Our bodies change as we age, yet that's no reason to write off our basic needs as humans. Those needs include safety, security, connection, attention, and intimacy; one of the most gratifying ways to achieve intimacy, attention, and connection while boosting the bond with our partner is to retain an active sex life.
There's no definitive age where sexual desire disappears for good, with many couples enjoying a healthy sex life into their 70s and 80s. The difference is that in our 50s, we might have to put a little more thought and effort into it than in our 20s and 30s.
However, whatever issues you face in your current sexual season, there are tools and techniques to help you enjoy a continuing, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationship.
Improve Performance after 50: TL;DR
- Sexual performance starts in the brain and involves both mental and physical health. Maintaining a healthy sex life in older age can improve cognitive function and overall well-being.
- Finding alternative postures and positions that suit your mobility can help overcome physical limitations and allow for enjoyable sexual experiences.
- Regular exercise is important for both physical and mental health, and it can improve stamina and overall sexual functioning.
- A healthy diet and lifestyle, along with regular exercise, can help improve blood flow, reduce stress, and contribute to better sexual health.
- Medications may have side effects that impact sexual performance, so it's important to consult with a doctor or health practitioner if you suspect your medications are affecting your sexual function. Additionally, using sex toys, lubricants, and engaging in foreplay can enhance sexual experiences and overcome challenges associated with aging.
Sex starts in the brain
Sex isn't a purely physical activity, so it's essential to remember that working on improving sexual performance happens in the brain and body.
It's understood how closely linked our mental and physical health are connected, so given that sexual health is dependent on both body and mind, we should address both of those areas to get the best from ourselves as we age, for ourselves and our partners. According to an Age & Ageing article published by the National Library of Medicine, maintaining a healthy sex life in older age could be instrumental in improving cognitive function and well-being.
When we experience problems with sexual performance—whether down to age, health, or any other factor—it can cause serious emotional stress.
If left untreated, that stress will add to the existing worry and frustration, putting you under even more pressure. Clear communication with the right people is the best way to break such an unhealthy and unnecessary cycle.
Bringing sexual experiences out into the open
Sadly, we're not always open to talking about our sex life. It can be embarrassing, emasculating, and an awkward topic to bring out into the open.
Today, we explore suggestions and guidance to enhance sexual functioning in middle age. A few changes can make a vast difference, so when it comes to your sex drive and performance, it's never too late to improve those desires.
1. Find postures and positions that suit your mobility
We'll get to the importance of regular exercise in a moment, but for those whose bodies don't respond as they once did or they've accrued medical conditions that make some strenuous activities impossible, it's time to consider the workarounds.
You don't have to work through every position in the Karma Sutra to enjoy sex; you merely need a selection of good options that work for you and your partner. So for those with weak or stiff joints, back problems, or struggle to perform the acrobatics of their youth, stop worrying; there's always an alternative. In fact, why not bring a copy of the Karma Sutra to your discussions?
If you struggle to hold your body weight for the duration of sex, try it on your side (known as sideways spooning).
Sex seated on a chair will support your back while allowing your partner to take control in comfort (known as the sitting pretzel or time bomb). There's no pressure on aching knees, arms, or elbows.
Alternatively, where your bed or suitable surface is high enough, the man can stand while the woman lies on her back or front. Known as a standing missionary, it's another great position that takes the pressure off a problematic back.
Entering from behind (doggy style) or with the woman on top (cowgirl or reverse cowgirl) is also less problematic for bad backs and aching joints.
Something else we'll touch on repeatedly as we go through our list; sexual pleasure doesn't have to mean penetrative sex. Performing oral sex, mutual masturbation, kissing, and touching are all options to achieve intimacy and orgasm.
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2. Take regular exercise
As discussed in Sexuality in Older Age, age wasn't thought to be the most likely factor to affect a desire for sex, but health issues. Exercising regularly improves both your mental and physical health.
You might not consider sexual activity too demanding, but as far as stamina levels go, any exercise can help. Strengthening your muscles and improving your cardiovascular and breathing is a good start. It could help with that bad back or aching arms and legs and help you stay in your favored positions longer.
Exercising regularly releases endorphins, adrenalin, and the chemicals that make you feel better, healthier, and happier. Tightening up loose muscles and dropping a few pounds will make you look and feel better about yourself too, and as your mood improves, your sex drive will follow.
