There are two essential ingredients for great sex at midlife: love and a sense of humor. On the one hand, you may not have quite the energy or stamina you had in your twenties; on the other hand, you probably have enough experience to know what pleases you and how to please your partner.
When you first get together with someone who interests you, there are decisions to be made about when and under what circumstances to move the relationship into the sexual arena. And, unlike your younger self, you most likely recognize that you have to make those decisions with your brain rather than other parts of your anatomy!
As a person in midlife, you may have some complicated considerations when it comes to sex. You may have “baggage” from previous relationships, you may be worried about how potential partners will see you, you may have concerns about how other people in your life will react to your “hooking up,” and you may wonder how you will feel if you decide to be sexually active and then your relationship doesn’t work out. In addition, if your goal is a committed relationship, you will want to keep your sex life alive and vibrant, and you may have questions about how you and your partner can sustain a passionate relationship.
The good news about midlife sex is that you can keep on enjoying it as long as you are alive and reasonably healthy. Realistically, it is not going to be exactly like the kind of sex you had in your teens or your twenties, but it can be just as hot and a whole lot less hassle. Unless you have kids (or aging parents) at home, you probably have more privacy that you had in your youth. You definitely should have more self-awareness, more of an understanding of what you like and don’t like, more knowledge of how your body and your partner’s body function, and less likelihood of taking great sex for granted.
Younger people may be surprised to learn that sex is still an important part of older folks’ lives. A survey by the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project found that people in their early seventies were having nearly as much sex as those in their late fifties. The major barrier to an active sex life for women is lack of a partner; for men, performance issues related to aging may get in the way. As people get older, they may need to be more creative and flexible about what they do in bed in order to remain sexually active. One issue that they shouldn’t ignore is the rising rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), even among those over 65. While unintended pregnancy may no longer be an issue, protection from STIs is critical for many seniors.
With reasonable caution and a willingness to accommodate to the changes brought about by aging, adults in midlife and their senior years can have fulfilling sex lives – and a whole lot of fun!
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist and her husband Charles Peck, had to explore introvert/extrovert differences in their own relationship. You can participate in the creation of their book "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40" (and enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card) by sharing your experiences in a survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/MidlifeRelationships.
Previous Magic at Midlife Columns:
Upgrade Your Communication Skills
Tending Your Relationship as You Tend to Aging Parents
Learning from Your Relationship History
When Extrovert Meets Introvert
What Do You Want in the Long Run?
Creating Holidays for Changing Families