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The Act of Marriage After 40: Making Love for Life


Yes, lovemaking does change after 40, but it is still the most thrilling experience two married people of the opposite sex can experience on this earth!

In this practical, fun-to-read, illustrated guidebook, Tim and Beverly La Haye cover a broad spectrum of key topics and show married couples how to experience a more satisfying and joy-filled sex life long after age 40.

Millions of married couples have questions about sexual intimacy. Yet all ...

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Yes, lovemaking does change after 40, but it is still the most thrilling experience two married people of the opposite sex can experience on this earth!

In this practical, fun-to-read, illustrated guidebook, Tim and Beverly La Haye cover a broad spectrum of key topics and show married couples how to experience a more satisfying and joy-filled sex life long after age 40.

Millions of married couples have questions about sexual intimacy. Yet all too often, their questions go unasked . . . or unanswered. This easy-reading, medically sound book candidly addresses issues of intimacy.

Does sexual desire actually reverse with aging?
How does menopause affect a woman's sex drive?
How can exercise and nutritional supplements improve our sex life?
Is there such a thing as male menopause?
What can we do to put more spark into our lovemaking?

You'll learn about sexual desire and dysfunction. Understand the risk and temptation of extramarital affairs. Gain a better understanding of menopause and the dangers of breast and prostate cancer. Learn how to prepare for, and adjust to, physical changes affecting lovemaking.

You and your spouse can rekindle that sexual spark in your marriage—or build even stronger intimacy and commitment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stress, aging and illness can contribute to a flagging sexual relationship for men and women after age 40. But the LaHayes, whose 1976 2.5-million-copy bestseller, The Act of Marriage, made it more permissible for evangelical Christians to discuss sex openly, say that combining the correct frame of mind with a few basic techniques can make the middle to golden years the richest and most sexually fulfilling. The husband-and-wife team (writing with Mike Yorkey, former editor of Focus on the Family magazine) cover the spectrum of sex and aging by discussing both male and female menopause, fluctuations in sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, breast and prostate cancer, common temptations and the importance of maintaining good health to enhance peak sexual performance. They offer practical tips and suggestions for the bedroom, demonstrating how spirituality affects sexual intimacy. Specifically, the authors advise couples to work on cultivating a warm relationship before entering the bedroom. They should take time to make thoughtful physical preparations and choose surroundings that are comfortable for both partners. Foreplay should offer a gentle touch, and intercourse involves finding those positions most conducive to mutual pleasure. The authors include a fascinating survey of approximately 800 men and women who answered 71 questions on their sexual history, satisfaction and habits. Each chapter is worthy of thoughtful, careful reading, offering hope to "over-40" married Christian couples. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The authors' The Act of Marriage (Zondervan, 1998) has been a best seller among Christian sex manuals. With this latest collaboration, Tim, author of the popular "Left Behind" series, and Beverly, chair of Concerned Women for America, pitch their biblical-supported eroto-positive message to boomers and older. Their combination pep talk, refresher, and repair guide discusses enhancing intimacy, the basics of sexual arousal/response, male and female menopause, erectile dysfunction, breast and prostate cancer, sex and disability, nutrition and exercise, avoiding affairs, and recognizing one's spirituality through accepting Christ. Facts are supported by appropriate references plus survey data from older Christian couples. Stressing wives' satisfaction as well as husbands', this book belongs in all public libraries along with The Act of Marriage and Douglas E. Rosenau's A Celebration of Sex (Thomas Nelson, 1994). Books by credentialed Christian sex counselors Clifford and Joyce Penner, Ed and Gaye Wheat, and Archibald Hart should also be considered.--Martha Cornog, Philadelphia Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310231141
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 10/3/2000
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 486,542
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim La Haye is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 70 nonfiction books, many on biblical prophecy and end-times. He is the coauthor of the record-shattering Left Behind series and is considered one of America's foremost authorities on biblical end-times prophecy.

Beverly La Haye ( is the bestselling author of the Seasons Series (with Terri Blackstock) and The Act of Marriage (with her husband, Tim). She is the founder and chairwoman of Concerned Women for America and shares a daily devotional commentary on the nationally syndicated radio show Concerned Women Today. She and her husband live in southern California.

