Why Sex Shouldn't Stop After 50, by Chantelle Otten

by Chantelle Otten

on Oct 28, 2019


In western society we tend to value youth: beauty standards are dictated on the appearance of youth, everyone wants to look younger and feel younger. This youth obsession results in this belief that as people age, and usually move past the 50 year mark, they lose their sexuality.

As sex is seen as something for young people, older people must not engage with it - which could not be further from the truth. As we age, our sex lives increase in quality!

It has been found that many believe they experience the best sex of their lives well after the days of 'youth'. However, people go through life changes as they age, so they may also experience changes to their sex life. There are new things that need to be taken into consideration, such as the effects of menopause, medications on sexual function and the realistic abilities of an ageing human body that might just not be able to bend the same way anymore.

Yet we should not view this change as a decline, but rather a new adventure free from the restraints of youth.

Intimacy After 50

The strengths of maturity around sexuality

While we have discussed the new challenges that can arise with ageing, there are a multitude of strengths to champion as well. With age comes knowledge: knowledge around what we like and the confidence to ask for what we want. We have moved away from the confusion or trepidation of youth around our sexuality and that can be truly liberating, because now we can focus on pleasure, and the journey of satisfaction, rather than the end goal.

Additionally, there is freedom within our life roles. If we had children, our role is no longer only caretaker and parent, as they have grown into their own adult. We may have more time for ourselves as we move away from the intensity of the workforce. Ageing can equal this liberation and feelings of freedom, however our mindset may hold us back.

If we believe that as age increases our desirability decreases, or if we believe that body changes such as menopause or changes to erections signals the end of our sexual lives then we will not see the strengths. We will not see the vast array of new opportunities, we will only see an end.

So the first step towards maintaining our sexuality as we age is potentially changing our mindset are we mentally open to to staying erotic? To using our imagination, becoming creative sexual beings?

Widening the ideas of what 'sex' and sexuality can be

As mentioned, ageing changes can bring new opportunities with our sexuality, however this may involve adjusting our perceptions of what sex can be. The youth-led ideas of sex usually involve words like 'hot, steamy, fast, spontaneous, active, position changes, wet and hard'. And while these may have been our previous experiences with sex, age can lead to adaptions.

Intimacy After 50

For women post-menopause, there is freedom from the fears around pregnancy. But as the body has changed, sexuality often changes too. A drop in hormones, alongside bothersome menopausal symptoms can lead to a challenging time.

Post-menopausal women may need to adapt to cater for more clitoral stimulation, additional lubrication and potentially less focus on penetration as the basis of all sex. For men, new medications are introduced for things like heart health or diabetes, which usually have some side effects that influence sexual functioning, particularly the frequency and quality of erections.

However, all of men's sexuality is not tied to their erection. There is an almost limitless list of other ways to use our bodies in intimate and sexual ways, yet again it is the mindset.

If men have the mindset that their sexuality depends on their ability to have and maintain an erection, they may gradually lose their sexuality as they lose their erection. But if men open their ideas around sex, and become open to the ideas of sex including the whole body, the hands, the mouth, the tongue and even the skin of our bodies, this can lead to a beautiful quality of intimacy and sexuality.

Tips on how to increase the quality rather than quantity

Intimacy After 50

Sex toys and sexual aids can be great tools to help on the new adventure of our ageing sexuality. They can lead to new experiences and sensations and even help get us back to the basics of touch and intimacy. Something like a massage oil may be the perfect way to begin to reconnect with your partner's body; massaging and just exploring their body through touch also removes the genital focus on sexuality. There is sensuality and intimacy in stroking and caressing the arms, legs, back and chest of our partner without the burden of initiating genital contact.

If we are moving into the genital area, for women, orgasm gel can be extremely beneficial in providing additional sensation in the clitoris and a good quality lubricant is fundamental for extra comfort for their partner).

For men, if an erection is something they are wanting to incorporate, using a cock ring can help maintain the erection (potentially a cock ring with an additional clitoris stimulator to add during vaginal penetration. For men who are really opening their ideas of sex and pleasure, they may be open to the introduction of anal beads or plugs to explore the exciting world of prostate pleasure.

If a couple has never experimented with sex toys before in the bedroom, it could be beneficial to invest in an orgasm bundle or pack of toys. This allows the couple to try a variety of different toys to see what they like, what works, and what they may not want to incorporate into their sexual play.

Chantelle Otten is an award-winning sex therapist and relationship specialist in Melbourne, Australia. You can follow her on Instagram, and find out more at chantelleotten.com.

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Chantelle Otten

Written by Chantelle Otten. Lovehoney Australia's Resident Sexologist
Helping to ensure empowerment, sexual wellbeing and pleasure are at the center of all your sexual experiences

Originally published on Oct 28, 2019. Updated on Aug 6, 2020