Sex and Seniors: What's Normal?
First of all, you should be aware that an active sex life is one of the most effective anti-aging treatments available.
It releases all sorts of hormones into your body that increase muscular strength, promote glowing skin and generally make you feel good.
(Just don't have a cigarette afterwards.)
Research into seniors and sex included in the New England Journal of Medicine surveyed 3,005 men and women in the United States between the ages of 57 and 85.
These were their results:
- 31% of men and 20% of women in their 70s and 80s reported they were still kissing, hugging and messing around with their partners.
- 54% of men and 31% of women over age 70 reported they were still sexually active, with a third saying they have sex at least twice a month.
- More than half of those aged 57 to 75, and a third of the 75-to-85-year-olds, said they gave or received oral sex.
- 52% of men and 25% of women reported they masturbated, regardless of whether they had a partner.
The majority of older adults who were married or had intimate partners remained sexually active well into their 80s. In general, sexual activity tended to decline with age, but a significant number of men and women reported engaging in intercourse, oral sex and masturbation even in their eighth and ninth decades.
What Are the Problems for Sex and Seniors?
About half of the adults who took part in the study reported that at least one sexual problem was slowing them down. For men, that included erectile dysfunction, climaxing too quickly or inability to climax, and performance anxiety. For women, it was low interest in sex, lack of lubrication, inability to climax and pain.
THE WORSE A PERSON'S HEALTH WAS, THE MORE PROBLEMS THEY REPORTED.
In fact, researchers have determined that when partners discontinue having sex, it’s usually because the male partner’s health got in the way.
Sex and Seniors: Use It or Lose It
It turns out that “use it or lose it” is a real thing when it comes to sexual health. Particularly for sex and seniors.
Janet Gibbens, MD, a gynacologist at Providence Health Systems in Portland, Oregon, says: "Regular sexual acts bring more blood flow, and therefore more oxygen, to the vagina and to the penis. They promote healthier sexual organs and improve lubrication and elasticity, particularly for women. Non-intercourse forms of sex are helpful with this as well.”
This is the basis for "use it or lose it" and it particularly applies to seniors and sex.
It's much, much easier to keep your sex life going than it is to restart it once you've stopped.
Sexy Seniors: The Media's Changing Attitudes
Over the past few years, mainstream media has moved away from only the very young being promoted as objects of sexual desire.
Think George Clooney (57) Brad Pitt (55) Madonna (60) and the absolutely fabulous Joanna Lumley (72) just for starters.
Four Tips for Better Senior Sex
1. Keep Your Body and Mind Healthy
Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
You’ll look and feel better for both yourself and your partner. A healthy body will help you enjoy senior sex, no matter what your age.
Keep fruits and vegetables high on your list.
Although a shared glass of wine can be both a relaxant and a stimulant, don't overdo it. Too much alcohol will adversely affect sexual function, especially in sex and seniors. For both men and women.
Don’t underestimate the appeal of an active mind. Suggest something new to try with your partner. You might be pleasantly surprised and discover a shared fantasy.
2. Be True to Yourself
If you find in your senior years that it takes longer to become sexually aroused, start lovemaking with a romantic dinner (or breakfast). Share romantic or erotic literature and poetry, hold hands, touch often, and don’t be shy about saying what you love about each other. And did I mention touch often?
Is there a time of day when you are at your most energetic? That’s the optimal time for sex. Mornings are often good if you’re refreshed from sleep, but anytime is fine if it works for you and your partner.
And what about trying different locations, not just the bedroom. Outdoor sex can be a huge turn-on. Even at the risk of being caught. Imagine the headline "Elderly couple caught having sex on beach."
3. New Approaches to Sex and Seniors
Expand your sexual play beyond intercourse. Holding each other, gentle touching, kissing, and sensual massage are all ways to share passionate feelings. You might experiment with oral sex and masturbation as ways to please each other in bed.
Massage in particular can be a huge turn-on for both the partner giving the massage and the one receiving it. There can be elements of teasing and anticipation involved that enhance the experience.
And don't underestimate the importance of visual stimulation. Be thankful to the person who came up with the idea of full width mirrored wardrobes!
For men, if erectile dysfunction is an issue, try a woman on top position, such as cowgirl or reverse cowgirl where she's in control and hardness is less important. Experiment with positions that you both find comfortable and pleasurable. And there's always Viagra.
4. Intimacy Through Communication
If you would like to try something new, discuss it with your partner and be open to his or her ideas. The sex and senior years, when you have more time and fewer distractions, can be a time of creativity and passion.
It’s important to communicate your thoughts, feelings, fears, and desires with your partner and encourage him or her to communicate fully with you. Better mutual communication will help both of you feel closer, and can make senior sex more pleasurable.
Sometimes just talking about sex can make you feel sexy.
Looking good is also important. Even if your partner says it's not, it still works to boost your own self esteem. And your partner definitely isn't going to complain when you improve your appearance and your performance. Here are three articles that might help: