Stimulating sex at 50 plus!
Many men and women find that the ageing process affects their sexual response, but this doesn't mean that more mature couples can no longer enjoy sexual activity. Here are some hints and tips on how to have richer and more satisfying sex in your golden years
It's important to remember that sexual satisfaction may take a little longer as you age, which is actually no bad thing, especially as this means more foreplay, more creativity and more talking - which all leads to greater sensual pleasure, whatever your age!
Try to avoid focusing on genital arousal alone, and think about stimulating each other in different ways, such as through mutual masturbation or massage. Have fun learning how to enjoy touching one another in ways that do not involve genital stimulation.
This may seem difficult at first because you have to re-programme your sexual habits and 'norms'. During youth, sexual arousal just seems to happen, often without too much stimulation. As you get older, you need to change your sexual behaviour and have the courage and confidence to be more creative through touch.
Part of this process is accepting and accommodating the ways in which our bodies change over time. For example, a woman's vagina often loses some of its elasticity and some women experience a change in lubrication levels, which can cause vaginal discomfort during sex.
Men also find that their penis can lose some of its sensitivity; there is often a fall in testosterone levels and some vascular changes. Many men complain of a change in the orgasmic experience and that they ejaculate smaller amounts.
That said, none of the above should prevent older couples from being sexually intimate with one another, if they want to be.
The importance we attach to sex remains high even as we age. Around 80 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women between the ages of 40 and 80 still regard sex as an important part of their lives, and more than half continue to have sex every week.
Unfortunately, even though interest in having sex remains strong, a man's risk of suffering erectile dysfunction increases threefold between the ages of 40 and 70.
If you find that your partner's erection is not rigid enough for vaginal penetration and your arthritic knees mean you can't manage the sameas before -it's time to have a frank chat with each other about how you are going to manage sexual activity. There is nothing to be anxious or embarrassed about. Chances are that you have been together for a very long time, and you can only become wiser and even more comfortable with one another after you have spoken about it.
Some women feel that they have no desire to have sex as they age, but still want lots of cuddles and to feel loved. Men love being able to gain an erection - even if it isn't as hard as it once was - and he can still achieve orgasm with a softer penis.
The reality is that elderly men often have strong sexual needs, but their penis doesn't always respond. If this occurs at any age, it is important to visit a doctor who will be able to explain why he might be having difficulties getting or maintaining an erection. He can also advise about the advantages of using a vaginal lubricant.
Some may find this a bit scary, but most couples are relieved to have talked their anxieties through with a health professional. There are so many excellent treatments available, ranging from pills to vacuum pumps and injection therapies, and your doctor will be able to find the right solution to your individual needs.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain sexual satisfaction with advancing age: Timing: Sex after a good night's sleep or in the early afternoon is so much better than trying to stay awake after a long day when you are feeling tired Take it slow: Sex is not a race, so there is no need to hurry the event. Try not to be under performance pressure to orgasm quickly. Take it slowly and enjoy the sensuality of lovemaking Be creative: Explore different ways to pleasure one another. If you are thinking of trying a different sexual position, first try it with your clothes on and see if you feel comfortable, then you will feel less anxious when you are naked Be open: If you don't discuss sexual activity when you are older, you risk losing all the intimacy in your relationship. And everyone, whatever age they are, deserves to have a hug
Talk about sex in your fifties on our 50s messageboard.