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Sex can get better with age — how sexually active seniors keep things interesting

senior sex tips
As you age, your body changes — and so does your sex life. Here are some tips for seniors to keep thinks adventurous in bed. . Getty Images

At 59, Julie Rose Wells has sex at least two to six times a week.

Wells, who is based in Idaho, says over time, sex is still just as exciting as it was when she was younger.

“I don’t think that has changed for me,” she tells Global News. “[There is still] the touching, kissing and feeling each other.”

Sex can get better with age, but it all depends on how well we understand and cater to our changing bodies. And even though we all age, sex as a senior is still often stigmatized, says relationship expert Christina Jay of Preferred Match. Jay says the stigma of seniors being sexually active exists because we haven’t embraced aging.

“No one wants to think of their grandmother who bakes them cookies having or wanting sex, it just seems ‘wrong’ as society embraces youth, but we all have needs regardless of age,” she tells Global News.

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READ MORE: Seniors have sex – and the STI rates to prove it

Joan Price, sex advocate and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life,  says in order to move away from these stigmas, we need to understand how to adapt.

“We have to be willing to adapt to the changes of our bodies and relationships and we need to educate ourselves whatever these changes are,” she tells Global News. “And we’re not seeing [these changes] as a dead-end to sex … for every problem, there is a solution with education and the spirit of adventure.”

Barriers to good sex

Price says one of the biggest barriers to having good sex over 65 is the notion that sex only means intercourse.

“There’s an idea that is real sex and anything else is leading up to that goal,” she says. “If we redefine our notion of what sex is, we’re going to be happier and have more sex.”

She adds sex should be anything that gives you sexual pleasure or excites you and gives you sexual sensations. “If an erection is not dependable, we don’t have to rely on it. [It’s the same] if the vagina is not as comfortable with extended intercourse.”
WATCH: Why STI rates are rising among Canadian seniors
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And while studies have shown only 25 per cent of women orgasm solely through sexual intercourse, seniors, both men and women, can get pleasure through oral sex and more touching.

“We’ve been doing it our whole lives as foreplay, now instead of seeing it as foreplay leading up to the main event, think of it as sex.”

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Price also has a webinar for individuals to understand how to have sex without penetration.

Make sexual health a priority

Overall health is also a big factor on the potential of your sex drive and sex life in general. According to a 2011 review published in the Oxford Academic journal, aging populations often have a decreased interest in sexual activity due to multiple factors.

“These include general physical health, psychological causes, male or female sexual dysfunction and practical problems,” authors noted. “In reality, these combine — sexual desire and function are affected by a complex interaction between psychological factors and physiological functioning.”

The review notes both male and female sexual dysfunction was a common reason seniors weren’t interested in sex.

The main types of male sexual dysfunction include erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and low libido, the Cleveland Clinic notes, while for females this can include lack of orgasms, painful intercourse, and the inability to become aroused.

READ MORE: Safe sex misconceptions: Things you should know about STIs

For Wells, one of the biggest changes for her body was menopause and dryness — which is very common.

Price adds other medications and medical conditions can affect a senior’s sexual response, which is why talking to your doctor and coming up with solutions is just as important.

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“You should be talking to your doctor all along,” she says. “They need to see you and understand as a sexual being you enjoy sex and you want to have joyful sex. And if something goes wrong — there’s no erection or vaginal pain — make sure your doctor knows.”

STIs also continue to be an ongoing concern for sexually active seniors, and Price says condom use (and the conversation of using a condom) is crucial to keep sex safe.

“You should bring up condom use before having sex with any age group really to best protect both partners. Communication is the key to real intimacy,” Jay adds.

How to have better sex

But even with some limitations, good sex isn’t out of the question for seniors. Jay says sex changes as we age and the more experience you have, the more likely you know what you like and don’t like.

“You become more comfortable with your body.”

Clear communication with your partner, a healthy diet and consistent exercise can all benefit your sex life (at any age), and just because something aches or doesn’t work as well as it used to, it doesn’t mean sex should be out of the equation.

READ MORE: Couples counsellor shares tips for healthy sex life

Price says there are several ways to keep things interesting in a relationship — she is a big advocate for sex toys. And as a reviewer herself, she knows which ones work with seniors.

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“Read reviews and pick up something that sounds good to you,” she says. “Try it alone or try it with your partner … it makes such a difference.”

She also adds there is nothing wrong about romanticizing the past either. Take a dance class together, go on vacation, go back to an old date spot or just try casual sex via online dating again.

“If you think about how sexy you both were as young people, it’s not because you were young, it was because everything in the relationship was so dynamic.”

arti.patel@globalnews.ca
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