How To Have Better Sex In Your 50s & Beyond
How To Have Better Sex In Your 50s & Beyond

How To Have Better Sex In Your 50s & Beyond

Getting older doesn’t have to signal the slow decline of your love life. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or have recently started dating again, we went to three sex experts for their advice on keeping the spark going…
Photography: iSTOCK/TOM MERTON

Shift Your Mindset About What Sex Means

“We typically think of sex as intercourse, but we should shift this thinking, and instead define sex as intimate physical contact. Physical intimacy is key in healthy relationships, and vaginal intercourse isn’t always a pleasurable way to express this. In fact, fewer than 20% of women can orgasm from penetration alone. As we experience hormonal and physical changes in midlife, vaginal intercourse can become difficult for some women, so broaden your horizons to the other ways to express intimate physical contact – the only criteria is that it creates pleasure for both of you.” – Carolyn Hobdey, relationships and women’s health expert

Make It Fun

“Earth-moving, erotic sex requires mystery to give it that edginess. However, when we’ve been with someone for a long time, there is little mystery left. When we first meet someone and there is an intense mutual attraction, having sex and spending every minute of the day together is all-consuming. This heightened period of a relationship is impossible to maintain. Using fantasy and role play is a great way to bring back the edginess – remember, great sex thrives on increasing arousal. Also consider incorporating some form of clitoral stimulation for a different element of arousal. There are lots of sex toys specifically for women while clitoral stimulation creams can increase blood flow to the clitoris and enhance the experience.” – Marisa Peer, therapist and bestselling author

Know That More Sex Equals Better Sex

“The more sex you have, the more you will want it. Sex releases hormones which increase libido and also works wonders for overcoming stress, relieving pain and building strength in your pelvic floor muscles. The more sex you have, the more nature believes you are trying to make a baby, and studies suggest this could slow the ageing process. If you aren’t in a relationship, remember it doesn’t always need two to tango – both men and women can enhance their desire for sex through masturbation.” – Marisa 

Prioritise Connection

“Men often need sex to feel intimate and women often need intimacy to feel sexy, so include both within your sex life. Sex is a glue, a bond that keeps your marriage (or relationship) alive, as it’s something you only do with each other. Don’t be afraid to schedule time for sex either, and don’t let that lapse. Bring something different into play every time so it doesn’t feel clinical.” – Marisa 

It’s less about SPONTANEITY, more about PLANNING – and a lot about COMMUNICATION.

Find Your Sweet Spot

“The truth about midlife sex, especially with a partner you’ve been with for years, is that you must work at it. It’s less about spontaneity, more about planning – and a lot about communication. A good, active sex life takes effort and, as with any aspect of a relationship, complacency is a killer. It’s about finding the sweet spot between the comfort of knowing each other’s bodies, needs and desires, and keeping things interesting.” – Carolyn 

Use Sex To Relieve Menopausal Symptoms

“There are numerous positive reasons to have more sex. It improves sleep, which we know is important for our overall health. It also helps our heart and increases endorphins. When it comes to vaginal dryness – a common symptom of menopause – studies have also shown penetrative sex can help. Research shows that regular penetration (two or three times a week) with a partner, or through masturbation, can aid the vaginal atrophy that menopause frequently brings, as well as the flexibility of the vagina. Improving the condition of the vagina will make sex less painful and increase desire as a result. If your libido has reduced significantly, it could be worth chatting to your GP to ask whether a combination of HRT treatment may be the right answer for you.” – Carolyn

Listen To Your Body

“Arguably our greatest sex organ should be our ears. Get into the habit of listening to your body – what is it telling you about how it feels and what is happening for you sexually? Notice patterns and signs about your libido, or lack of it. If it’s the latter, ask yourself whether it’s a physical or emotional situation (or both), and don’t be afraid to consult a medical professional or specialist. Ask your partner about their wants, needs and desires, and listen to the answers. Talking about sex helps overcome any embarrassment, creates an intimate connection and allows you to understand how you might achieve sexual fulfilment.” – Carolyn 

Love Yourself

“It’s hardly rocket science, but if you don’t feel good about yourself in terms of your physical and mental health, then you probably won’t feel good about yourself sexually. Your body is constantly changing, and no more so than in midlife, but acceptance of the changes to your body (and also your partner’s) is all part of feeling more comfortable and being kinder to yourself. Inner confidence is sexy – to you and others.” – Carolyn

A spark isn’t something that can be MANUFACTURED ON ITS OWN – it’s something that REIGNITES when we feel EMOTIONALLY CONNECTED.

Go Slow

“When you’ve been with a partner for a while, it can be easy to make assumptions about what the other person may like and go straight there. When we slow down, we create space for new possibilities to emerge. Consider creating intimacy dates, which are scheduled times where the intention is to spend quality time with each other. The goal isn’t to have sex, it’s to check in with what both of you want and create time for this.” – Madalaine Munro, sexologist 

Experiment With New Things

“With a long-term partner, it’s common to fall into familiar patterns because at one time these things worked. Are there things you have never tried in the bedroom but always wanted to? This can be a great stage in life to try new things and fulfil lifelong desires. In fact, I have had clients who have had more sex as they’ve got older – you can experience the best sex of your life at any stage in life.” – Madalaine

Focus On Emotional Intimacy

“A spark isn’t something that can be manufactured on its own – it’s something that reignites when we feel emotionally connected. When we create emotional safety and intimacy, it creates space to be more vulnerable and more sexually confident, and also creates an environment that can support erotic changes. Try to let go of the outcome, too, as goal-oriented intimacy can create more stress. Can you enjoy each other’s bodies, pleasure and intimacy without being tied to a specific goal? This can help alleviate any pressure and is a win-win because, no matter what happens, you’re enjoying quality time with each other.” – Madalaine 

Start By Changing One Thing

“Nothing changes if nothing changes. If you want to reignite the spark in your relationship, feel better about your body or find a new intimate partner, it’s important to understand that this isn’t going to happen by accident. However, don’t let this need for action overwhelm you. Pick one thing you want to change – whether it’s a one-off or something to be done consistently. Once you’ve nailed that, pick the next, and so on. Big, scary changes can feel overwhelming, so keep it small and celebrate each win.” – Carolyn 

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