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Marilyn, a 57-year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. "No," Marilyn said with a laugh, "it's better than that: I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be." She further confided that they planned to make their reunions "a regular thing — if four times a year can be called 'regular.' But I think that's about all I really want." Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things." And episodic pleasure-seeking may be more common than you think: In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met.

A few weeks later, she joined him for "a wonderful weekend" in his home state. (For men, the figure was 90 percent.) And should they be propositioned by someone they found attractive, 48 percent of the women (and 69 percent of the men) said they would be tempted to have sex outside the relationship.

Further evidence of Roving Eye Syndrome came from a study of sexuality in the United States commissioned by AARP in 2009: It found that 6 percent to 8 percent of singles age 50 and up were dating more than one person at a time.

But then it gets you thinking: You're single, too — what could be so bad about a casual night in bed with someone you like but don't love?

For 50-plus types unwilling to walk — possibly rewalk — the path that leads to romance, rings and relocation, the prospect of a "friend with benefits" is looking less and less like a millennial indulgence.

The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. We do know that strategies that promote healthy behaviors in relationships are important.

This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. Programs that teach young people skills for dating can prevent violence.


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