Mike Yorkey is an author, coauthor, and collaborator living in Encinitas, California, with more than seventy books to his credit. His most recent book is Believe: The Eric Le Grand Story, the story of Rutgers football player Eric Le Grand, who was paralyzed from the neck down on a kickoff play in 2010. He has collaborated with former San Francisco Giant pitcher Dave Dravecky and tennis star Michael Chang, and he has also written for numerous sports magazines. His website is


Sometimes, while sitting on airplanes, evangelical preacher Tim LaHaye would ask himself, “What if the Rapture occurred on an airplane?" That germ of an idea grew into the phenomenally successful Left Behind series, which LaHaye coauthors with fiction writer Jerry B. Jenkins. The books combine Biblical prophecy with speculative fiction to produce an action-packed thriller about events between the Rapture, when (according to one Christian tradition) the faithful will ascend to heaven, and the Second Coming.

Before the series began, Jenkins had carved out a career writing other people's autobiographies -- he ghostwrote or co-wrote those of Billy Graham, Orel Herschiser, Hank Aaron, and Nolan Ryan, among others -- as well as writing novels and a few inspirational books on marriage and parenting. Tim LaHaye also wrote books on marriage and faith, served as the pastor for a ministry in California, and co-founded The Pre-Trib Research Center, a Bible scholarship group dedicated to the study of end-times prophecy. LaHaye spent several years searching for a coauthor who could take his vision of the earth's last days -- including that intriguing image of passengers vanishing from an airplane -- and spin it into fiction. Finally, LaHaye and Jenkins were introduced by their mutual literary agent at Alive Communications, and Jenkins began writing the story of airline captain Rayford Steele, whose wife and son vanish along with millions of other true believers. Those "left behind" on Earth have a last chance to choose sides in the ensuing battle between good and evil.

The books became a blockbuster hit. Sales of the Left Behind series soared with each successive volume, and by 2001, ABC News reported, 50 million had been sold. "The formula combines Tom Clancy-like suspense with touches of romance, high-tech flash and Biblical references," The New York Times wrote, explaining how its authors pulled off "an unparalleled achievement for an evangelical novel." LaHaye and Jenkins were stunned by their own success: "I've been writing for 40 years, with 12 million books in print, but I've never seen anything like this," said LaHaye.

The series has spawned a slew of spinoffs: comic books, calendars, a young adults' series, dramatized audio recordings and a movie based on the first book. It has also generated controversy, both within and without the Christian community, for issues ranging from politics (the U.N. figures into the story as a tool of the Antichrist) to Scriptural interpretation (many New Testament scholars reject LaHaye's belief, first popularized by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s, in a seven-year tribulation period following the Rapture).

But LaHaye and Jenkins are convinced that their message is getting through to their readers. They estimate that more than 2,000 people have converted as a result of reading the Left Behind books. "And needless to say, for us that's more important than bestsellers, or money, or anything else," says Jenkins.

Good To Know

Jerry Jenkins is also the writer of a syndicated comic strip, "Gil Thorp," which runs in 60 newspapers nationwide.
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    1. Hometown:
      Jerry B. Jenkins lives in Black Forest, Colorado
    1. Education:
      Tim LaHaye has a B.A., Bob Jones University; and a Doctorate of Ministries, Western Baptist Seminary
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


This book is unlike any other I have ever written. It should be read only by married couples, those immediately contemplating marriage, and those who counsel married couples.

It is deliberately frank. I have long felt a need for a clear and detailed presentation of the intimate relationship that exists between a husband and wife. Most Christian books on this subject skirt the real issues and leave too much to the imagination; such evasiveness is not adequately instructive. Secular books, on the other hand, often go overboard telling it like it is in crude language repulsive to those who need help. In addition, such books usually advocate practices considered improper by biblical standards.

To keep the facts that every couple needs to know from being offensive, I am writing this book with the help of Beverly, my wife of fifty years. In addition to the delicate sense of balance she brings to this work, I have drawn on her extensive counseling experiences as a minister's wife, conference speaker, and registrar of Christian Heritage College.

Both of us have counseled enough married couples to convince us that an enormous number of them are not enjoying all the blessings of which they are capable or for which God has designed them. We have discovered that many others find the intimacies of married love distasteful and unpleasant. Through the years, we have developed several teaching principles that have helped such people in a relatively short period of time. The requests of counselors, pastors, and others persuaded us that these same principles could help thousands of people if presented in book form.

Before we had had time to begin the project, Dr. Robert K. DeVries, then executive vice president of Zondervan Publishing House, invited us to lunch to present us with the first printed copy of my previous book, How to Win Over Depression. "A book that is sorely needed today, written by a Christian couple, would concern sexual adjustment in marriage," he remarked, "and we would like to ask you two to write it." We thanked him and promised to pray about it.

