If you think you were at your sexual best in your 20s or 30s, you might want to think again. Your body may not be as young or as flexible as it used to be, but you may find that natural changes in your life as you get older can bring you closer to your partner.
You just may find that you enjoy your sex life more than you did when you were young.
1) Intimacy is ageless
There is no age limit that applies to wanting or needing to be intimate with another person. Intimacy includes much more than the act of having sex. It can also include kissing, cuddling, talking and touching, emotional connections and much more.
With or without sex, acts of intimacy can be more valuable as you get older and wiser. You may discover more about what makes you happy and what is really important to you and your partner.
2) Lifestyle changes can be a plus
As you get older, changes in your lifestyle can also contribute to increased opportunities for intimacy. Retirement, or less focus on climbing the ladder at work, can reduce stress and give you more time to spend together as a couple.
As children leave the nest, you may also find new opportunities for intimacy and sex, with fewer interruptions in the bedroom. Being able to sleep through the night without having to see to a child’s late night needs may also mean you’ll both have more energy and desire for sex.
3) Sex will be different
Some people worry that physical changes will make them less attractive or less able to “perform” in bed. If you compare your body at 50-plus to your body at 20, you’re probably right to think sex won’t be the same. But “different” does not have to mean “worse” when it comes to sex.
For some people, age also means loss, as partners leave a relationship or pass away. Entering into new relationships at an older age can mean new opportunities to redefine your sexual life. And it can lead to new expectations on both sides about what a fulfilling relationship means.
4) Always practice safe sex
Just because you can no longer get pregnant does not mean you are “safe” when it comes to having sex. Sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS are potential risks for everyone who has sex, regardless of age. Even if the conversation is uncomfortable, talk to your partner and make sure you are protected before you start any new sexual relationship.
5) Menopause means change
Menopause is the time when a woman stops having her period, as her childbearing years come to an end. Some women find menopause to be sexually freeing, as they no longer have to worry about getting pregnant.
But some women experience physical changes such as vaginal dryness that makes sex less comfortable after menopause.
Vaginal atrophy is a condition that sometimes begins after menopause that causes vaginal burning, itching, dryness and pain during sex. Medications can help relieve these symptoms.
Some women develop negative feelings about themselves, or their bodies, as they go through menopause. Loss of fertility, weight gain, and other factors at this time of life can also affect a woman’s self-esteem, making her feel less sexy. Accepting the new you, and recognizing the life experience you’ve gained to get to this point, can help restore confidence.
6) The older man
For men, growing older may make it more difficult to get or sustain an erection. It may also mean an erection is not as hard as it used to be. Men may choose to avoid sex rather than risk what they see as their own failure to perform.
Some men find that spending more time being intimate before sex, as well as more time spent in foreplay, can help him be ready for sex. This extra time spent together can be a benefit for his partner, as well. Medications are also available to help men achieve and sustain erections.
7) Communicate with your partner
Talking about sex is difficult for some people. But talking about what you like, or new things you want to try, can bring you closer to your partner, as well as avoiding hurt feelings or unfulfilled expectations in your relationship or in bed.
Changes in your body as you age may include changes in how sex feels. So even if you and your partner have been together for a long time, what always worked before may not feel the same as you get older.
Whether you are starting a new relationship or rekindling an old flame, talking about sex can be sexy. Using humor or gentle teasing can help you both ease into the conversation so you can share how you feel, and what you hope for, in your sexual relationship.
8) Redefine sex
As you get older, you and your partner may benefit from redefining what you each need to feel fulfilled. You may find that sex becomes more of an extended experience instead of a rush to the end goal, especially if your level of desire is not completely in sync.
You can extend your sexual experience by taking time to enjoy the romance together, whether that means sharing a candlelit dinner, or holding hands watching the sun rise on the back patio. Tell your partner what you love about him or her, and find things to do together that you both enjoy or find relaxing.
Time spent cuddling, touching, holding hands and talking together outside of bed, can alleviate worries, and help you ease through any physical difficulties due to age that might come up during sex.
And don’t overlook other types of pleasure that you and your partner can share. You may find that emotional enjoyment, sensory pleasures such as touching or kissing, and other aspects of your relationship, may be just as important as intercourse as you get older.
9) Medical complications
Some medical conditions that are more common as you age may affect your desire or ability to have sex. Examples include conditions or surgeries that affect the pelvic area or the central nervous system. Some medications can also affect your sexual desire, including some drugs to treat high blood pressure.
If you think your medications are affecting your sexual desire or libido, talk to your doctor to see if you can take a different medication that might have fewer side effects.
If you have a physical ailment that limits your ability to have intercourse, talk with your partner about other ways you can be intimate that will satisfy both of your needs. Talk to your health care provider for more suggestions or for a referral to a specialist who can help.
10) Don’t give up
Intimacy is important at every age. Don’t let getting older deprive you of sharing physical and emotional pleasures with your partner. If your sex drive seems to have derailed, share how you feel with your partner, and with your health care professional.
HelpGuide. Better Sex as You Age. Web. September 17, 2015.
MindBodyGreen. 7 Things You Need To Know About Sex After 50. Brenda Strong. Web. September 17, 2015.
Mayo Clinic. Sexual health and aging: Keep the passion alive. Web. September 17, 2015.
Reviewed September 18, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith