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Sex can be a powerful emotional experience and a great tool for protecting or improving health, and it’s certainly not only for the young. Sex over the age of 50 can present challenges, and you may feel discouraged by issues connected with the aging process, but these problems are not insurmountable. With better understanding and an open mind, you can continue to enjoy a physically and emotionally fulfilling sex life—it’s not a question of age, but of desire.
Good sex at any age
The need for intimacy is ageless. And studies now confirm that no matter what your gender, you can enjoy sex for as long as you wish. Naturally, sex at 70 or 80 may not be like it is at 20 or 30—but in some ways it can be better. As an older adult, you may feel wiser than you were in your earlier years, and know what works best for you when it comes to your sex life. Older people often have a great deal more self-confidence and self-awareness, and feel released from the unrealistic ideals of youth and prejudices of others. And with children grown and work less demanding, couples are better able to relax and enjoy one another without the old distractions.
For a number of reasons, though, many adults worry about sex in their later years, and end up turning away from sexual encounters. Some older adults feel embarrassed, either by their aging bodies or by their “performance,” while others are affected by illness or loss of a partner. Without accurate information and an open mind, a temporary situation can turn into a permanent one. You can avoid letting this happen by being proactive. Whether you’re seeking to restart or improve your sex life, it’s important to be ready to try new things, and to ask for professional help if necessary. There is much you can do to compensate for the normal changes that come with aging. With proper information and support, your later years can be an exciting time to explore both the emotional and sensual aspects of your sexuality.
Accept and celebrate who you are
Sex in later life may not be the same as it was in your youth—but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, sex can be more enjoyable than ever. As you find yourself embracing your older identity, you can:
Reap the benefits of experience. The independence and self-confidence that comes with age can be very attractive to your spouse or potential partners. No matter your gender, you may feel better about your body at 62 or 72 than you did at 22. And it is likely that you now know more about yourself and what makes you excited and happy. Your experience and self-possession can make your sex life exciting for you and your partner.
Look ahead. As you age, try to let go of expectations for your sex life. Do your best to avoid dwelling on how things are different. If you enjoyed an active sex life in your younger years, there’s no reason to slow down with age, unless you want to. A positive attitude and open mind can go a long way toward improving your sex life as you age.
Love and appreciate your older self. Naturally, your body is going through changes as you age. You look and feel differently than you did when you were younger. But if you can accept these changes as natural and hold your head up high, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll also be more attractive to others. Confidence and honesty garner the respect of others—and can be sexy and appealing.
Communicate with your partner
As bodies and feelings change as you grow older, it’s more important than ever to communicate your thoughts, fears, and desires with your partner. Encourage your partner to communicate fully with you, too. Speaking openly about sex may not come easily to you, but improving your communication will help both of you feel closer, and can make sex more pleasurable.
Talking about sex
Broaching the subject of sex can be difficult for some people, but it should get easier once you begin. And as an added bonus, you may find that just talking about sex can make you feel sexy. Try the following strategies as you begin the conversation.
Be playful. Being playful can make communication about sex a lot easier. Use humor, gentle teasing, and even tickling to lighten the mood.
Be honest. Honesty fosters trust and relaxes both partners—and can be very attractive. Let your partner know how you are feeling and what you hope for in a sex life.
Discuss new ideas. If you want to try something new, discuss it with your partner, and be open to his or her ideas, too. The senior years—with more time and fewer distractions—can be a time of creativity and passion.
Modernize. You may belong to a generation in which sex was a taboo subject. But talking openly about your needs, desires, and concerns with your partner can make you closer—and help you both enjoy sex and intimacy.