I look in the mirror and I see an aged face and a body that is fit and strong.. and aged. Wrinkles, droopiness, thinning skin, hair and nails , stare back at me. I turn away faster than in previous years, I put on beautiful underwear , dress in colours that make me feel alive, spray on perfume and go meet the world. The world of men no longer second glance me , I am invisible to them. It stings less now than it did previously. Now I meet the world differently : I proudly announce myself as 63 years old , a sexual , healthy and opinionated woman. My mantra is “:if not now, then when “. There is something powerful , even a sexual urgency, about knowing that there are less summers left for me!
Like many women over 60 years old , my ageing body wants to be sexual and my mind laps up the intellectual engagement that being sexual brings. I open this discussion so you can do a deep exhale and own your sexual appetite. Misperceptions that women’s sexual interest and activity declines, that retirement from sexual activity begins once she hits her menopause, and that men loose interest in sex, need to be contextualised.
Facts are facts: during peri-menopause and menopause female desire drops due to hormonal changes. 10% of peri menopausal women and 52% of menopausal women report reduced levels of sexual desire. Together with other physical and mental changes that occur at this time , low sexual desire causes them distress and interpersonal difficulties. I mean , a dry vagina that shrinks and dries out, causing so much discomfort and even pain during intercourse if not hormonally replete, is really no fun. A body that shapes itself into lumpiness no matter how hard you work it out will make you feel like a stranger to yourself.
Men’s erection difficulties are for sure the major inhibiting factor to initiating or responding to sexual advances. Desire is there, erections have to be bought . And for sure medical illnesses and medications inhibit sexual functioning for both men and women. Adapt! I scream. Find your agency , Do not allow your sexuality to die. Do not be seduced by societal ageism that states ageing people are asexual.
Did I mention that ageing is expensive : drugs for erections , hormones for vaginas, hair colouring, plastic surgery, and a new wardrobe of clothing. Subscriptions to dating sites. And of course, sex toys ! All of this before you pay for your monthly medications that manage high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and your heart , personal trainer , and yoga/pilates classes.
Im going to challenge your misperceptions even further: A review of published social science literature on sex and ageing, identified several variables that influence the frequency of sexual activity of people over age 50 years. The review concludes that women and men remain sexually active in their seventies and eighties. Age related physical changes do not necessarily lead to declines in sexual functioning .
If you’re reading this, you may be shaking your head and thinking I’m not getting your reality as an older person .Give it to me. Tell me what inhibits you being sexual right now: And as I write this, I want to be clear that if you, as an over 60 year old person, choose not to be sexual, if you choose to finally hang up your condoms and contraceptive devices, kick out the long term partner and finally settle into a relationship with just yourself, you are most welcome to do just that.
* feel less attractive
* feel frumpy
* physical changes make sexual play uncomfortable
* partner’s health problems
* erection difficulties
* orgasm problems
* boredom with partner
* years of bad sex
Perhaps you’re wondering what bodes well for ongoing sexual activity. It is good physical and mental health , positive attitudes toward sex in later life and access to a healthy partner. Most significantly the research points to the importance of a woman’s relationship . This above all determines her ongoing sexual interest in partner sex.
Lack of a partner, a boring partner, anger and resentment at her partner, determines her interest in and frequency of sexual play. Happiness in her relationship, new , old or a remarriage , is associated with more frequent activity. She also wants activity more when she feels her male partner is interested and values the importance of intimacy in their relationship.
So stop blaming ageing, chronic diseases and body changes as your reason for low sexual interest. Your relationship, or lack thereof, holds the key to a healthy frequent sexual life.
I love Leonard Cohen’s words :” I ache in the places I used to play.” . Sexual adaptation and optimisation is required as our ageing bodies are unable to tolerate hard banging. Hanging from chandeliers, going a number of rounds in one session , may no longer be possible.
Slip into the excitement of new sexual activities that perhaps you have not previously considered. Come consider this right here and now:
As a person over age 60 years, I invite you to do a simple check in with your current sexual behaviour and sexuality;
1. In the past 5 years have you noticed any changes in your level of sexual interest, in solo play and partner play ?
2. In the past 5 years have you noticed any changes in sexual frequency with a partner?
3. In the past 5 years, have you noticed any changes in the types of sexual activity you engage in – alone or with partner?
4. if so, how have they changed ?
5. Why do you think that is?
6. In the past 5 years, have you engaged in masturbation ?
7. Have you noticed any changes in the frequency of masturbation in the pst 5 years?
8. Have there been any life changes that have influenced these changes?
TAKE ACTION TO GET THE SEX YOU WANT :
* porn /fantasy
* sex toys
* oral sex
* new partner
* cougar – find a younger lover
* renew your vagina
* buy an erection
* change your repertoire of sexual activities.
* concentrate on fixing your relationship.
On more information on Ageing and Sexuality, contact me .