Why is it that we’re perfectly willing to ask for advice about our diet, exercise and health, and yet when it comes to sex, we expect to know it all without even trying? Well, the truth is that there is always more to learn about sex – and you can have lots of fun during the learning process, too!
There are, however, differences in the kinds of obstacles to hot sex you’re facing now, in your fifties and beyond, to the ones you faced as a younger adult. Which is why it’s so important to look at those obstacles and figure out ways to overcome them. Once you’ve done that, you’ll enjoy a healthy and exciting sex life again.
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For the over 50s, the most common complaints from women relate not to physical issues but psychological ones, while for men, it’s a mix of the two. “There are a couple of key things women in their 50s tell me that trouble them,” says sex and relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr (online @drpamspurr and drpam.co.uk). “Lack of desire and bedroom boredom. And for men, boredom is also often mentioned, as well as concern over performance.”
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Take a look at your relationship and figure out when desire started to fade. Pinpointing that can be extremely fruitful. Most often it isn’t one event or experience, but a slow change relating to other parts of life. Perhaps your partner doesn’t help at home as much as you’d like, or you’ve both been too busy to spend time together.
“What’s crucial if you lack desire is to start prioritising time for you and your partner,” says Spurr. “Our 24/7 lifestyles mean we’re pulled in far too many directions. If you don’t make time for yourself, and as a couple, you simply won’t feel desire.”
“Getting very practical about this works,” continues Spurr. “Make sure your partner helps you with household chores and if you struggle with anxiety/depression/stress start sorting this out day by day. Then carve out a candlelit evening for the two of you. Desire will come back.”
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Fine-tuning your bedroom performance
Physically, sex can be different when you’re older - as a woman, you might find you don’t produce as much lubrication naturally as you used to; for a man, it can mean having trouble maintaining an erection. And that can seem like a huge problem.
"For a man the other side of 50 concerns about performance in bed can be just as nerve-wracking as for a younger man – but while a younger man usually worries about orgasming too soon, an older man may worry about maintaining an erection and possibly not reaching orgasm at all," says Dr Ian Kerner, sex counsellor and author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. "Worry is the enemy here, so banish it by taking all focus off your penis. Instead, use your fingers, your lips and tongue, a sex toy – enjoy giving her pleasure and you'll likely find that over time your worries abate. Less anxiety will make it easier to maintain an erection but importantly you'll have figured out that an erection isn't essential for great sex."
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Both men and women often report boredom as being a problem in their sex lives – once the passion of the first few years has passed, it can be difficult to find the energy or excitement to make sex different each time.
But boredom in the bedroom isn’t an inevitable part of a long-term relationship – many couples enjoy a great sex life for decades. Their secret? Trust and honesty. “Tackle boredom by finally being honest about your secret desires,” says Spurr. “Ninety-two percent of women admit to having sexual fantasies and opening up to your partner about them can be really hot for both of you. Don’t be shy, whisper how you’ve always fantasised about, e.g., him being a handsome stranger who approaches you on the beach. He offers to massage you but then goes further with his caresses.”
Being up front like this can change his world too – because not only will he see you in a new light and be able to satisfy needs of yours he might not have been aware of, it’ll also allow him to be more open with you. “Honesty at this time your life can really turn things around. You might find he has some surprising fantasies to share with you too.”
Related: 5 ways to please a woman in bed
Related: 5 ways to please a man in bed