Sex is a vigorous activity. You might think that now you are older, you have to put sex behind you. But that is not the case. You can still get down to it with your partner if you keep fit and healthy.
Of course, you can still get adventurous. After all, you can get excited at 60 and even at 70 and 80! A study published in 2012 showed that sexual satisfaction in women increases as they age. Many participants even expressed that their arousal became more frequent. The same goes for orgasms. And the percentage of women that said that? A whopping 61%.
A similar research reveals that 40% of people between 65 and 80 are sexually active. And among them, 73% are happy with their sex lives. This shows that old age is not a barrier to intimacy, nor does it cause libido to fall so low that you have to give up on sex entirely.
But you have to exercise caution, nevertheless. Watch that back, or your romantic tryst might end up with a trip to the hospital. Here are some tips to help you have a fun and healthy sex life at 60 and beyond.
1. Stretch it out
There is no reason for sex for older women to be painful. But it is no secret that penetration can be challenging for some due to the constriction or tightening of the vagina. For others, the involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles can also be a problem.
Vaginal dilator therapy can help remedy that. There are kits with vaginal dilators in different sizes to increase tolerance gradually. Start with the smallest one to help ease and relax your vaginal muscles. Move up to bigger sizes once you feel comfortable.
Vaginal dilation therapy should be done with the advice of a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Consult your primary healthcare provider about seeing one.
2. Get lubed
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, you’re not alone. According to a 2020 review of the efficacy of vaginal lubricants, 50% of post-menopausal women have vaginal dryness. This is due to the decline of estrogen. This can cause discomfort during intercourse.
You can avoid the pain by using a healthy amount of lubricant. The ones you can buy over the counter should be enough to help you have a fun and enjoyable sexual experience. However, watch out for harmful chemicals in lubricants and vaginal moisturizers. Avoid lubes containing chlorhexidine gluconate, cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclotetrasiloxane, and undisclosed flavors or fragrances.
Some lubes are not safe to use with condoms. Avoid lubricants with any oils when using latex-based condoms, but you can use them with non-latex plastic condoms.
3. Be limber
That means you need to exercise. You don’t have to engage in strenuous activities like weight lifting and intense cardio workouts unless you’ve been doing those exercises for years and under supervision.
Take regular walks in the park or around your neighborhood. Be sure to wear comfortable footwear when you do. Do Kegel exercises at home. According to Mayo Clinic, you only need to do 3 sets of 10 to 15 Kegels a day. But what can Kegels do for your sex life, exactly?
Kegels can improve blood circulation to pelvic muscles and the vagina. And that, in turn, may be beneficial for arousal and lubrication.
4. Eat a proper diet
You may have heard this a million times from your healthcare providers, but we will say it here anyway. Maintain a proper diet. Include more vegetables, legumes, fruits, and nuts in your diet. These can help your overall health as they reduce the impacts of age-related diseases and help in increasing libido.
More than that, a proper diet and regular exercise can help achieve and maintain a good weight. Once you get there, you will find that intimacy is better. One study by researchers from the University of Michigan uncovered that 40% of people in good health had more satisfying sex lives compared to the 28% who were in bad health.
5. Try vaginal estrogen therapy
Before vaginal estrogen therapy became a thing, there was hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Unfortunately, it came with a host of undesired side effects, such as increased blood clots and breast cancer risks.
Fortunately, there is now vaginal estrogen therapy. This treatment relieves the dryness, soreness, and thinness of the vagina. On top of that, it helps the area become more lubricated. However, consult your doctor before trying a low-dose vaginal estrogen therapy.
6. Communicate with your partner
Communication is key in any relationship, especially in sex. Tell your partner what you want and don’t want to do. Make sure you’re on the same page. Sex should be enjoyable for the people involved. If you’re feeling pain during sex, let them know. That way, they can stay or give you time to adjust.
Sexual dysfunction, such as ED (or erectile dysfunction), is more prevalent in older men. The good news is that there are short- and long-term treatments for ED. Your partner’s support can make a world of difference in dealing with ED, so don’t be afraid to open up to them.
Benefits of Sex in Your Senior Years
If you are unsure about having sex at 60 and beyond, you might be convinced after reading about the benefits.
- Better physical and mental health. Because sex is also a physical activity, it can help you burn fat. And as it is a pleasurable exercise, it releases endorphins, which reduce stress, improve mood, and boost the immune system. Sex also decreases the risk of heart attacks. Even a once-a-week roll in the sheets can greatly lower the risks. Still, watch out for these six unusual signs of heart disease.
- Improved sleep. Sex can affect sleep. You can enjoy longer shut-eye, leaving you feeling more refreshed and energized. Thus, you can go about your day with more energy and enthusiasm.
- Emotional connection. Sex is a good way to connect with your partner. It increases intimacy and helps strengthen your relationship. This is important at any stage but more so when you get older when your relationship has been through the wringer.
- Looking younger. Would you believe that sex can make you look younger? You will reap this benefit if you do it frequently, say at least three times a week. That is because the activity gets the growth hormone going, thus giving you a more youthful look. Plus, it helps promote oxygen circulation throughout the body, allowing for a better flow of nutrients to the skin.
- Better brain function. Dementia and forgetfulness are a reality in old age. But an active sex life can help prevent those. That is because sex aids in keeping the brain sharp.
Risks of Having Sex at 60
While there is a plethora of benefits to having sex when you are older, there are also risks. In particular, there is the risk of HIV/AIDS. Older adults are more likely to contract other sexually transmitted illnesses such as genital herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, and syphilis.
Consider asking your partner to get tested before doing it with them. Get yourself tested as well. Always practice safe sex even with a long-time partner. Condoms are especially important if you are unaware of the other person’s sexual history.
If you have been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted illnesses, talk to your doctor about having safe sex. Also, be transparent with your partner. They deserve to know if they are putting themselves at risk by sleeping with you.
Other health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and back pain can also get in the way of having a pleasurable sexual experience. Consult your doctor about how to have an active sex life while managing chronic illnesses.
These are great positions for any age and older age.
- Spooning or cuddling. This position puts little to no stress on the knees.
- Seated face-to-face. This position doesn’t put much pressure on the joints and lends more intimacy to the moment as you can look at your partner’s eyes.
- Missionary. This position is ideal for seniors with back, hip, or knee pain. Use pillows for support to reduce pressure on the back.
- Modified sitting doggy style. This is for penetrating your partner in a wheelchair or for those with hip pain.
- Side-by-Side. This is similar to spooning, except you and your partner face each other. This position is ideal for those who have back problems.
Keep an Open Mind
If you encounter problems in the intimacy department, do not be afraid to talk it out with your partner. By communicating, you can get past hurdles and tackle problems together. Find a therapist to help you both navigate issues that may impede your sex life and relationship if necessary. You may find that after several sessions, you can communicate better and have a more enjoyable time in and out of the bedroom.
Don’t be afraid to explore. Your partner may want to do something neither of you has tried before, like using sex toys. Talk it out, and research before you go all in or reject the idea.