7 Tips for Better Sex After 50
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
- 1. Get regular exercise
- 2. Keep it interesting; try something new
- 3. Think Beyond Intercourse
- 4. Get Comfortable
- 5. Troubleshoot Your Medications
- 6. Go Slowly After Surgery or Illness
- 7. Talk Things Out
- Other Things to Keep in Mind
As you age, some conditions or medicines may put a damper on your sex drive and performance. But don’t think that if you’re in the over-50 crowd, you have to settle for a less-than-fulfilling sex life.
You can still enjoy sex — you just may have to put a little more thought and planning into it than you did when you were younger.
Here are 7 things you can do to keep sex exciting and fulfilling for you and your partner:
1. Get regular exercise
You may think of sex as leisurely, but you can work up quite a sweat during lovemaking. Here are a few reasons why getting fit can help you get it on:
It strengthens your muscles. Nothing can kill a mood fast than hurting your back or pulling a muscle. Check into the best strength-training exercises for you.
It improves your mood. Exercise can release chemicals in your brain that make you feel better and more at ease. When was the last time you felt blue and also interested in sex?
It helps you look better. Regular exercise can keep your body looking its best and that can help your confidence and boost your sex life.
For women, regular physical activity might help with arousal.
Women may also benefit from what’s called Kegel exercises. They can make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. You can identify those muscles the next time you pee by stopping in midstream. You can practice tightening and relaxing those muscles several times a day.
Men who exercise are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction, or ED, than men who are inactive. If you enjoy long-distance bicycling, make sure you have a soft, comfortable seat and a bike that fits you properly. This can help you avoid a potential ED problem.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise program.
2. Keep it interesting; try something new
When you’ve been with the same partner for a long time, you may want to come up with ideas to add a little variety to your sex life.
The answer might be something as simple as changing the time of day you have sex. If you’re too sleepy at night, maybe sex in the morning is right for both of you.
Some other ideas to keep things interesting:
- Try different sexual positions
- Set the stage and create a romantic atmosphere; a little planning can go a long way
- Take it out of the bedroom and find a new place to make love
- Shower or take a bath with your lover
- Indulge in professional massages that will leave you both relaxed
3. Think Beyond Intercourse
If you or your partner can’t do this anymore, there are other options for you to enjoy closeness and pleasure.
The simple but intimate acts of kissing and touching should not be overlooked. You and your partner may also consider:
- Giving each other sensual massages
- Oral sex
- Trying out sex toys such as vibrators
4. Get Comfortable
If arthritis or ongoing pain makes sex less enjoyable, find ways to feel better. Try a new position that’s easier on your body or use pillows for support.
If you have back pain, for instance, have sex side-by-side instead of in the missionary position, which can make back pain worse.
Plan sex for a time of day when you feel your best. Ahead of time, take a warm bath or some pain medicine if you need it so that you’ll be more relaxed.
5. Troubleshoot Your Medications
The side effects of some medications can cause sexual problems. Some that can do this include:
- blood pressure medicines
- cholesterol-lowering drugs
- ulcer medications
If you have reason to suspect that any of your meds are dampening your sex life, talk with your doctor.
6. Go Slowly After Surgery or Illness
Before you reconnect with your partner, give your body time to recover. Once you have your doctor’s OK, start slowly with sensual touch and kissing.
Speak honestly with your partner about how you’re feeling, both physically and emotionally.
7. Talk Things Out
Talk openly with your partner if you have any concerns about your sex life, whether it’s about your changing desires or how you feel about your body.
If you’re both unhappy with where your sex life is and haven’t been able to work it out, you might want to talk with a sex therapist. Your doctor should be able to give you a referral.
And remember, some older couples find their sex lives are actually better as they’ve aged. You may find you have more time and privacy, plus you can have more intimacy with a long-time partner.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
STDs can still happen: You might think of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, as a younger person’s problem. But age is zero protection from HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, and other STDs.
