There are so many myths and taboos surrounding the topic of sex this includes the topic of sex and aging. These myths support the behavior known as ageism. One myth that continues today is you cannot have sex when you are older. Older and the older population for the purpose of this article is over the age of 50. 

People typically tend to not think about the older population as having sex. Because when we think of the older population, we tend to immediately think of our parents or grandparents. No matter how open-minded someone is regarding sex and sexual activity. One thing we can unilaterally all agree with is to NOT have a visualization of our parents or grandparents having sex or being naked. Gross! 

Sex and aging not in the media

The media, also, adds to this narrow-minded thinking by not portraying the older generation as having sex. The media promotes the younger generation as having sex more so than the older generation. And most of us tend to believe the older generation is limited in their physical capabilities. And having an orgasm and certain sex positions are not as easy as we age. 

Older couples are not used in popular culture advertisements like younger couples. Wrinkles aren’t sexy!

sex and aging

Sex stops when our hormones change

Physicians add to this misinformation by making comments during the routine checkup…sex stops after menopause. A thought that continues to float around and be expressed, concerning the older population, is that women dry up and men can’t get it up. If you remember anything from reading this article remember…sex has no expiration date on it.

Studies support having sex as we age

Several studies support having sex as we age as learned by Jane Fleishman, Ph.D. The nature of sexual expression in later life reflects the interplay of body, mind, and social context according to a study conducted by Delamater and Moorman in 2007. As we age, ideally for us to continue having sex, we need good physical and mental health, a positive attitude toward sex, and access to a healthy partner. 

Studies done by Planned Parenthood have learned that regular sexual expression as we age can prevent heart disease, and reduce the risk of breast cancer, and prostate cancer, which can alleviate pain in chronic pain disorders. It can improve the overall quality of life. 

Lindau et al in 2018, his study learned, as we age, that an active sex life assists with improving cognitive function. 

Solo sex also known as masturbation is just as important as partnered sex.

Common physical challenges for aging adults regarding sex 

  • low or absent sexual interest
  • erectile difficulties
  • premature ejaculation
  • inability to achieve orgasm
  • pain during penetration(vaginal wall becomes thinner)
  • vaginal dryness

Instead of thinking your sex life is over during these physical challenges, let the term evolve to outercourse instead of just focusing on intercourse (penetration).

There is not just a physical challenge as we age; there is also a communication challenge. Older adults, usually, are evasive concerning their wants and needs in the bedroom.

Communicate with your partner and be patient. The definition of sex changes when we are older it is now about the connection and pleasure it creates and maintains. As we age, sex is no longer about reproduction rather it is about satisfaction. Satisfaction’s definition has widened to be more than just about having an orgasm.   

Sex is good for your health

sex and aging...It's you it's always been
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Remind yourself that sex is pleasurable. You can enjoy it again by trying something new like toys. Always make sure there is consent. And yes use protection, you can transmit and contract STIs at any age. Remember touch can be pleasurable.

Don’t focus on what your relationship used to be with sex instead focus on what is currently happening and invite love back into your bed. It’s okay to plan it out…take your meds, make sure you’ve allowed time for your meds to work before you begin, put all your toys buy the bed…make sure they are charged. 

Learn to define sex in new ways and get past how your body looks and instead focus on how it feels to touch and be touched. Focus on the sensations being created within your body. Be patient with the process. 

Luckily for us all, the myth of not being able to have sex after 50 is only a myth. It is not true. If it were true; that would mean, we would only be able to have sex and sexual relations during a third of our lives. And that would truly be as disheartening as thinking of our parents and grandparents as having sex. 

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