New ways of thinking about sex
Pleasant sex can happen without traditional sex.
People’s bodies change over time. Nowhere is this probably more revealing than with their sex life.
For men, libido can slow down as hormone production naturally decreases, and it’s common to experience erectile dysfunction or health issues that can interfere with sexual performance.
Women can have their own physical barriers to sex, such as vaginal dryness and low libido after menopause. All of these issues can make conventional sex problematic and stressful for both parties.
“Even though older people go through physical changes, they often expect their sex life to stay as it was decades ago, and that just isn’t always realistic,” said Dr Sharon Bober, director of the Harvard Association’s sexual health program. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Nonetheless, there are many ways to pursue a strong, healthy sex relationship without always relying on regular sex. Couples should see this new phase in their sex life as an opportunity to explore different and exciting ways to satisfy each other. mutually.”
The first step that older couples should take is to reconsider their definition of “sex”. “Don’t give in to the idea that a so-called normal sex life is narrowly defined,” says Dr Bober. “Sex refers to a broad spectrum, and there are many places you can land.”
Take a look at what sex means to you and your partner now. This could mean changing the way you indulge yourself, the routines you follow and frequency, as well as compromising on expectations. “Don’t assume that there is only one way to have sex,” says Dr. Bober. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Your relationship status can also shape this new idea of sex. For example, some couples may enjoy a more camaraderie-based connection, where the emphasis is on the emotional connection and spending quality time together and less on the physical side.
The language of love
As with most aspects of a strong relationship, communication is vital. “The more you avoid talking about your sex life, the bigger the issues become,” says Dr. Bober.
Of course, talking about sex isn’t always easy, but most partners are open and ready to chat and share if they get the chance. “A lot of times partners don’t know where to start the conversation, so that never happens,” she says. There are many ways to start a sexual dialogue. Here are some suggestions:
Ask permission. Start the conversation in a positive way. For example, say something like “I want to find ways to reconnect that are good for both of us” or “I’m concerned about our sex lives and I wonder if I could share some of my thoughts.” talk about that? “
By asking permission, you can bring up the topic without intimidating your partner. “This initial conversation isn’t about making requests, it’s about finding ways to explore common goals,” says Dr. Bober.
Invite a response. Make it clear that you also want to hear your partner’s feelings. For example, say, “I wonder what you think about our sex life. What is sex like for you? Inviting partners to participate can keep them from feeling defensive and shows that you care about their experience and contribution, says Dr. Bober.
Express what you both want. Talk about what the two of you are hoping to get out of this new sexual relationship, such as more arousal, closeness, or even reconnection. “Sharing your needs and expectations helps your partner express theirs, so that you both can come to some kind of mutual understanding,” says Dr. Bober.
Different ways to satisfy
Once you’ve had these talks, you can both look for different ways to approach your new sex life.
Dr Bober says a good place to start is the “outpatient course”. Here the attention and energy are directed towards foreplay and manual stimulation with your partner, such as massages, cuddles, hugs, kisses or just snuggling naked in bed.
“The emphasis is on intimacy and closeness without high expectations when it comes to sex,” says Dr. Bober. “It can relieve both partners and take some of the stress and anxiety associated with having regular sex. It also shows that you can interact with your partner in a variety of satisfying ways.”
Penetration is not always necessary to achieve pleasure or orgasm for both people. Instead, try sexual aids like vibrators as well as manual stimulation, masturbation, and oral sex.
As you explore ways to stay intimate, remember that every couple is unique.
“A sexual relationship is defined by two people and no one else,” says Dr. Bober. “Focus on what matters to you and your partner. Your sex life may have changed, but together you can find out what’s best for each other and for your relationship.”
Image: © fizkes / Getty Images
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