As much as we might not want to admit it, there’s no denying your sex life changes as you get older. Luckily, this isn’t always a bad thing.
With age comes wisdom — including between the sheets. Our intuition and emotional connection to sex grows exponentially. We start to understand what it is we like in the bedroom as we get older, and we ask for that from the partners we choose to bring in. When in a long-term relationship, the comfort and familiarity that comes with this often leads to deeper connection that contributes to our sexual confidence and sexual relationship - both with ourselves and our partner. We gain confidence, stand up for what we will and won’t do, and begin to talk more openly about what brings us sexual pleasure.
Physically, though, there are some factors at play that can impact our sex lives, such as hormonal changes, erectile dysfunction and the physical manifestations of stress.
Here’s our cheat-sheet on sex in your 30s, 40s and 50 plus — what changes and how to make the most of it.
Turning 30 is a huge turning point when it comes to sensuality and sex. So many people say their 30s is when they truly begin to feel confident in themselves in the bedroom — and there’s a reason for that.
For women, your 30s bring drive and confidence around what you want your life to look like. This means you may see fewer friends but have deeper friendships, you may have babies and be finding out who you are as a mother, and you may be straddling the career ladder and spending less time at home — because that’s how you like it.
For men, the smoking and drinking of your 20s can start to impact your performance in your 30s. If you leaned heavily on the vices last decade, you may find you can’t last as long as before as you get out of breath, or it could take you longer to rise to the occasion due to the effects of cigarette chemicals on the blood vessels in the penis. However, your 30s also brings your most primal decade as your libido soars. Make use of this and get busy with your partner whenever you’re both in the mood!
Your 30s are the time to prioritise your sex life. Schedule date nights with your lover, keep track of your cycle and how this impacts your mood at home and at work, and have open conversations with your partner about what you want more (or less) of in the sheets.
Arguably the most sexually liberating time in your lives, the 40s are a decade to get excited about.
If you have kids, at this age they’re often old enough to occupy themselves. You’re also likely to have established your career and have a greater understanding of who you are. All of these things ladder up to leaving more time for the kind of sex you want to have. So, let’s add some spark!
Consider the sexual fantasies you’ve always wondered about — now is as good a time as any to try them and experiment a little. Dress up for your partner, introduce toys or restraints to the bedroom, bring in a third person, try ‘that thing!’ that you’ve always wanted to but haven’t yet… whatever’s on your sexual bucket-list, it’s time to tick it off! Explore more and communicate this with your sexual partner - keep being curious about what you like in (and out of) the bedroom.
Your 50s and beyond
You know what you want and how to get it. So, what does sex look like past ‘mid-life’?
For women, menopause (which usually commences around 51 years old) can make sex a bit more painful than you’re used to. This is because estrogen, the hormone that helps you to self-lubricate when you’re turned on, stops producing and so there is more friction during penetrative sex — even if you want it just as much. Your best friend after menopause is a water-based lubricant. Using a pea-sized amount will imitate the feeling of self-lubrication and make sex much more pleasurable for you (while also not damaging any silicone-based toys you may be using).
For men, after 50 your erections could take a little longer to form, be it less firm and not as large. This means you may need more time to get in the zone — but most people will agree there’s nothing wrong with foreplay! If your erection is concerning you, speak to your GP about lifestyle changes or medication to assist.
Moving away from penetrative sex and experimenting with foreplay can be a wonderful way to enjoy your later years. ‘Outercourse’ — meaning digital stimulation, more focus on the whole body including nipples, kissing and licking — can provide supreme pleasure just as good as ‘traditional’ sex.
You’re also more likely to be in sync with your partner in later years because you’re more connected – meaning the journey AND the destination are great for both of you.
As you do age and notice some changes, communicate to your partner and bring them into the bedroom where you can break down any concerns you may have. Communication before, during and about sex is one of the most important ways to keep sex alive because it keeps you on the path towards pure pleasure. And that’s the best path to be on.
(Article originally published by Bare Therapy on Keeping Sex and Passion Alive in Your 30s, 40s and Beyond)