As you age, some conditions or medicines may put a damper on your sex drive and performance. But don’t think that if you’re in the over-50 crowd, you have to settle for a less-than-fulfilling sex life.
You can still enjoy sex -- you just may have to put a little more thought and planning into it than you did when you were younger.
Here are 7 things you can do to keep sex exciting and fulfilling for you and your partner:
1. Get regular exercise
You may think of sex as leisurely, but you can work up quite a sweat during lovemaking. Here are a few reasons why getting fit can help you get it on:
It strengthens your muscles. Nothing can kill a mood fast than hurting your back or pulling a muscle. Check into the best strength-training exercises for you.
It improves your mood. Exercise can release chemicals in your brain that make you feel better and more at ease. When was the last time you felt blue and also interested in sex?
It helps you look better. Regular exercise can keep your body looking its best and that can help your confidence and boost your sex life.
For women, regular physical activity might help with arousal.
Women may also benefit from what’s called Kegel exercises. They can make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. You can identify those muscles the next time you pee by stopping in midstream. You can practice tightening and relaxing those muscles several times a day.
Men who exercise are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction, or ED, than men who are inactive. If you enjoy long-distance bicycling, make sure you have a soft, comfortable seat and a bike that fits you properly. This can help you avoid a potential ED problem.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise program.
2. Keep it interesting; try something new
When you’ve been with the same partner for a long time, you may want to come up with ideas to add a little variety to your sex life.
The answer might be something as simple as changing the time of day you have sex. If you’re too sleepy at night, maybe sex in the morning is right for both of you.
Some other ideas to keep things interesting:
- Try different sexual positions
- Set the stage and create a romantic atmosphere; a little planning can go a long way
- Take it out of the bedroom and find a new place to make love
- Shower or take a bath with your lover
- Indulge in professional massages that will leave you both relaxed
3. Think Beyond Intercourse
If you or your partner can’t do this anymore, there are other options for you to enjoy closeness and pleasure.
The simple but intimate acts of kissing and touching should not be overlooked. You and your partner may also consider:
- Giving each other sensual massages
- Oral sex
- Trying out sex toys such as vibrators
4. Get Comfortable
If arthritis or ongoing pain makes sex less enjoyable, find ways to feel better. Try a new position that’s easier on your body or use pillows for support.
If you have back pain, for instance, have sex side-by-side instead of in the missionary position, which can make back pain worse.
Plan sex for a time of day when you feel your best. Ahead of time, take a warm bath or some pain medicine if you need it so that you'll be more relaxed.
5. Troubleshoot Your Medications
The side effects of some medications can cause sexual problems. Some that can do this include:
- blood pressure medicines
- cholesterol-lowering drugs
- ulcer medications
If you have reason to suspect that any of your meds are dampening your sex life, talk with your doctor.
6. Go Slowly After Surgery or Illness
Before you reconnect with your partner, give your body time to recover. Once you have your doctor's OK, start slowly with sensual touch and kissing.
Speak honestly with your partner about how you're feeling, both physically and emotionally.
7. Talk Things Out
Talk openly with your partner if you have any concerns about your sex life, whether it’s about your changing desires or how you feel about your body.
If you’re both unhappy with where your sex life is and haven’t been able to work it out, you might want to talk with a sex therapist. Your doctor should be able to give you a referral.
And remember, some older couples find their sex lives are actually better as they’ve aged. You may find you have more time and privacy, plus you can have more intimacy with a long-time partner.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
STDs can still happen: You might think of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, as a younger person’s problem. But age is zero protection from HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, and other STDs.
You need to take the same precautions about unprotected sex as anyone else if you have more than one partner.
When to see a doctor: Our bodies do go through changes as we age that might affect our sex lives.
After menopause, some women might have vaginal dryness. It can make intercourse painful. You may need to talk with your partner about more foreplay or try a silicone-based lubricant. If it’s still a problem, talk to your doctor.
Some men might find they need more stimulation to get and keep an erection. This kind of change is normal. Try to relax and enjoy your partner’s touch. But if you have an ongoing ED problem, it might be time to visit a doctor.
People of either sex might have body image problems, recalling how they looked in their younger days. These thoughts shouldn’t keep you from enjoying sex. If they do, perhaps a sex therapist can help.