The messages that we receive from the media, society and culture so often tell us that growing older is something to be reversed, if not feared. With all the adverts for anti-aging products, elixirs and potions, one might imagine that maturing is some kind of evil curse. Yet so many cultures revere and respect their older members, seeing them as fountains of knowledge: the storytellers, historians and wise people of the tribe. In fact, the older you are, the more admired you become in some cultures. So with this in mind, part of the great benefits of our fruition into the golden years is our expanded knowledge of our bodies, how they work and the kinds of pleasure with which we are intimately aware.
Often, as we age, we may encounter difficulties with sexual functioning such as erectile problems, arousal concerns or the inability to orgasm. But this doesn’t mean that sexuality and intimacy are no longer important, it simply means that sexual fulfillment may start to look slightly different. The desire for skin on skin contact, cuddles, touch and more seem ever present.
Having regular sexual and physical intimacy has a raft of benefits including improving physical and psychological health, reducing physical and mental health problems and improving cardiovascular health. While the effect of ageing might slow down our sexual response systems, this is often seen as a wonderful part of sexual exploration as we mature. Having the time and relaxation to enjoy our partner’s body one slow sensual taste at a time leaves many people feeling more satisfied and content with their sex life. Over 50s who have a regular sexual partner report that sex is as important as it was in their younger years while claiming that sex is a cornerstone of their intimacy and relationship longevity.
Sex and Physical Pain or Ailments
Sometimes the body can feel uncomfortable or in pain and this can affect how we interact sexually. This may be due to ageing or if we find we have an injury or pain that is preventing us from having sex in our usual way. Sex can be an important part in both enhancing relationships and even in pain management. Research shows that orgasm increases hormones which boost your pain threshold.
Sex does not have to go out the window if you are struggling with your physical health or feeling the effects of an ageing body. Often when in such situations one can feel unattractive or not in the mood for sex, but remember: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Making the effort to be sexual with your lover may make you feel a whole lot better in the long run. Seeing a clinically qualified sex therapist may considerably enhance your sexual relationship.
Women’s Sexual Health
Generally, as women age, society has the perception that sexual interest fades, if not disappears altogether. There has long been a pervasive myth perpetuated that women generally have responsive desire to sex, rather than spontaneous desire, meaning that women require an external stimulus to desire sex, rather than feeling into it all by themselves.
The effects of ageing on erections and vaginal lubrication have, in the past, tended to dominate our beliefs about sex in mature people. This kind of binary thinking must contribute to the social belief that those over a certain age are asexual. Some will still consider their relationships to be sexless because there is no penetrative sex involved, but upon further investigation, one may discover that sexual intimacy is still present.
Mature women often require resources that discuss their sexuality and age related changes. Speaking to a sex therapist can assist you with age related sexual concerns.