At first Bev was reluctant to get heavily involved with the endeavor until the Lord gave her a specific sign. Within the next two months she counseled at least ten wives who were averse to sexual intercourse. The success those women soon achieved in their love lives convinced her that God required her active participation in the project.

As we began to read current literature on the subject, convinced that God meant lovemaking to be enjoyed by both partners, we prayed that He would lead us to make this work fully biblical and highly practical. He provided many counseling illustrations and pertinent suggestions from pastors, doctors, and friends, among them Dr. Ed Wheat, a family physician who has prepared a superb series of lectures on the subject. When we met him at our Family Life Seminar in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he presented us with a complete set of his cassettes and graciously offered us the freedom to use anything in them. We recommend these cassettes to every married couple and those planning to be married in the near future; they are unquestionably the finest we have ever reviewed. In fact, Dr. Wheat includes information in them that we have not found in the fifty or more books we have scrutinized on this subject.

Inasmuch as most of the people we counsel are Christians, we concluded through our reading that Christians generally experience a higher degree of sexual enjoyment than non-Christians. However, there was no way to prove our assumption. We then prepared an intimate survey for married couples and offered it to those who have attended our Family Life Seminars. By comparing the responses with those of secular sex surveys, our conclusions were confirmed and other interesting and valuable facts were discovered. The results of our survey appear in chapter 13, and parts of it are scattered through the book.

While we were writing the last chapter of this book, Redbook magazine published a Sexual Pleasure Survey showing the preferences of 100, 000 women. The survey was taken by the magazine and written by Robert J. Levin (coauthor with Masters and Johnson of The Pleasure Bond). The most significant finding of Redbook's survey and the one listed first was that "sexual satisfaction is related significantly to religious belief. With notable consistency, the greater the intensity of a woman's religious convictions, the likelier she is to be highly satisfied with the sexual pleasures of marriage." Naturally we were delighted to find that Redbook's survey revealed results quite similar to those of our survey. On the strength of his research Mr. Levin emphatically confirmed that "strongly religious women (over 25) seem to be more responsive . . . [and] she is more likely than the nonreligious woman to be orgasmic almost every time she engages in sex." This further convinces us that our presupposition is accurate.

No single book by human beings will ever become the last word on any subject; therefore we don't claim this manual on married love to be final. But we do believe it contains much valuable information helpful to almost any married couple, and several of its insights are not currently found in any other book of its kind. We therefore send it out with our prayers that God will use it to enrich both the love and the love lives of those who read it.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction: Why the need for this book
One: Love for a Long, Long Lifetime
A couple’s sexual relationship changes with the ages, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Two: The Change of Life
Every woman goes through menopause, which has repercussions regarding the sexual relationship.
Three: The Male Menopause
Is there such a thing? How do men change physically in the forties and fifties?
Four: A Streetcar Named Desire
Women often lose their desire for sex in the midlife years. What can be done?
Five: A Refresher Course
Is your love life in a twenty-year-long wagon rut? If so, here are some tips.
Six: Great Sex at Any Age
Intimacy never goes out of style.
Seven: When You’re Dealing with ED
It’s called ED—erectile dysfunction. Here’s why you’re hearing so much about it, and why we’re becoming a Viagra nation.
Eight: Don’t Delay; Go Today
Breast cancer is a terrible modern-day scourge for midlife women. This chapter talks about how breast cancer affects the sexual relationship.
Nine: No Laughing Matter
The male counterpart to breast cancer is prostate cancer, and it’s no laughing matter.
Ten: “In Sickness and in Health”
How does the sexual relationship change when one of the partners is incapacitated or suffering from a disease?
Eleven: The Temptations
The eye can wander in the midlife years, and extramarital liaisons are disastrous affairs.
Twelve: Exercise and Nutrition for a Healthy Sex Life
If you want to keep having a great sex life, you need to get in shape and eat right. Here’s how to do it.
Thirteen: Questions and Answers
This chapter is a grab bag of questions answered by Tim.
Fourteen: The Critical Component
Midlife men and women need more than a great sex life; they also need Jesus.
Fifteen: A Couple with Hope
David and Sonya Moore, in their mid-forties, describe the life of a marriage.
Appendix: The “Act of Marriage After 40 Survey” Results
With comments from Tim La Haye
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First Chapter