3. Back up your exercise regime with a healthy diet and lifestyle
Exercising regularly is a great start, but you'll do better if you back it up with a healthy diet. Putting the right foods and fuels in your body will help your waistline and blood pressure, and high blood pressure is one of the affecting factors of erectile dysfunction.
High blood sugar and high cholesterol are common in men in their 50s, and both can cause vascular issues that lead to erection problems.
Alcohol intake and smoking are other lifestyle factors that impact sexual functioning by affecting health and blood flow—another key element discussed in Sexuality in Older Age.
Eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise won't just help your sexual health, but they'll also help reduce stress and improve sleep quality, flexibility, and mobility.
Curious about ways to enhance your sexual health and vitality?
4. Check medications for side effects
However fit and healthy we are, as we hit middle age, there's a chance we'll be taking some medication to help with any issues we're facing as mature men. For example, if you've experienced problems with heart disease, depression, diabetes, or high cholesterol, you may be taking medication known to affect sexual performance.
As beneficial as they are for the issue they're combatting, many meds or combinations of medications have unwanted side effects shown to affect our physical systems, nerves, blood flow, and neurological health.
However fit and healthy we are, as we hit middle age, there's a chance we'll be taking some medication to help with any issues we're facing as mature men
An article published by NPS Medicinewise provides an extensive list of medications associated with sexual dysfunction.
Psychotropics, cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure tablets, cholesterol-lowering, and ulcer medications can all impact sexual desire or performance in some way. If you have any reason to think your medications might be responsible, consult your doctor or health practitioner. Something as simple as switching medications or finding an alternative treatment could bring back sexual function, libido, and sexual performance.
5. Consider using sex toys
If stimulation or arousal has diminished over time, sex toys can put new sensations and some excitement back into sexual relationships. There are a plethora of male and female toys specifically designed to stimulate men and plenty more for partner play.
Vibrating penis rings increase the stimulation to aid erection while restricting the blood flow that keeps it in the penis.
Male vibrators use intense pulses and rhythms to encourage erections where prolonged sexual pleasure and stimulation are needed to achieve an adequate erection.
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6. Use lubricant
One point covered by the medical publication Factors Conditioning Sexual Behavior in Older Adults is that postmenopausal women often experience increased vaginal dryness as one of the more common physical changes. This can make sexual intercourse painful and offputting, leading to a decreased libido. Adding lubricant to your foreplay or pre-sex routine provides a simple and inexpensive way to combat the issue.
Additionally, vaginal moisturizers are a great way to introduce a daily self-care routine that helps to maintain natural levels of stretch and comfort. There are moisturizer/lubrication combinations that can be used to combat menopausal dryness as well as being used as a lube during sex, masturbation, or toy play.
Just a quick note on lubrication: always ensure your choice won't degrade sex toys or condom materials.
Water-based lubricants are universal with almost all plastics and rubbers, but ensuring you have the correct option is essential.
7. Improve your foreplay game
One area that could benefit from a little extra attention is foreplay. After 50, it might take a little longer to gain arousal for sex, whether due to physical changes, mental issues, or new health conditions slowing down how your body responds.
Taking more time to introduce added romance to sex will add anticipation and excitement while allowing your body the time it needs to get up to pace and remain sexually active. You may have to wave goodbye to more spontaneous sex, but slowing things down adds maturity and a new type of exhilaration to sex.
Spending more time touching and kissing different parts of your body will help you learn more about each other's needs and turn-ons, all adding to the experience.
8. Try Kegel Exercises
We associate kegel exercises with women, often after pregnancy, to strengthen the pelvic floor, but did you know that they're also used to restore bladder control for men after prostate surgery?
Prostate cancer treatments can cause erectile dysfunction, yet even if you haven't had problems with your prostate, male Kegels can help improve erections. They're also used to treat premature ejaculation and boost the intensity of orgasms.
9. Try Penis Pumps
Sometimes considered a sex toy, a penis pump is another aid to combat erectile dysfunction.
The medical publication Factors Conditioning Sexual Behavior in Older Adults supports a correlation between erectile dysfunction and sexual desire in the over-50s. The author states that professional help and social support can mitigate the negative effects.
