Sex After 50: How To Keep The Spark Aglow
Sex After 50: How To Keep The Spark Aglow
While aging can occasionally pose new physical or emotional challenges when it comes to having sex, there are some amazing perks to having sex later in life. When you’re older, you have more experience to reflect on, and you’re better equipped to make the best sexual decisions for yourself. Plus, the stresses that might have kept you from having a fulfilling sex life in the past — a busy career, a house full of young kids, etc. — may no longer be as much of a concern.
“For some, life slows down with age and with that many external stressors of younger and middle-age life fade away,” says Colby Agostinelli, a sex therapist based in Philadelphia. “[Sex] is also a great way to stay fit and keep things interesting with your partner. Especially for those with ‘empty nest syndrome,’ it can be an essential time to reconnect and fire up that sexual intimacy that may have slipped away.”
As a result, you may have more time to dedicate to sexual exploration, whether it’s more time with a partner or more solo time. But having a long sexual history can also mean falling into the same routines. If you want some ideas on how to introduce some new, fun activities into your sex life, we’ve got you covered.
Five Tips On How To Keep Sex Fun And Satisfying After 50
Make accommodations to make sex more comfy for your changing body.
You might not be able to move the way you once liked to, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up a satisfying sex life. Various physical conditions can change what you feel up to doing in the bedroom, but an array of small modifications can ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.
“We tend to talk a lot about ‘health’ as we get older, so it's important to make sure we are including sexual health into that framework,” Agostinelli tells O.school.
If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, use lube to lessen the likelihood of pain and make sex gentler and easier. (That said, lube at any age is highly recommended, too.) For adults facing orthopedic or other physical issues that might make penetration difficult, oral sex can be an easier, pain-free alternative. If you experience pain, certain sex positions might be better. For example, try a spooning position lying beside your partner, as opposed to missionary.
As always, consult a doctor if you or a partner is experiencing pain, erectile dysfunction, or other physical ailments interfering with your sex life. You deserve sex that’s healthy, pleasurable, and pain-free.
“Doctors tend to stop asking about sex, even unintentionally, with their aging patients and that's a disservice, but we can all do our part in initiating that,” Agostinelli says.
Communicate your needs to a partner.
Communication is key to any healthy sexual relationship, but especially when you’re dealing with mobility, emotional issues, or any number of things that influence our sex lives. Spoiler alert: In order to get the sex you want, you have to tell your partner what kind of sex you want.
When it comes to injury, illness, or physical conditions, you’re not obligated to tell your partner everything, but you should be upfront about what does and doesn’t feel good and any limitations you may have. If you have concerns about how aging has impacted your sex life, try bringing them up and talking them out together to bring your relationship to a new level. And if you’re widowed or someone who’s rediscovering your sexuality after loss, talking with your new partner about what you’re experiencing can help deepen your intimacy and connection.
As always, honest conversations around protection and safety are also key.
“While anxieties around unwanted pregnancies may be gone, there is always a possibility for STIs at any age, so it's important to have open and frank conversations about sexual partners and practices,” says Agostinelli.
Recognize any limitations you may have, and try new things.
Decreased libido is a common side effect of aging, often caused by factors like changing hormones or chronic illness. It’s totally normal, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. If anything, a change in your sex drive is an opportunity to try new things and learn more about your likes and dislikes — an important process at any age.
If your sex drive isn’t what it used to be, stay engaged by getting creative in the bedroom. Trying a new toy, working on your dirty talk, watching or reading porn together, exploring kink or BDSM, or planning a pleasure playdate are just a couple of ways to think outside your usual routine and discover something new and spicy.
Think beyond the bedroom.
Sexual connection is about so much more than sex acts. To keep your sex life engaging around the clock, think about how you’re interacting with your partner beyond the bedroom: Can you send each other sexy photos or text messages during the day, especially at unexpected times? Leave each other sexy notes around the house? Surprise each other with a steamy bath or shower? Get new clothes that make you feel your sexiest?
The more you anticipate having sex, the better it will be. Make the buildup last for as long as you can, and sex will be that much more rewarding.
Appreciate where you are.
It’s natural that your body will look, feel, and move differently as you age. That’s okay. Authors Melinda Smith and Jeanne Segal recommend “reaping the benefits of experience” rather than dwelling on how your sex life has changed as you’ve gotten older.
As an older adult, you know what you like, and you likely have a range of past encounters guiding your sex life. Letting go of expectations of what sex “should” be like and immersing yourself fully in the experience are key to staying present and enjoying yourself to the max.
“Don't let the lack of open discussion around sexuality and aging stop you from enjoying yourself,” Agostinelli says. “It's totally okay to keep things going as you age if you have a fulfilling sex life, or to be open to a new chapter and try new things.”
Here’s the bottom line.
Sex after 50 is an opportunity to indulge in what you know you like and even discover more about your sexuality. Embrace it. It’s important to recognize the things that may have changed, the things that may be the same, and to make adjustments in the bedroom accordingly. Pay attention to what feels good, and know that the way you experience sensation may be different, so it may be time to add more options to your sexual toolbox. Whatever it may be, you can have lots of fun while experimenting.