Chapter One
Love for a Long, Long Lifetime
Many people as they grow older--notice I didn't say old--poke fun at their diminishing ability to perform sexually. For instance, one of my favorite jokes goes like this:
The following are the three stages of a couple's love life--
1. Couples in their twenties have sex triweekly.
2. Couples in their thirties try weekly to have sex.
3. Couples in their forties, fifties, and sixties try weakly to have sexual relations.
Those of you crossing the threshold into the middle-age years may hear that there's 'a lot of will but no way.' But don't you believe it. Sex begins upstairs in the mind God gave you, so if you think you're too old for sex, you'll act accordingly. This would be a shame because we believe couples can--and should--enjoy a vibrant sex life until they are well into their seventies, even their eighties. Psalm 90:10 reminds us, 'The length of our days is seventy years--or eighty, if we have the strength.' To 'have the strength,' we must take care of our bodies by exercising moderately, eating the right foods, and taking nutritional supplements. (I'll have more to say about this later.)
One of our major themes in this book is that you can continue to love your spouse in physical and amorous ways that will be even better than during those first few sexually adventurous years of marriage. It is possible to enjoy an active, satisfying sex life well into your seventies and eighties. Affection, warmth, and sensuality do not have to deteriorate with age and can actually increase in the midlife years.
Sex in later life is sex for its own sake since our childbearing years are in our rearview mirrors. We make love for pleasure, release, communication, and intimacy. Since the midlife years are marked with fewer responsibilities on the home front (the kids are grown and gone or about to leave the nest), many find this era a time of exhilaration. We lose a step physically, but we more than gain that back with experience. Playwright George Bernard Shaw had it right when he correctly stated, 'Youth is wasted on the young.'
Sex can remain interesting, fulfilling, and exciting in the forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond. Older women rarely lose their physical ability to reach an orgasm, and many older men exhibit a capability for erections and ejaculations. We can expect the body to slow down gradually in sexual response, however, and for sexual desire to lessen, especially for women.
The fact that you have chosen to read about this topic suggests that your sexual relationship is important to you and your spouse. Based on that interest, we will attempt to answer several fundamental questions in The Act of Marriage After 40:
* What are satisfying love relationships like in the midlife years?
* In what ways does the act of marriage change as spouses grow older together?
* How can the sexual relationship improve in the second half of marriage?
To begin our discussion, let's debunk these common myths about sex in the midlife years.
Myth #1: Couples should expect to lose their ability to make love after they reach a certain age
We all know that males reach their sexual peak in late adolescence--between the ages of eighteen and twenty. A young male can ejaculate three to six times a day. We also know that after this sexual peak, males show a steady decline in their sexual ability to climax throughout the rest of their lives.1 A male's ability to make love will not drop off a cliff when he hits forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy; instead, it's a steady descent. Picture a Boeing 757 following a 'glide path' into Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and you get the idea.
On the flip side, women reach their sexual peak ten, twenty years after men when they are in their late thirties and remain on that plateau through their sixties, after which they may show a slight decline in sexual response capability.2 Fred Stoeker, coauthor of Every Man's Battle: Winning the War of Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time, once looked forward to the time in his marriage when he and his wife, Brenda, would experience a 'sexual nirvana' when his wife's peaking line of desire crossed his descending path. If only physical relationships were that simple, Fred says. 'In the end, it wasn't the match of ability or desire that mattered so much, but accepting the fact that there would likely be no match. Men and women are different, and understanding those differences was the key to sensitivity and tenderness for us,' he said.
One of those differences is that, biologically speaking, women experience little sexual impairment as they age. Many women feel that sex is more enjoyable after menopause since there is no risk of becoming pregnant. Others feel their sexual assertiveness increase because they feel comfortable in a stable marriage. Since men and women achieve emotional maturity in the midlife years, they can pave the way toward a superior intimate relationship.
Myth #2: The quality of sex declines for men and women in the midlife years
Your body certainly changes with age. A twenty-year-old man can be erect in five seconds, while it takes a fifty-year-old male half a minute. Maybe a septuagenarian needs several minutes of manual stimulation to become aroused. While an older man may take longer to achieve an erection, he often gains more control over ejaculation because he can sustain his erection longer. With more control, he can take his time to bring his wife to orgasm before intercourse.
The biggest difference is the 'rebound,' or the refractory time, before sex is again possible. At a male's sexual peak (in his late teens or early twenties), he could orgasm as many as three to six times in one night. Older men need twelve to twenty-four hours before they are capable of ejaculation--sometimes several days. We need to keep our eyes focused on how good the sexual experience can be, not how many sexual experiences one can have.
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