You need to take the same precautions about unprotected sex as anyone else if you have more than one partner.
When to see a doctor: Our bodies do go through changes as we age that might affect our sex lives.
After menopause, some women might have vaginal dryness. It can make intercourse painful. You may need to talk with your partner about more foreplay or try a silicone-based lubricant. If it’s still a problem, talk to your doctor.
Some men might find they need more stimulation to get and keep an erection. This kind of change is normal. Try to relax and enjoy your partner’s touch. But if you have an ongoing ED problem, it might be time to visit a doctor.
People of either sex might have body image problems, recalling how they looked in their younger days. These thoughts shouldn’t keep you from enjoying sex. If they do, perhaps a sex therapist can help.
AARP: “5 Myths About Sex and Aging,” “How Sex Changes for Men After 50,” “When Making Love Hurts,” “Are You Healthy Enough for Sex?” “6 Ways to Make Lovemaking Great,” “7 Meds That Can Wreck Your Sex Life.”
National Institute on Aging: “Sexuality in Later Life,” “Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging.”
Mayo Clinic: “Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity,” “Senior Sex Tips.”
Boston University School of Medicine: “Erectile Dysfunction and Bicycling.”
So you’re in your 50s or older. That doesn’t mean your sex life has to go into decline. Here are 7 tips to keep things interesting with your sexual partner.
Finding Love Later in Life
Everyone wants to feel love, and that desire doesn’t change as you age. However, as your needs and preferences evolve over time – and as life experiences shape you for better and for worse – finding love later in life may look different than the first time around.
From divorce and dating to companionship and caregiving, this guide is all about finding love later in life – no matter your relationship status.
It’s Never Too Late
At 51, Treva Brandon Scharf was a first-time bride on her wedding day in 2014. It was also the first marriage for her husband, Robby, who was then 57.
On their podcast Done Being Single, Treva and Robby “offer tough love dating intervention and inspiration to anyone at any age.” They talk openly about their own decades of singleness and about finding love later in life.
While their marriage story may be far from “traditional,” falling in love isn’t reserved just for the young.
“The part of our brain that is involved in the experience of emotion is seemingly void of chronological age or time. We fall in love at any age,” says Jodi J. De Luca, Ph.D., a Colorado-based licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in emotion, behavior and relationships.
The desire to be loved and to give love doesn’t necessarily wane with age, says De Luca. “Instead, for many, the need for both may intensify as the finality of life grows closer.”
Despite that intense need, the confidence of our teen years may have been dashed by difficult life and love experiences of the last few decades. But the story doesn’t end there, De Luca says.
“When we are open to finding love later in life, we need to remind ourselves that we do have the ability to renegotiate our life plan regardless of age, including who and how we love. Moreover, finding love later in life reminds us that if we have felt the magic of love before, we can feel it again!”
Experts Share Insights on Finding Love Again
Are you just starting to think about dating, newly divorced, or considering a second marriage after losing a spouse? Consider what these marriage and relationship experts have to say about the benefits and challenges of seeking love later in life.
Fears Are Normal
Dr. Randy Schroeder, author of Simple Habits for Marital Happiness, says it’s both normal and natural to have a fear of dating. “Almost 100 percent of individuals have it,” says Schroeder.
One of Schroeder’s clients was married to her first husband for 48 years before he passed away. Then her second husband died after only a few years together. Especially among those who’ve experienced loss and widowhood, the fear of dating increases with age. Fears can also exist around sex and intimacy. “And once people realize that, it really takes the pressure off,” he says.
A distinct difference in later life romance is that most view dating as a recreational activity, says Schroeder. Older adults are looking for companionship, for someone to watch movies and eat popcorn with, he adds.
Of course, there are complications that come with dating as an older adult. For individuals who have been single and lived alone for a long time, they may feel more “set in their ways,” says Schroeder. Travel preferences and a desire to be close to grandchildren/children can be deal-breakers, he says.
