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Mar 30

Sex Gets Better With Age

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The idea that your sex drive goes AWOL in old age is one big myth: In truth, sex can get even more exciting and stimulating with age. How? You can kiss some of the stresses of your younger years goodbye and focus on rediscovering the sizzle with your spouse.

While age presents some people with sexual challenges (such as erectile dysfunction or decreased libido), these five steps can help all seniors intensify their love life.

  1. Slow    things down a notch.It may take you and your partner a    little longer to become aroused than it used to. “Staying relaxed and having a    flexible attitude is a big help,” says Bob G. Knight, PhD, the Merle H. Bensinger professor of gerontology and    professor of psychology at the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of    Southern California in Los Angeles, and director of the Tingstad Older Adult    Counseling Center.Make    more time for intimacy and be prepared to approach sex differently. What once    turned you and your partner on may not have the same effect anymore. Take the    time to experiment your way to better sex.    “I think of this as a gift to women,” says Joan Price, author of Better    Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty and Naked    at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex. “Men are finally    interested in foreplay.”

    Just    spending time touching is a great warm-up for senior sex. Price, 67, began    writing about senior sex 10 years ago when she fell in love with a man and, as    she describes it, “had great, exhilarating, spicy sex, but it wasn’t like in    our twenties, not at all.” She then realized that the overwhelming cultural    belief was that senior sex would be dull and painful at best. It’s neither of    those, she says, but it is different, in large part because of the    physiological changes that come with aging.

  2. Chat    about your body’s changes. Whether you need to open up about your    changing needs to a lifelong partner or get to know a new one, communication is    key. “Talking before, during, and after can lead to more enjoyable experiences    and avoid misunderstanding and anxiety,” says Knight. For particularly    difficult conversations, such as those related to taking medication for    erectile dysfunction or addressing a need to overcome low libido,    he advises picking a time when you feel close and relaxed, but not when sex is    imminent. Being honest about what’s going on and what you hope will be going on    — as difficult as speaking these words might be — is the    best approach, he says.
  3. Experiment    with new positions and toys. Spicy solutions to senior sex problems    are guaranteed to be interesting topics of conversation. Just as you may need    more time to become aroused, you might also want to try something new. Using sex toys(such as    vibrators) and practical aids, such as lubricants, can up the wow factor.If you    find that sex aids top the list of difficult things to talk about, keep this in    mind: “If we have slow arousal and arthritic wrists, why not just turn on a tool    that does the job really well because that’s what it’s designed for? If we need    a little assist, that’s okay,” says Jones. Other new moves may be as simple as    a change of position or the addition of some pillows to support achy bones.
  4. Explore    on your own. Don’t have a partner? Masturbation    has been shown to improve both physical and emotional health, so don’t let    being alone keep you from getting pleasure. “When suitable partners are not    available, self-stimulation can be useful and healthy,” says Knight. Take time    to discover what pleases you, and be creative — it may even lead to    better sex with your partner as you learn about what works best for you. This    may also be a good way to try out sex toys before you bring them up in    conversation.
  5. Stay    healthy.    Your body may be changing, but you can improve how it works and feels by making    healthy diet and exercise choices. These choices, in turn, can lead to better    sex by maintaining muscle strength and aerobic capacity.One    important element of staying healthy? Practice safe sex. Even though you don’t    have to worry about unwanted pregnancy, age does not protect men or women from sexually    transmitted diseases. Plan on using condoms for sexual    intercourse if you and your partner are not in a long-term, monogamous    relationship.


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