No matter what your age as an adult, sexual intimacy is important. Intimacy is timeless whether you’re in your twenties or approaching ninety or beyond. But, life is all about changes. From the day we are born to the day we leave this earth, our lives will be impacted by change – some welcomed and others not so much. One change all of us can expect are the physical alterations of life as we grow older– graying hair, achy joints, reduced muscle mass, changes in eyesight and hearing, and appearance of wrinkles.
One other difference in our lives that can be shaken to its core is our sex life. For some couples there may be very few changes, in fact it can often get much better once the kids are grown and gone. But, for others, the sex life they once knew in their younger years has gradually morphed into an unrecognizable, infrequent, and not-so-pleasurable experience.
Couples who are older may wonder – are changes in our sex life normal? How do we compare to other couples of our age? Some couples may not care how they compare to others as they find their sexual escapades satisfying and enjoyable. Many couples may have concerns of “once I’m older, will I still have and enjoy sex?” If it’s of any comfort, a 2016 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 54% of men over age 70 are still sexually active.
However, for older couples there are very real changes and concerns having a major effect on their love life. Common issues with aging include the following:
· Lack of sexual behavior or becoming aroused
· Erectile dysfunction in men
· Vaginal dryness in women
· Difficulty achieving orgasm
· Dissatisfaction with their aging body
Most of the issues associated with aging affecting sex can be addressed with your doctor or by taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle such as making better food choices and getting in regular exercise.
But to keep your sex life alive and well with aging, there is another change couples may need to make – take the focus off the physical aspect of sex so much. When couples embrace this notion, it takes pressure and stress off of both men and women who may be so caught up in their bedroom sexual performance or lack thereof.
The focus instead should pivot from performance to shining a spotlight on intimacy and closeness resulting in a deep, loving connection with their partner.
Focus on developing the emotional side of sex and not just the physical
As we approach the “golden years” of our lives means being prepared for the unknown. This includes your sex life but there are ways to be ready for the unexpected changes that can crop up:
· Explore your sexual side without actually ending in intercourse
Remember when you first started dating as a couple? You may have kissed goodnight that first date and then in time, physical contact steadily grew into hugging, cuddling and eventually more exploration of each other’s body. Go back in time pretending you are in the early rituals of courtship recreating those days of being physical without going all the way. Never underestimate the sexual excitement of that time of your life.
· Try something different
If sex has become boring, monotonous or bombarded with physical issues, it’s time for a change. Break up the routine – give each other a massage as part of foreplay, have sex in a different room of the house, wear sexy lingerie, share erotic thoughts or fantasies with one another, or share a blanket holding hands while watching a movie or gazing at the stars.
· Have a weekly date night
Each week, plan a date night (or day) to do something you both enjoy. Eating out and seeing a movie is always fun, but sometimes think outside the box. Take a day trip exploring an area you’ve never been to before, have a picnic, find a hobby you both enjoy together, or take advantage of seasonal activities offered where you live.
· Communication is key
To maintain your sexuality, talk to each other. It’s when we shut down communication that things stall. Set aside time to be sensual and sexual together. Spend intimate time with your partner sharing your thoughts on lovemaking. Help your partner know what you want from them physically and emotionally.
Take home message
To keep the fire of desire burning bright for one another, couples need novelty, romance and a healthy dose of affection stimulating not just each other physically, but also emotionally and mentally. This is the best kind of fulfilling change any couple can hope for during their years together.