No bang in boom

NATALIE PONA, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Never mind sex -- seems even small displays of affection are too much for boomers, a study found.

In Boomers in the Bedroom, commissioned by Viagra-maker Pfizer, only 39% of Canadians older than 40 reported hugging or kissing their partner daily, with 15% saying they never even do that much.

"This is very common," said Dr. David Schnarch, a world-renowned author and marriage therapist. "Many couples are emotionally alienated from each other."

After the excitement wears off in a marriage, many partners find they don't have a real connection.

"Intimacy is much more challenging than many of us believe," he said. "Most of us don't believe that if we were truly known we would be truly loved," Schnarch said.

Even couples who report having sex weekly -- at 18% of Canadians questioned -- said they felt disconnected from their spouse.

Intimacy is "not a function of bodies," Schnarch said. "If you just close your eyes and hump away, you don't have to deal with the bad feelings you have for your partner."

In his practice and in his books, Schnarch recommends a series of intimacy building exercises that involve more hugging and touching, he said.

Good relationships often lead to improved sex lives, said Alex McKay, research co-ordinator with the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada.

But good sex doesn't make a bad relationship better.

"We have become very much obsessed lately with the sexual component of relationships and we tend to assume that by enhancing the sexual aspect of the relationship we're going to enhance the overall relationship," McKay said.

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