A healthy and satisfying sex life doesn’t need to be a distant memory. Sexual pleasure and intimacy contribute to physical and psychological health and wellbeing, no matter your age.
Sex boosts your immune system, slashes stress, lowers blood pressure, helps you get better sleep, improves heart health, and decreases rates of depression and anxiety.
Plus, it’s fun.
At a deeper level, sexual activity is associated with greater enjoyment of life, according to a 2018 UK study of nearly 7,000 people aged 50 to 89, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers found men and women who reported engaging in sexual activity in the past year also experienced a higher enjoyment of life than those who were not sexually active.
Redefining sexual intimacy
Although both men and women associate frequent kissing, petting, or fondling with their level of wellbeing, only men associate regular penetrative intercourse (at least twice a month) with greater enjoyment of life. As men age, however, penetrative sex and achieving an erection can become harder.
Joan Price, a sex advocate for seniors and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, says that redefining expectations of sexual intimacy is an integral part of enjoying sex as you age. “There are many great ways to give and receive pleasure that don’t require an erection.” In other words, penetrative sex doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all of great sex.
While many couples still enjoy regular penetrative sex later in life, mild to moderate erectile dysfunction affects approximately 10% of men per decade of life, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This means 50% of men in their 50s will experience some level of erectile dysfunction, 60% of men in their 60s, and so on.
“When you’re not able to sustain an erection or get it at the time you want it, of course, men will be more anxious about it. They also more likely will not want to have sex,” Price explains.
For this reason, learning about the regular changes in sexual function as we grow older is essential to feeling comfortable and confident in our sexuality, both with ourselves and with our partners. The more you know about the roadblocks seniors experience in their sex lives, the better prepared you’ll be to find the best solution for you.
Are you looking for ways to revamp things in the bedroom to continue enjoying sex at every age? Below are four expert-recommended things you can do to enhance your sex life for increased energy and overall vitality.
We hate to break it to you, but the age-old saying is essentially true: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. “If you go a long time without sex, the body finds it more difficult to get around it,” Price explains.
Of course, going through dry spells or other long periods without sexual expression is completely normal. However, if it’s been a while since you’ve had sex, your body needs some time to get back into the groove of things, similar to any other type of physical activity. Scheduling sex or even simply fantasizing about sex once or twice a week is a great first step, Price says.
This will ultimately help to reset your libido and get the blood flowing back to your genitals. Overall, the good news is that the more sex you have, the more sex you’ll crave. By creating a consistent schedule, or just dedicating specific time for self-love, you’ll be more open to sexual spontaneity later on.
Embrace solo sex
No partner? No problem. Just like regular sex with another person, masturbation is a great way to unwind, relax, and feel good. Masturbating regularly is one of the best ways to reboot your libido and enjoy the rush of endorphins and serotonin — the chemicals that help boost our mood, relieve stress, and reduce pain.
“As women, our generation grew up thinking that sex wasn’t supposed to be a thing of pleasure,” says Price, who is in her late 70s. “We have to unlearn that part of our upbringing that sex shouldn’t be pleasurable. Once we get over that hump, we have a great capacity to give ourselves pleasure. This goes back to relationships where we might not be enjoying ourselves sexually.”
After all, by exploring your body and figuring out what feels good sexually at this age, you’ll be able to guide your partner with the best tips and tricks for reaching orgasm together.
Use Lubricant and Sex Toys
Keeping a bottle of lubricant by your bedside table is always a smart idea. Even if you or your partner are not the one in four women who experience vaginal dryness problems during sex in their fifties, lubricant makes sex more comfortable and intensifies sexual sensations for people of all ages.
Meanwhile, sex toys like vibrators, dildos, and g-spot toys can take the pressure off not being able to maintain an erection or can be an alternative solution to arthritic hands. If you’re new to the world of sex toys, the size, shape, and the sound of a sex toy are all important factors to consider. Nowadays almost every type of sex toy can be bought online and will be shipped to your home in a discreet package.
More Insight: Check this great article on why touch is so important to us humans.
Author: Angela Serednicki is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer who’s passionate about inspiring readers to prioritize health, happiness, and creativity in their lives.