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Sex Tips for Older Adults: What No One Tells Us

Sex Tips for Older Adults

Sex Over Fifty?

Single again and ready to start dating (and having sex again)? Who are you going to have that conversation with—the one that talks about what sex over fifty is like?

Similarly to when we were preteens, there is a lack of reputable information for older adults about having sex. This was made clear to me in a recent conversation with a newly-divorced woman who’s dating again. She doesn’t know much about sex as an older woman. She not only wants, but truly needs, information.

We discussed her concerns during a recent coaching session. She asked questions about female bodies and male bodies, and voiced concerns I often hear from older women facing intimacy with new partners. The questions range from concerns about body image to what it’s like to have sex again.

Sex Ed Basics for Older Adults

Your Orgasm Is Different

Older women may experience a change in how they orgasm. It can be that an orgasm comes more easily or requires more intense stimulation. What worked when we were younger may not be what works for sex over fifty. Self-pleasuring will help you figure out what your body requires.

Your Body Is Different

Men and women worry about the changes aging brings to our bodies and sexual experiences. Women tend to worry more about body image; men are more focused on performance. You can minimize discomfort by dimming lights, using drapes or wearing sexy tops to cover areas of concern. Just remember that softening, wrinkles and other changes are natural.

Menopause Changes Us

Menopause changes our bodies—genitals as well—how much and how soon varies. Hormonal changes and lack of sex can make penetrative sex feel a little uncomfortable. Begin by self-pleasuring and using fingers or toys to insert in the vagina. Whether partnered or solo, sexual activity is important in keeping all of our tissues and muscles in good working shape.

You Really Need Lube

Use a sexual lubricant. Imagine getting a massage without massage oil. Doesn’t feel good, right? That’s why you need a lubricant, even if you think you don’t. If you experience vaginal dryness, lubricants are essential but may not be enough for sex over fifty. In case of pain, please talk to your gynecologist. Here’s information on a lube primer to help you get started.

A New Partner Needs To Be Trained

If you have a new sex partner remember that he/she does not know your body. You have the opportunity to share what you like, where you like to be touched, and what feels good. It’s important. If the idea of talking about it feels awkward start talking about other things and ease into sex. Ask your new partner how they liked to be touched. It’s a great ‘get to know you’ conversation.

You Are At Risk for STIs

Sexually transmitted infections affect everyone. Take the initiative and buy condoms, or make sure you and a new partner get tested for STIs before having sex. Insist on using condoms. If he refuses, you have the right to refuse to have sex with them. Why? His refusal is selfish and not respectful of your concerns.

Here’s why many older men resist: 1) Condoms today are more sensitive than they were when we were dating decades ago. 2) Men who worry about erections worry about using condoms—it’s difficult to put a condom on a slightly limp penis. They also worry that delaying even a bit can cause that erection to go away.

Slow and Steady

Practice slower sex. Slow sex is more fun and may be helpful if issues like vaginal pain, erectile dysfunction or other issues arise. As we age women need more time to become aroused. This means more exploratory play and touch, kissing, caresses—all the things that give us pleasure. Make pleasure the main goal of intimacy and consider the orgasm as a bonus.

The Bottom Line

Having sex for the first time with a new person can be a little unnerving. It can also be fabulous! I find that a conversation about sex, including the talk about testing and condoms, is a great way to get a sense of a prospective partner. It’s a time to talk about what you want and what you enjoy. The process gives you a little more control and sets the stage for you to have the kind of experience you want.

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, <a>WalkerThornton.com </a> was ranked #5 by Kinkly.com in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2014. You can connect with her on <a>Facebook </a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/WalkerThornton">Twitter</a> For questions about sexual health, write her at [email protected]

Jean

Thursday 9th of March 2017

I find the intimacy of sex very difficult. I have to have trust in him otherwise I just can't. Men at this age don't want to play. They want sex and preferably oral. I don't know how people can do that without the trust and intimacy of the relationship. What am I missing?

Walker Thornton

Sunday 12th of March 2017

I think trust is vital to most of us.

I've not encountered men who just want oral sex so I can only speculate on what's going on. Oral sex can be less stressful for men who have erectile dysfunction, or who worry that they might. Sometimes men can get an erection but may lose it at that crucial moment of entry-so oral seems preferable.

If a man thinks that sexually transmitted infections are less likely to happen if he only has oral sex, that's not the case. STIs can be passed through oral or vaginal sex--and for the women giving oral the risk remains the same. The only way to protect yourself when giving oral sex is for a male partner to wear a condom.

Intimacy and trust in a relationship are established through ongoing communication. That can happen in a one-time situation but it's not as likely to happen as when two people are talking and negotiating over several dates. If this is a one-time sex play you're referencing then the idea of having enough trust to feel really safe may not be possible.

Liz Applegate

Tuesday 21st of February 2017

Thank you so much for this post. Most of all, I love knowing that I'm not alone in these changes.

Walker Thornton

Tuesday 21st of February 2017

Thank you Liz. I think that's the challenge many women face--the not knowing what's common, what to expect and how others experience sex and dating! Glad you read, let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to chat.

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