Today’s song is ‘Physical’. This song was a song by British-born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John for her twelfth studio album ‘Physical’ in September 1981. The song was written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, who had originally intended to offer it to British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart. The song had also been offered to Tina Turner but when Turner declined, Davies gave the song to Olivia Newton-John, another of his clients.
The song was an immediate success, shipping two million copies in the United States, where it was certified Platinum and spent 10 weeks at Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’.
‘Physical’ ultimately became Newton-John's biggest American hit and cemented her legacy as a pop superstar, a journey that began when she crossed over from her earlier country-pop roots. The song's suggestive lyrics, which even caused it to be banned in some markets, helped change Newton-John's longstanding clean-cut image, replacing it with a sexy, assertive persona that was strengthened with follow-up hits such as ‘Make a Move on Me’, ‘Twist of Faith’ and ‘Soul Kiss’. The song reached Number 7 on the UK chart and was nominated for the ‘Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance’ and won the ‘Billboard Award for Top Single’.
All my life I have been a hopeless romantic who ‘fell in love’ too easily. There have been times when my attraction to the opposite sex has been primarily driven by a physical need and there have been times when my emotional need has far outweighed any physical considerations in the satisfactory equation. I have learned over the years that only the rarest of relationships on the planet can fulfil the desires of anyone, and then, I would have to add the qualification, ‘can fulfil the desires of anyone, at a given time’.
I have learned over the years, that a man or woman need not emotionally invest love in the person they are having sex with to make that sex for both parties enjoyable and satisfactory. I have also come to the conclusion that any man or woman in love with each another need not necessarily share the best of sexual relationships in order to be completely satisfied in their relationship together. Indeed, for many a married couple who have had their family many years earlier and are now moving towards retirement years, their physical requirements are often adequately satisfied by a gentle kiss, the holding hands, a warm smile and a gentle embrace. Some couples continue to engage in sexual activity after retirement age and still enjoy this physical part of their relationship, whereas many are more than happy to leave such physicality in their happy memories box of days past.
My twenty-five years as a Probation Officer (during which time, three years were exclusively spent working in the role of marriage guidance counsellor) did inform me that one person in a marriage would often deceive the other as to how satisfying their sexual contact was for them within their relationship (known as ‘faking sex’). I also worked with couples who did not/dare not inform their partner how dissatisfying the physical side of their relationship really was or was too embarrassed to talk about how their sex lives could be ‘mutually’ improved. Please note that the operative word is ‘mutually’.
In all the relationships that proved problematic, an absence of honest discussion was invariably at the heart of its ultimate breakdown. It is hard to believe just how many couples find it simply impossible to discuss intimate sexual details with their partner. And it is even more surprising to learn that many are willing to tell a total stranger those intimate details which they would/ could never tell their partner. However, it is crucially important to establish early on in any loving relationship what both partners find ‘acceptable’ and ‘non-acceptable’, what ‘they want’ and ‘don’t want’, what they want the other partner ‘to do and say’ to enhance their sexual pleasure and satisfaction and what they are not prepared ‘to do or say’, under any circumstances!
I have always believed that there is a reason why most things happen in this complicated life of ours. I also believe that old age, getting additional pain and aching backs, or indeed experiencing more serious illness is one of nature’s way of ‘putting the break on’ the physical side of our more natural impulses. I will never forget reading about an elderly couple who had been married for fifty years. They had always been very sexually active in their relationship, even when their children had left home. It transpired that one evening that the wife suggested to her husband half-jokingly, “ Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own bed instead of continuing to share a double, dear, especially since I get up frequently in the night with your loud snoring and this aching back of mine and I always seem to disturb you when I go downstairs for a cup of tea?” Instead of hearing the howl of protests about ‘Marriages coming to an end when man and wife no longer sleep together’, the husband willingly agreed and told his wife that he’d previously considered making the same proposal to her. Not only did they finish up sleeping in their own beds, but they even extended the proposal to have their own bedrooms also. Think about this situation for a second or two. Imagine the pleasant surprise of getting that gentle knock on your bedroom door when you are in bed, to be given the very best of birthday surprises by a loving partner?
I have also known older married couples carry on having sexual relationships because they thought that was the proper thing to do in a marriage when both no longer needed to be so physical. I was at the pub with a few allotment friends recently (all of us past 65 years of age) when one of the present company said, “There’s nowt like not being able to do it anymore to make you not want it like you once did, Bill!” I laughed but what he said could so easily have applied to me. Indeed, it did apply to me in many regards.
When I met Sheila nine years ago and we fell in love, I was 68 and she was 54 years old. Our age difference was never an issue with me as I was still in need of requiring a healthy amount of physical attention to satisfy my overall needs. For two years before our marriage, I never felt as satisfied with any previous woman I had ever known. Three months after we married on my 70th birthday, I was diagnosed with a terminal blood cancer. This illness and its immediate consequences necessitated many substantial changes in my life/ our lives over the years that followed.
For the past seven years, I have had more medical attention than I have ever needed in my life as I developed one cancer after another (seven in all) and had over half a dozen life-saving operations, fortnightly blood transfusions for three years, two six-month periods of chemotherapy and twenty radiotherapy sessions recently. I decided three years ago to have my own bedroom as well as my own bed, otherwise, poor Sheila would never have had a good night’s sleep, and neither would I have been able to. I now find that the only way I can block out the body pain that I have felt all my life since the age of 11 years is to drop off to sleep listening to the radio or some songs. This helps us both sleep better as my bedroom is situated at the other side of the house on a different floor level. We could both have the radio on full blast and neither of us would be able to hear the noise of the other.
Since Sheila and I have lived together, for the first time in my life, I experienced the three dimensions of a relationship simultaneously; the physical, the emotional and the spiritual! This was the very first time I ever experienced all three dimensions in one relationship. Since my cancer illnesses, I have desired less and less, the sexually physical side of our relationship. Having never required this part of our relationship as much as I used to, Sheila doesn’t miss it in truth. However, the strange thing is this. As the sexually physical change in our relationship has lessened, the emotional and spiritual bond we share together has grown immeasurably. I can honestly state that I am happier and more content than I have ever been in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed every stage of my life and I would be the greatest of liars was I to even suggest that I didn’t have a high libido from teenage years up until my 71st year of life. Sigmund Freud introduced the term ‘libido’ to explain his theories of the more intimate relationship between couples. He defined ‘libido’ to mean the instinctual energy associated with the sex drive (ie how much one wants or doesn’t want it).
Over the past month, I have started dedicating my daily song to my Facebook friends in rotational order. Please note, that unless specifically stated, both topic of song choice and the person of dedication are purely incidental. I dedicate today’s song to Mitzi Shannon from Bellevue, Pennsylvania. I hope that you and your family have a nice day, Mitzi. Thank you for being my Facebook friend, Bill x
Love and peace Bill xxx