ENJOYING SEX IN OLDER AGE
It pleases me to tell you that it’s an absolute myth that older people are no longer interested in sex and intimacy. As a sex therapist I make it my mission to help couples have more fulfilling sex lives together whether they be in their twenties or their seventies (I’ve not had clients in their eighties yet …. But I live in hope!)
I’m here to remind you that sex is meant to be fun – right? Just because your body is older doesn’t mean sex needs to be boring or it’s no longer as important as it once was. In reality, it is just as important as when you were young and on the off chance you need more convincing, let me begin by telling you why you should keep on having sex as you get older.
We know - and it is now proven, that its incredibly important to maintain sexual intimacy as we age, as it brings a wealth of really positive emotional and physical advantages. How older couples actually go about it can differ from those who are younger, but there are so many different ways to enjoy intimacy and pleasure.
Closeness in bonding and touch is sublime so doing whatever feels good to you and your partner in later life is fantastic. Think about how well you know your partner’s body – when did you last stroke their skin without an expectation of it leading to sex? When did you last have a really good old snog with your partner, just for the hell of it and not as a pre-curser to sex? If you’ve not done it in a while then start getting urges again. That is continued ‘bonding’ for you and its fab!
So what constitutes sex? Well it’s most commonly accepted that it refers to vaginal intercourse. This is the dictionary’s interpretation. Yet in today’s world we talk more openly and the conventional meaning of sex doesn’t come close to covering the wide range of sexual activities people enjoy. Sex can be divided into three main categories, vaginal, anal and oral; but let’s face it, there are so many other facets that come under the ‘sex’ umbrella. Some people even consider masturbation (solo sex) as just the same. It’s a broad definition and for those who enjoy it with multiple partners and use fetish and kinks to enhance it, they’ll also think of this as sex, and why shouldn’t they?
It’s all good! But it’s important to stress that all sexual acts between two or more people are comfortable for all and of course, consensual for all.
Often older couples decide they can no longer tolerate penetrative sex, due to bodily changes and sheer mobility and stamina; this is where bonding and intimacy comes in. Intimacy takes many forms and it really is not all about penetrative sex. Whatever your sexual orientation, intimacy is one of the lovelier things in life as you age if you enjoy it, it should be encouraged and nurtured.
Our older chaps may well have an issue with maintaining an erection and this is far more common in later life than you would imagine. Just for the record – things can start to wane as early as your late forties – especially if you have been a smoker. Mid to late fifties is more accurate for some. So guys, if this is you, please don’t think there is something wrong with you. It’s always helpful to speak with your GP to check if there is anything going on vascularly (which is common as men age) but whether there is or isn’t, or even it’s just performance anxiety which often happens in new relationships, then getting checked out is useful. There are prescribed meds your GP can help you with, or indeed, they are available from reputable online chemists now too, but they are not a quick fix for many men. They can have some debilitating side effects that you’d prefer not to have so having a chat with your GP first before buying online can be really helpful.
Sex should always be safe for everyone involved, and whether you’re too old to get pregnant or not, even for our older couples, if you are starting out in a new sexual relationship, you should always protect yourself against STD’s.
Regardless of whatever you consider to be SEX, sexual experiences are as unique and creative as the lovely folk who engage in it. There’s never a wrong way to have sex as long as it’s consensual.
And for those of you who don’t believe me about the oldies partaking of a healthy sex life, then a recent survey (funded by Age UK and authored by Dr. David Lee) found that 54% of men and 31% of women aged over 70 revealed they were still sexually active. Of those, a third of them were having sex as frequently as twice a month.
So go on…….. remind yourself how good it used to be and get snogging and jigging like the old days. As my old mother would have said “DIP YER BREAD IN”