Revving up desire: keeping passion alive as we age

Like it or not, sexual intimacy often declines with aging. As we grow older, we sometimes experience setbacks in the bedroom that can include:

Loss of sex drive Lack of energy Feelings of embarrassment or insecurity Performance anxiety Impotence   or other sexual problems

As a result, many older people shy away from intimacy altogether, damaging their relationship in the process.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it’s possible for most people to have great sex at any age, especially as they grow older. After all, there are no children who may be listening in the next room. Your alarm clock isn’t going to rush you off to work. And you don’t have to worry about unwanted pregnancy. Besides, who wouldn’t want a healthy sex life when it can strengthen a relationship and bring physical and psychological benefits?

But if your sex life’s been on hold too long, you may find it difficult to get back into the swing of things. If so, here are some tips for revving things up and getting back on track.

1) Pace yourself

Don’t rush things. Understand that sex in your golden years won’t be the same as it was in your twenties. It may take you longer to become aroused and longer to reach your climax. But that’s OK. Take your time and have fun with it. Don’t pressure yourself or your mate. Instead, have fun with the mature intimacy that comes with age.

2) Spice it up

A little variety can often work wonders for your sex life. So be adventurous. Let go of the taboos of the past and do something new in the bedroom. Don’t be afraid to try new things, as long as you and your partner feel comfortable with them.

3) Be confident

See   yourself as desirable just the way you are. Don’t worry about bodily flaws and imperfections. Instead, try to let go of your insecurities and accept that your partner finds you attractive. By the same token, be equally accepting of your partner. It will help strengthen your intimacy over the long run.

4) Communicate your needs

Let your partner know your likes and dislikes. Otherwise, how else will your partner know what you need? But just as it’s important to speak your mind, it’s also important to listen. Your partner has wishes, too. A little honest communication may be all the two of you need to rekindle your sex life, especially if you’re open to trying new things together

5) Ask for help

Don’t be embarrassed to see a doctor about impotence, vaginal dryness, or any other sexual issue you have. These are common problems, and there are plenty of treatments available. But you need to find the one that works for you. Further, if you have unresolved conflicts in your relationship, you and your partner may want to consider couples counseling. By learning to navigate the speed bumps and barriers in your relationship, you might be able to find greater sexual fulfillment.

6) Accept yourself

Some older people are physically unable to have intercourse. If this is the case with you or your partner, try broadening your view of intimacy. Think of it as more than sexual activity. Hold each other and give one another massages. Also, remember that it’s OK   not   to have sex, if that’s what you prefer. In fact, whatever the two of you decide as a couple is perfectly acceptable.

Finally, it’s important to play it safe. Unless you’re in a committed monogamous relationship, you should always use a   condom. While an unwanted pregnancy may no longer be of concern, a   sexually transmitted disease   still is. So be careful. That way you can enjoy yourself and have a healthy sex life for many years to come.

SOURCES:

 

Lindau ST, Schumm LP, Laumann EO, Levinson W, O’Muircheartaigh CA, Waite LJ. A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007;357(8):762-774. Laumann EO, Das A, Waite LJ. Sexual dysfunction among older adults: prevalence and risk factors from a nationally representative U.S. probability sample of men and women 57-85 years of age. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2008;5(10):2300-2311. North American Menopause Society. Fixes for a stalled sex life.   Accessed:   03/04/2010 Helpguide.org. Better senior sex: Tips for enjoying a healthy sex life as you age.   Accessed:   08/04/2010