“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan (1921-2006)
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.
Knowing your body and knowing the ways in which it receives pleasure certainly trumps the youthful ignorance so often present when we are younger. Add to that the confidence that comes with letting go of our egotistic hang-ups, the idea that sexy is an attitude and not a number becomes glaringly apparent. So many men and women really believe that they are in the sexual prime as they mature, because they ease off on the goal oriented sex so prized in their youth and start to really revel in the relaxed and sumptuous process of making love. They enjoy their bodies while taking the time needed to fully enjoy the intricate processes of coitus.
Having regular sex 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.
Allowing the time to discover the ways in which our bodies have changed or become more receptive to a present and mindful manner of lovemaking could be a game changer. Studies show that one of the greatest barriers to a long and fulfilling sex life is allowing social perceptions of maturing sexuality to impact our behaviour. Seeing our sexual selves as evolving is one way to increase our sexual desire and arousal, knowing that there are a vast number of ways in which pleasure can be received and given. Taking the time necessary and giving ourselves and our lover the permission to take a slow journey around one another’s bodies might take us into new sexual territory which has never before been experienced.