This article was scientifically fact-checked by Human Sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz.
Youth may be wasted on the young, but sex is for people of all ages. Even though intimacy takes different forms and meaning as we age, it can be just as satisfying – and the great benefits of a healthy sex* life are just the icing on an already pretty delicious cake.
BENEFITS OF INTIMACY OVER 50
- Emboldened connections: between you and a partner, sex can be a great couple’s communication tool and help bring you closer together via pair-bonding hormones released after orgasm.
- Maintaining health: there are a whole bunch of health benefits of having sex, both mental and physical; it can burn fat, help ward off common illnesses and decrease anxiety, so take two and call us in the morning!
- Effective escapism: it may sound frivolous, but it’s no less important that sex can be great activity to help you and someone special to simply get away from it all, if only for a little while, and only to your bedroom. (Or, whichever room you choose!)
- Increased life span: the improved state of mind and the sexual health benefits mentioned already could possibly add years to your life – and if not, at least you’re having fun trying, right?
Even with great benefits like the above, a lot of us worry about sex in our advanced years for reasons that exist only in our heads, and also some that are very real. Men deal with lowered testosterone as the years go by, while women grapple with diminishing levels of estrogen, both of which can be obstacles to sexual enjoyment – however, not insurmountable ones.
WHAT HE CAN EXPECT
Age will affect his testosterone levels, which has side effects that will impact his sex drive, such as fatigue and depression. Many men notice no decrease in their sex drive, however, as every man has wildly different experiences with this, but if you start to notice a change, testosterone may have something to do with it.
Also, the hardening of arteries can affect his ability to achieve and maintain an erection. The tiny blood vessels that supply blood flow to the penis may not be working as effectively – however, you can effectively cut this off at the pass and diminish the effect by including cardio in your workout routine. Meanwhile, stimulate blood flow to your intimate areas by stimulating them yourself – masturbation causes the exact kind of blood flow that’s so important to having sex, so go for some self-prescribed pleasure every now and then!
Check this out: 6 Tips for Male Sexual Health
WHAT SHE CAN EXPECT
Post-menopausal women will notice that their estrogen levels have dropped, resulting in her producing less vaginal lubrication when aroused. This means that more foreplay is required to fully prepare for lovemaking, and additionally, a premium sexual moisturizer can be super helpful and often needed!
Age can also affect women physically; as she gets older, her vagina can actually shorten and become narrower, and her vaginal walls can become thinner. Each of these changes can affect the sensations of intimacy, so we suggest embarking on sexual self-exploration to discover how your changing body takes pleasure.
Masturbation can be a valuable aid to discovering what works and what doesn’t, and it’s never too later to explore different ways to reach orgasm solo that you’ve never thought of before. There is also evidence to suggest that vibrators may ease symptoms of menopause.
Check this out: Sexual Health Facts: The Truth about Female Orgasms
BETTER SENIOR SEX TIPS
Better Sex Tip #1: Communicate
This means keeping an open line of communication with your partner, as well as getting the input of a doctor if you’ve got any questions at all.
If anything, a medical professional will understand that sex and pleasure are a basic human right and have a very full grasp of what you and your body are going through, and what you can do to enjoy yourself in a safe and satisfying way.
When you’re discussing sex with your partner, be playful and honest. Humor can open the floodgates of conversation and take the pressure off what to many is a bit of an embarrassing subject. After the topic is on the table though, you’ve got to be open and honest; tell them how you feel, and what your hopes are for the outcome of your talk.
Better Sex Tip #2: Redefine Intimacy
As we age, sex takes on a broader definition and can mean many things – sometimes, sharing intimacy is more important, and fulfilling, than sharing pleasure.
Sex can be about being content with each other; sharing affectionate contact like hugging and kissing (clothing optional) can be just as rewarding as a sexual session, and can often end up leading to it, too! Also, as many couples age, due to either erectile difficulties or a less lubricated vagina, some find foregoing intercourse and focusing instead on “outercourse” (ie. stiulating each other without an expectation of penetration) can be wonderfully erotic and even orgasmic.
Better Sex Tip #3: Experiment
Sex isn’t about recreating experiences we had when we were in our 20s, it’s about figuring out what works for us right now. As in tip #2, try stimulation without penetration. Oral sex, mutual masturbation or just fooling around together with some sex toys are just as enjoyable when they’re shared.
Check this out: How to Introduce Sex Toys into Your Relationship
Try changing your sex routine and schedule to a time when you’re full of more energy; many people have their best sex in the morning after a good night’s sleep rather than at the end of a long day. Also consider switching up your intercourse positions to ones that are more comfortable and useful for both your sensual needs, like spooning or woman-on-top.
Better Sex Tip #4: Let Toys Come Between You
Sex toys may not have been something you’ve thought to use with your partner, but they can be a perfect remedy for increasing your chances of orgasming and bringing you closer.
A couples’ massager, which is worn within the vagina during lovemaking, using vibrations that focus on the clitoris, but travel internally to be felt within, to make your sensations a shared experience. A couples’ ring like TOR 2 is worn around the base of the penis and gently restricts blood flow for a fuller-looking erection that also offers external vibrations to both partners.
Turns out that in the very near future, some people who are experimenting with programming pleasures will be coming up with breakthroughs that will shape the very future of sex. Using some programming knowledge and sex toys outfitted with sensors and open-source software, ‘sexual experimentation’ will have to expand to include the pioneering sector of SexTech.
With a SexTech product like the LELO F1s male masturbator, a user can record their sexual responses during pleasure, including arousal levels, stamina and more. This information can be used by medical applications for more precise prescriptions or even to directly respond to your pleasure levels with personalized stimulation patterns. Open source means open ended, and in the case of SexTech, the only limits are a programmer’s imagination.
Better Sex Tip #5: Find a New Perspective
It’s easy for anyone to get too used to the same thing over and over, but something as simple as setting fun goals and challenges can make sex a game rather than a chore. One of the best ways to do this is by brushing up on the kama sutra. You may think that sex positions for seniors just means ‘missionary,’ but there are plenty more adventurous ones you can adapt to your comfort levels! Check out our illustrated sex positions, and remember that a firm cushion can make all the difference when it comes to adapting a sex position for older couples.
Better Sex Tip #6: Let It Go
Don’t ever dwell on how things are different now compared to your younger years, and always keep a positive attitude and open mind for the pleasurable things to come. You’re older and wiser; you know your limitations and strengths – and your acceptance of all these things makes you that much more attractive to prospective partners.
Own your age and experience – they don’t own you!
Do you have any tips or suggestions for sexual health and enjoyment at an advanced age? Share them in the comments below.
*In this article, for ease of reader understanding, we are using the words sex and intercourse as synonymous, as is done in popular culture in general. Similarly, we use the word “foreplay” the way it is used in popular culture (i.e., the sexual acts such as oral sex that come before intercourse). However, as aptly pointed out by our sex expert Laurie Mintz, we would also like to acknowledge that such language exalts men’s most reliable rout to orgasm and linguistically erases women’s most reliable route to orgasm—clitoral stimulation, either alone or coupled with penetration. Indeed, only between 4% and 18% of women reliably orgasm from penetration alone. We look forward to the day when such language is not commonly used in culture.
Facts checked by:
Dr. Laurie Mintz
Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Florida, teaching Human Sexuality to hundreds of students a year. She has published over 50 research articles and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Mintz also has maintained a private practice for over 30 years, working with individuals and couples on general and sexual issues. She is also an author and speaker, spreading scientifically-accurate, sex-positive information to enhance sexual pleasure.