In fact, children and finances are the top two challenges that may keep a couple from marriage.
To tease out these issues early on, he asks his clients to create two lists when they’re getting ready to date again. “I ask them to write 15 desirable qualities, or five intolerable flaws, like anger, addiction, or an unforgiving spirit,” he says.
Overall, Schroeder believes the advantages and benefits of later life relationships lend themselves well to successful dating. “We’re often more logical and objective in older age, looking at the facts and not just the emotional and physical aspects we may have focused on at a young age,” says Schroeder. “We also tend to be more patient and let the little things go.”
Align Your Goals
With 15 years of experience as a relationship and dating coach, Amy Schoen, MBA, CPCC, and PCC, helps “motivated-to-marry” individuals find lasting love. “Half of my clients are over 50, and many are widowed or divorced,” says Schoen.
And while Schoen covers a lot of ground with her older clients, a few key themes have emerged among those seeking love later in life.
First, we are not perfect. “We come in all shapes and sizes. So counteracting the ‘who would want me’ gremlin is very important,” Schoen advises. Even though digital dating wasn’t an option the first time around, Schoen says most older adults looking for love are meeting online. “It’s important to try to put yourself out there, and I believe what you put out there is what you attract,” she says. Starting a family may no longer be the end game, but you should still align your life goals, Schoen recommends. “You have to want the same things and see life in a similar way, or it won’t work for the long haul. I’ve seen this get in the way time and time again—even if there is chemistry.”
Trust Your Instincts
Regardless of age, we must trust our gut instincts, says Jodi De Luca. “If your gut says, ‘No, I’m not ready to date,’ listen to it!”
Your intuition is a function of your subconscious brain, which processes your catalog of lifetime memories in nanoseconds. It also sends signals to your body—increased heart rate, butterflies in your stomach, dry mouth, and perspiration. It then navigates you toward making an immediate decision, De Luca explains.
But when considering future relationships, it’s important to move past instinct and pay special attention to the personality and character traits—honesty, loyalty, kindness, or their opposite—of individuals you’ve had relationships with in the past. “Undoubtedly, there will be a pattern,” says De Luca. Identify the traits each of these individuals have in common. Take note of what the outcome of the relationship was. And then ask yourself if these types of character traits are a good match for you, she recommends.
Don’t Look for a Replacement
Raffi Bilek, a couples counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, stresses the importance of finding someone new. “For folks who are widowed or divorced, finding a new partner can sometimes feel like trying to fill a hole that’s been left in their lives. But every peg is a different shape: no two people can fill the void in the same way,” he says.
Recognize that a new partner will be different from any previous partners you’ve had. “Don’t try to make them into something they’re not. At the same time, don’t try to discard parts of yourself, either,” says Bilek. “You can honor the differences between a current partner and a past one, recognizing that each one has strengths and weaknesses. Rather than pretending that you or your partner is someone you’re not, allow yourselves to be who you are and to celebrate that instead.”
5 Practical Resources for Finding Love Later in Life
Consider reading the following blogs, articles, and checklists for more tips on navigating the tricky transitions in life and love as an older adult.
Planning to marry after 50? Check out our financial planning guide for tips and insights.
Getting a divorce in later life? Learn about some of the financial aspects in this piece from our blog. You may also want to check out this AARP article, The Financial Impact of Divorce After 50.
Dating after 50? Consult our post for tips and resources on getting into the online dating scene.
Caring for a spouse, or watching your spouse care for a parent/relative? Learn about the impact of caregiving on later life love in this piece from AgingCare, and in this story from AARP on Preserving Your Marriage While Caregiving.
Looking for online dating sites for older adults? Check out AARP’s Guide to Online Dating After 50, which offers dozens of vetted platforms specific to later life dating. The list also includes community-based resources—senior centers, matchmaking services and more—to help you find companionship.
From divorce and dating to companionship and caregiving, this guide is all about finding love later in life no matter your relationship status.