Older Aussies often find themselves stereotyped in a number of ways. Bingo-playing, cat-loving and knitting (are you bloody kidding me! we’re midlife, not 200), anyway to digress.
There is a belief that the desire for intimacy diminishes with age, however, that belief is a pure myth. Yes, during certain hormonal changes we women face during perimenopause and menopause, sex drive can head on a holiday, but it does return.
A recent survey by We-Vibe, the leading manufacturer of innovative products for everybody’s love life, revealed that 35 per cent of Australians believe that the desire for sex decreases with age. However, 44 per cent of Australian respondents aged 50+ rated their sex lives a 7 or above on a scale of 10. See, it’s not all down hill!
This aligns with the 2021 ABC Australia Talks survey which shows that Australians aged over 50 are having more sex than their younger counterparts.
“Love and lust don’t retire at a certain age, so we want to encourage people to talk about it and find new ways to experience their sexuality without shame,” explains Johanna Rief, Head of Sexual Empowerment at We-Vibe.
Author Joan Price, who advocates for ageless sexuality, was interviewed about the most common questions and problems she gets asked. Based on the questions, Johanna and Joan have put together five tips to keep having invigorating sex as you get older.
1. Redefine sex
Sex can change with age, but it’s an opportunity to break away from the classic definition of “sex equals penetrative sex” and try something new. New preferences, erogenous zones and the connection to your partner can be often rediscovered.
”Let go of what sex used to be for you, because we are not going back to being 20”, explains Joan. “Make it a journey of exploration to find out what works for you now. Find out what brings you great delight, arousal and orgasms at your age right now.”
Perhaps introduce props into the bedroom, like blindfolds or feathers, or try a new pleasure toy, like the We-Vibe Match which can be used by couples during sex. Role-play is another great option to try as a new and exciting way to become aroused with your partner.
2. It’s not about looks
Appearance does not play a major role in sex. If you feel good in your own body, you can enjoy intimacy with a partner much more. Try to leave any reservations or discomforts about your body at the door before sex, and remember, your partner isn’t focused on what you look like – they’re only focused on giving and receiving pleasure, and having fun with you.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication is the key to a good relationship and to good sex. Listening is just as important as expressing your own wishes. Even in a long-term relationship, it is important to let your partner know when certain touches no longer feel as good as they once did. Instead, it is worth trying new things.
4. Quality over quantity!
Sex changes over time. For example, the general desire for sex may decrease, at the same time it may take longer to become aroused or the reactions to certain stimuli may change. However, the body still reacts to touch, so often it’s enough to simply start touching yourself and elicit desire and lust. Find what makes you and your partner aroused and put effort into doing this well for a more fulfilling experience.
5. Safety is key
An important aspect that unfortunately more often falls under the table in old age is contraception. Although the risk of an unwanted pregnancy is very small, STIs make no difference to age. The survey by We-Vibe showed that more than half of the people over 55 do not value protected sex. In long-term relationships, this aspect can of course be neglected, but especially when changing partners, contraception should always be used to protect against STIs.
Despite changing, sexuality in old age should not be ignored. In addition to making you feel good, the health benefits of sex outweigh any disadvantages. Sex can improve mood, help against depressive moods, strengthens the immune system and can contribute to pain relief.
“The frequency may go down, but the quality can go up. It’s not about how often we have sex, but more about the quality of sex older adults have; and most importantly, how much pleasure they get from having sex,” concludes Joan.