Penis pumps are a non-invasive alternative to ED medication.
A penis pump temporarily increases the size of an erection by drawing more blood into the penis. Once the blood is in place, a cock or penis ring can help keep it there, maintaining an erection for as long as needed. Experiment with air or water-based options to determine which is best for you.
10. Take your time
As well as improving foreplay, there are plenty of additional ways to increase sexual desire and anticipation. Taking time to explore and understand what each other likes, and the changes that have likely occurred since you were both hormone-driven teenagers and twenty-somethings, can add a new level to your pleasure.
Setting aside time for sex can help sidestep busy schedules and hard-to-let-go thoughts while increasing anticipation and planning in enough time to make the most of your intimate sessions and sexual experiences.
Giving each other sensual massages, taking baths and showers together, and creating a slow build to the main event will help you get in the mood and shake off life's stresses. If those massages lead to vibrator use and masturbating each other or together, why not lay back and relax? It's all part of the process.
11. Talk to your doctor
Whether your problems appear physical or psychological, you should be comfortable bringing those issues to your doctor or healthcare provider. They'll offer suggestions of how you can deal with low sexual desire or ways to combat the physical problems that accompany aging.
They'll talk you through the issues brought on by higher or lower blood pressure, low testosterone levels, problems Masturbation may be down to your existing medications, or your overall health.
If your issues are psychological or down to poor self-esteem, they can recommend appropriate routes through counseling or visiting a sex therapist.
As with any other physical or mental health issue, if something is worrying you or your partner, your doctor should be your first port of call.
12. Improve communication
Talking openly about sex with your partner will open all kinds of doors. If a little of the spark has disappeared from your love life or you're not getting as turned on as you once were, talking about new ideas to explore the positions, fantasies, locations, situations, and even role-playing can bring that added spark you're missing.
Relationships are built on communication and trust, so it's a perfect place to uncover new avenues for a more satisfying sex life.
Explore the World of sexual intimacy and relationship with your partner
Start your journey to a more fulfilling connection with these informative reads.:
- How to Increase your Sexual Stamina: 10 Tips to Last Longer In Bed
- How to Make Sex More Fun: 12 Tips to Spice Up Sex
- What is Maintenance Sex? 7 Tips to Improve Married Sex
- How long is Too Long Without Sex In a Relationship
- 16 Ideas to Reinitiate Sex in a Sexless Marriage
- The Ultimate Guide to Fingering a Woman: 11 Tips from our Sex Experts
- 19 Best Foreplay Tips and Ideas for Men
- How to Achieve Orgasm Together: A Guide to Simultaneous Orgasms
Sex after 50 FAQs
Is it normal for men to lose libido as they grow older?
It's normal for both men and women to suffer a dip in sex drive as they age. However, as we've pointed out, it doesn't have to be permanent. There are many ways to combat sexual drive and improve libido.
What can you do if your partner is no longer interested in sex?
The first step is to have a conversation about why. If, as a couple, your sex drives are out of balance, you can discuss a compromise that works for you both. If the issue is physical, you can explore how to find appropriate solutions together, with professional help, or by caring for each other.
Are there any health benefits from practicing sex as you grow older?
Sex provides plenty of feel-good chemicals at every age, but for older couples, it can help burn fat, boost immunity, relieve stress, and help you sleep. In some cases, it can also minimize the risk of incontinence, lower blood pressure, and provide a great workout for your prostate or vagina!
What if sex is too painful?
First, you have to understand why it's so painful. If it's down to inadequate lubrication, moisturizers and lubes are readily available solutions. However, if the problem is physical or medical, seek advice from your doctor or health care provider.
Are STDs still an issue post-menopause?
If you're sleeping with new or multiple partners, you should always practice safe sex, however old you are. Pregnancy may no longer be an issue, but condom use still is necessary to protect you from infections through oral, anal, or vaginal contact.
Taking care of our intimate relationships as we age takes a little more effort than in our youth and earlier adult years. Understanding our bodies' changes and dealing with eventualities can help boost libido and our sexual practices.
According to the National Institute on Aging publication Sexuality and Intimacy in Older Adults, by paying care and attention to our sexual health—to ourselves and each other—you could be enjoying better sex than ever.
Interested in maintaining the spark?
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