If you think your days of satisfying sex have long passed, think again. “Sexuality is lifelong,” says sexpert Joan Price, who has written several books about sexuality, including The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 and Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex.
Though we cringe at the label “senior,” we love the idea of sex itself, so we asked Price a few questions on the subject.
What’s the biggest misconception about sex among older women?
That sex is no longer joyful just because we have aged. Granted, sex is not the same as when we were younger, but with the right information, a sense of humor, and a spirit of adventure, sex can be extremely pleasurable.
What do you mean by the “right” information?
As we age, our bodies, our emotions, and our relationships change. We need to understand which changes are a normal part of the aging process, which changes are not a normal part of aging and may require medical attention, and which changes require some adjustments/accommodations in the way we approach sex.
What are some normal changes?
It may take longer to achieve orgasm, erections are less dependable, arousal may be slower, and vaginas may not lubricate on their own.
What is not normal?
If you or your partner start to experience a sudden change in sexual response or you start to have pain or discomfort during sexual activity, see a doctor. Though it is normal for it to take longer to get aroused as we age, a sudden inability for a man to get an erection or a woman to get physiologically aroused or reach orgasm might be the sign of a medical issue.
What adjustments or accommodations do you suggest?
As we age, we may need to add lubricant during sexual activity. We may have aches and pains that require us to try different positions or rest on a cushion for more comfort during intercourse. It may take longer for us to get fully aroused, so give it time and enjoy the journey. We may need more stimulation. A well-placed vibrator can make the difference between orgasm and no orgasm.
Did you say vibrator?
Yes! Sex toys are a great way to get more enjoyment from sex.
If a couple has never used toys before, how would you suggest one partner brings it up?
Open the conversation by saying, “I’ve noticed that as we are getting older, our sexual responses have been different. Do you want to go on a journey of exploration together?” Couples of any age need to relate to each other in an honest and open way in order to have a healthy and mutually satisfying sexual relationship.
What if medical issues prevent a couple from having sex or reaching orgasm?
As we age, we need to expand the notion of what sex ought to be. Partner intercourse is just one dish in the beautiful sexual buffet. Sex without penetration is still sex and can be very satisfying. Try not to focus sexual activity on attaining an end goal. Instead just enjoy the pleasure and intimacy of the journey.
What do you say to women who think they are too old for sex?
Don’t write off sex because it’s changing. Instead, explore how it can be different and still fabulous. And remember: Solo sex is real sex. You don’t need to have a partner to have an active sex life.
But what if a woman just doesn’t feel sexy anymore?
Throughout our life we get told by society and by the media what it means to be attractive. Even in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, we are critical of the way we look and tend to focus too much on our flaws. These feelings can worsen as we get older and we look different. We have more wrinkles, our bodies distribute weight differently, and our breasts may sag. All of these physical changes may make us feel less sexy. Additionally, we may become so preoccupied mentally by life (work, family, illness, etc.) that we stop thinking about sex altogether.
That said, even if you think you are not in the mood or aren’t feeling sexy, do it anyway — you’ll feel your body take over with pleasure!
Is sex really that important?
Definitely! Sex can have emotional, medical, and physical benefits — it helps us sleep better. We may not be able to turn back the clock, but we can hold onto our sexuality. With a juicy, sexy attitude, we can be vibrant and enjoy our lives more.
To learn more about Joan Price, go to joanprice.com.