Love Health

I have my own take on what makes for great love health as far as exercise is concerned. I am sure all of us include some amount of exercise in our daily lives, so please continue with whatever you do for cardio activity and strength training. However, the areas that need a focus are:

1. The core: Strong abdominal and pelvic muscles and relaxed hips especially in women. Healthy PC muscles (puboccygeus) are very important. This will improve blood flow to the sexual areas, bring in bladder control, and enhance the love experience.

2. Blood flow to hips: Increased circulation and blood flow in your pelvic region will help with stamina, endurance, and will also sharpen your sexual sensitivity.

3. Breathing: Breathing exercises will help oxygen flow within the body, stimulate metabolism, aid digestion, and also release tension.

4. Connecting the mind and body: Lifting tension, focussing on positive thoughts, and meditating are key in trying it all together.

Meditation and love

Just as it’s important to maintain your physical health, it is important to maintain good mental health. Your body will respond to how your mind is. Meditation is like plugging your energy switch everyday to the big power of the universe. It not only opens up all your energy pathways, but also makes your chakras vibrate at a higher frequency and opens you up in thoughts of love (we carve out new pathways for our thoughts to travel). …

Self love meditation for the heart chakra

Sit comfortably and relax with your hands in your lap. Imagine a small green (colour of the heart chakra) plant pushing up out of the ground, like a bulb in springtime. The shoot is being drawn upward by the warmth of the sun, and the more the sun shines, the taller the shoot grows. It sends itself outwards and the bulb opens and spread into leaves. The leaves are tilting themselves to catch the sun’s rays, so that they can make food for this bud to grow further. The plant is rich green, expanded and looking alive. At the peak of its growth, something new happens – a central bud forms that looks different. As you keep watching it, this central bud unfurls and becomes a pinkish red colour – a flower with delicate aroma and soft petals. Enjoy the colours and the contrast with the green and let this symbol relax and restore your heart chakra.

An attitude of gratitude

To me this is the single most powerful tool you can have to better your life, and take it onto another level when it comes to shifting to ‘love’. Not only does having a genuine ‘attitude of gratitude’ signify that you are healthy in body, but also shows the health of your mind. As Louise Hay says, ‘Gratitude is like a gear shift that can move our mental mechanism from obsession to peacefulness, from stuckness to creativity, from fear to love.’ By offering gratitude daily for all the things, people, situations in your life, you open up all your channels for things to come back to you from the universe in abundance. I feel that over the years gratitude just becomes a practice, and when this happens you find that you are grateful for even more things that become a part of your life.

This is a feature from Womens Features Service.


08.07.2014 | 9:48