"Many women I talk to are afraid to carry condoms because they don't want their date to think they are a slut," she says.
"But it's your health we're talking about, and you have to be a grown-up.
If your date can't handle the fact that you want to protect yourself, you probably aren't interested in him anyway." If your relationship continues -- and it's an exclusive arrangement for both of you -- unprotected sex might be OK but only after you both get tested for sexually transmitted diseases -- and wait for reassuring results.
If you're not certain about any aspect of protection, talk to your doctor, or ask a trusted and well-informed friend.
Although most experts say dating is much like riding a bicycle -- you never forget how - it also means that a bump in the road can lead to a nasty spill when you least expect it.
There are no "shoulds" when it comes to dating at midlife and physical intimacy, and you have a right to go at your own pace.
When the time arrives that you do feel ready, when, how, and where is less important than basic safety.
To help you along the way, Web MD offers these tips from the experts on how to get started. San Francisco psychologist Jonathan Rosenfeld points out that dating is a numbers game: You're probably going to have to meet a lot of people before you find someone you really like.
"If you are a busy adult with work you're committed to, and children at home, then you have to make dating efficient," Rosenfeld says.
There is no guarantee that you are going to like your sister-in-law's newly divorced first cousin, of course, but the connection ensures that your date is not a complete unknown. Arrange to meet at a cafÃ© or restaurant rather than at your home or his. For your first meeting, it is best to arrange a coffee date rather than a dinner or an afternoon at a museum.
Once you've made a connection -- either online, through friends, or by striking up a conversation with someone in the grocery store -- and you've arranged to get together, there are some important things to remember. If you have made a connection online and know nothing about your date, you may want to be extra cautious by letting a friend know where you will be meeting and at what time. If you don't seem to be hitting it off, it's easier for both parties when there's a quick escape route!
If you've been out of the dating scene for some time, you may be unfamiliar with the essentials of safe sex.