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How is Your Sex Life at 50+ ?

How do you rate your sex life as a 50+ woman?

Are you having sex enough, too often? Or not at all? Is it as satisfying as you want it to be? Do you have orgasms?  There are a number of ways to answer that question—and what feels like a lackluster sex life to one woman might be fabulous for another.

When we get in bed with another person we bring our hang-ups, pain, trauma, good or bad feelings about our partner, and the distractions and challenges of our daily lives. That’s an awful lot of stuff that can get in the way of a successful sexual experience. Some of the ‘stuff’ we can put aside for the moment, some of it is too ‘loud’ or too painful and keeps us from being able to focus on our bodies. When the issues are too painful for us to handle they impair our inability to experience pleasure or have an orgasm.


If you’re one of the many women who don’t have orgasms there are a number of possible causes.

One of the primary reasons for a woman’s inability to orgasm is a lack of experience (and comfort) with her own body.

Is it really possible to have reached the ripe age of 45 or over and never have an orgasm?  Absolutely. And, it’s more common than you might realize.

If you’ve had bad experiences in the past—a traumatic event, painful memories of a not-so-good-in-bed lover, betrayal, or sex in the context of a bad relationship, you carry those memories with you.  They become a barrier to sexual intimacy.

We are often made to feel like a failure if we aren’t having orgasms. Women are supposed to have an orgasm—all the time. Women in movies do. Women in romance novels do.  And, according to your lover, all his past partners had orgasms (many of them faked). Clearly there must be something wrong with us.

That’s not true at all. An orgasm is a wonderful response to sexual delight. Yet, it is still possible to experience sexual pleasure without an orgasm. It’s not unusual for women to not orgasm.  Sometimes it’s a mood thing and sometimes it’s over-stimulation or the wrong kind of stimulation. It just happens. We are conditioned to assume that a lack of orgasm is a fault. A flaw. A blemish on our womanhood. And once you’re in that mindset it becomes even harder to achieve one.

We could blame it on our lovers. He doesn’t know how to do it. He’s only interested in his pleasure. And on and on…..

We could blame it on our religion, our lack of sex education, a stern parent….. There are so many reasons.

Why Some Women Don’t Have Orgasms

  • You’ve never had an orgasm so you don’t know where to touch yourself or tell him what feels pleasurable.
  • You can’t get aroused because you’re having sex with someone you don’t care about.
  • Sexual abuse can cause many women to shut out their sexual feelings. It can be a protective response or a deeper traumatic reaction.
  • Your  body is present but your head is somewhere else and those distractions keep you from having pleasure.
  • Your partner is doing something that doesn’t feel good or causes discomfort and you’re afraid or unwilling to tell him.
  • Your libido has lessened during menopause. Hormonal changes can lead to a dry vagina which can cause penetration to feel painful. Menopausal symptoms often contribute to a lack of interest in sex.
  • Depression, medications and other health problems interfere with your ability to feel sexual desire or pleasure.
  • Some women just don’t have much interest in sex.

As you can see some of these reasons might have physical causes. Consulting your gynecologist or general physician to talk about the issue is a good idea.

Chances are that you don’t know your anatomy as intimately as you should. After all, no one taught us about our clitorises in high school or college. Your gynecologist doesn’t talk about sexual pleasure or ask about your sex life. We read sexy books and we watched the occasional porn movie with a partner, but those didn’t give us the necessary instruction about our clitorises and our sexual responses. Granted, the 60’s were all about sex and free love. But they were not about sexual education. What teenager or young adult was going to speak up and say that she didn’t really know much about her body or sex? If you did get information it was probably penetration-oriented–not focused on your sexual satisfaction or your genitals.  Who would you have talked to?

One of the best ways to become orgasmic is to take matters into your own hands! Literally. Do not sit around and wait for a skilled lover to knock on your door. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a man, many of whom are clueless about what turns women on.  It can take time to learn a woman’s pleasure spots. For a man to learn how to bring you to an orgasm, he needs some help. Conversation, helpful tips, show and tell, etc… When you know how to pleasure yourself you can communicate that to a partner.

You need to learn how to pleasure your own body first. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t expect to become orgasmic on your first try. It may take you several sessions of exploring and playing before you feel a strong level of desire. The idea is to discover what feels pleasurable. No goals, no expectations. Simply have fun.

Here are a few resources:

Article originally published  at 

Walker Thornton

We are delighted to have Walker Thornton as our Women’s Sexual Health columnist. After working for over 10 years in the field of sexual violence against women, Walker is now enjoying a new career as a freelance writer, public speaker, and sex educator with an emphasis on midlife women. Her blog, was ranked #5 by in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2014. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter For questions about sexual health, write her at

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Tuesday 24th of June 2014

I'm so grateful I live in an era when we can discuss openly and honestly. My Mom was from the generation of 'Mustn't talk. Mustn't tell'. She had problems we knew nothing about till she was, quite literally, on her deathbed. And the saddest thing of all is that she could have had help! If she had felt able to talk about the problems she was having, she could have experienced such a different life! Thank you for your words of wisdom, Walker!

Walker Thornton

Wednesday 25th of June 2014

Thanks Diane. My mother was the same. I hope that women are more open to conversation but I hear from many who can't or won't talk about their sexuality. But, we're making progress.


Monday 23rd of June 2014

What a great article. Thank goodness midlife women are discussing sex and finding ways to help one another if they haven't had good sex and thought there was something "wrong" with them.

Walker Thornton

Tuesday 24th of June 2014

Laura, Thank you! Gradually we are talking more about sex and women are reaching out. I'm glad to be of help.

Carol Cassara

Monday 23rd of June 2014

Another great post that I had to Tweet and G+ share. ;-)

Walker Thornton

Tuesday 24th of June 2014

Carol, thank you. I'm glad you see the value in our need to take care of ourselves!

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