Sex Over 50
Maintaining a vibrant sex life throughout our lifespan
How often do you see folks over 50 portrayed in a positive sexy manner? The various media continually reinforce the idea that only young people are attractive and that those of us sporting a few wrinkles and greyer hair no longer have or deserve great sex lives. Many of us buy into these ideas and give up when aspects of our lives change. When arousal and orgasm become a little harder, when our desires evolve, when our bodies move a little slower and creakier, many of us give in and resign ourselves to the idea that the sexual part of our lives is over. Yes, our abilities, interests and desires change throughout our lifetimes. But according to Joan Price, senior sexpert and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50, change does not mean that it all has to end or even be less satisfying. Below are her suggestions on how we can still have a vibrant and fulfilling sex life as long as we get creative and re-assess our attitudes and expectations.
Life Changes: Joan has lots of great advice for maintaining a vibrant sex life as we age. She states that as we get older, we are faced with new limitations and challenges and pleasures. What used to work might no longer be pleasurable or possible. What used to feel great may only feel good. But this is no different than in other aspects of life. Most of us do not dance or swim or run in our 50s and 60s as we did in our 20s and 30s. Does that mean that we should give up all of those activities that we enjoy just because we cannot perform as we used to? Can we not still enjoy dancing, swimming and running albeit in new ways? And are there possibly even some activities we enjoy more now that we are older? Joan reminds us that as we get older, sex might look different but that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be great.
Mood Changes: Our libidos decrease with age. Younger folks often rely on inner desires that spontaneously surface to motivate them to initiate sex. But with lower hormones, the libido also decreases in frequency and intensity. If we wait until the mood strikes, we may be waiting a really long time. If sexual connection is important to us, then Joan suggests that we can adjust our expectations and plan an encounter, anticipate its benefits and enjoy whatever the moment brings. So rather than expecting to be driven by a magical mood that overtakes us with desire for sex, we can instead be driven by the anticipation of pleasure, intimacy, connection, and any effects that make us feel good all day.
Practically speaking, what that means is that even if we are not in the mood, if we can give ourselves a jump start by getting physiologically aroused (kissing, massage, reading or watching a sexy story, etc.), the mood will usually follow. As Nike famously advocates: just do it. Many of us have desire that will respond: once we start and get ourselves aroused, the mood is usually not far behind.
Take Time: Arousal and orgasms usually take longer with age. We can choose to see this as a negative, or we can see the silver lining that suggests that we have even longer to revel in the erotic energy. A quickie might take an hour- savour and enjoy all the delicious sensations.
Solo Sex is Real Sex: Whether we are partnered or not, we always have a partner in ourselves. Solo pleasure is a valid and healthy sexual activity. Joan affirms that solo sex is actually sex with a terrific partner who has known us for longer than anyone else and knows how to satisfy us the best. Expand your masturbation routines and create an even better sex life.
Tools for Pleasure: “Sex toys are simply orgasm and pleasure tools,” says Joan. In life we usually want to use the best tool for the job. Sex toys can be an essential means to getting and maintaining an erection, achieving an orgasm or even just sparing us from working so hard. The irony is that our bodies have less strength and endurance for activities like sex at a time when they also require more intensity in order to feel pleasure and orgasm. Toys are the most effective way to meet and overcome these many sexual challenges. Joan reminds us that we would not think of it is an issue to put on a knee brace when we go dancing in order to have a more enjoyable night. So why not reach for a vibrator when it comes to the dance of sex? Many toys can get us faster and/or more reliably and more easily to orgasm. See her website for toy reviews from a senior’s perspective: NakedAtOurAge.com.
Lube Makes Everything better: Lubrication is critical for great sex, especially as we age. With more sensitive tissues and a need for more friction in order to feel pleasure, less natural lubrication internally and none whatsoever on external erogenous zones, lubricant is essential. Visit a sexuality shop that has lubes out on display to test in your hands. Some will be better for you than others and knowledgeable staff can help you find the best one for you. “And once you have your lube in hand, don’t apologize for using it,” asserts Joan. There is no correlation between the amount that you lubricate and your desire for your partner.
Beyond Intercourse: Erections can vary in reliability at any age, but certainly aging makes them less firm and dependable than before. If your erections change more quickly, then see your MD to rule out heart disease, diabetes or other conditions. And if erections make intercourse more difficult, or if intercourse is no longer as pleasurable, then relax, because fortunately we have other options such as hands, tongues and toys. Joan recommends reframing sex as pleasure vs. sex as requiring an erection. Reframing the goal can open the door to more erotic satisfaction rather than less.
Take Joan’s advice and enjoy the fullness of your sexuality at all stages of life. For more information on her books, webinars and recommendations, see more of her work at www.JoanPrice.com.
Carlyle Jansen is the founder of Good For Her, a sexuality shop and workshop centre in Toronto. If you have questions or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to goodforher.com