5 Tips for Smooth Sex as We Age
The reality of changing bodies calls for more imagination
Once upon a time in America, there were many people over 50 who wanted to be intimate, loving and sexually active, yet they were having trouble knowing how. They were beginning to understand that sex has no expiration date, yet the challenges of aging — from low libido to confusion about condoms, toys and other aids — were working against their ability to have smooth sex.
Youthful fairy tales always crest with the prince and princess finding each other. Ah, but you’ll notice the story always ends there. With added years, when the fairy tale fades and reality intrudes, many of us are stumped about what to do with our changing bodies and once easily fulfilled sexual desires. The media bombards us with products that promise to fulfill our every fantasy. How do we know what’s right for us?
Here, I’ve culled five pragmatic tips to make sex smoother, less complicated, more enjoyable and more fun:
Tip No. 1: Be Kind To Create Closeness
Foreplay begins in the morning, every morning, with an “I love you,” a gentle caress or any other authentic endearment or supportive word or deed. Saying and doing kind things for each other paves the way for trust and closeness.
I had the opportunity to interview Margo Landry, the wife of now deceased comedian Ron Landry. Twenty-one years of marital conflict and discontent were transformed into bliss when Margo and Ron learned to practice a daily ritual of sexual and spiritual connection. After Ron’s death, 65-year-old Margo found that the magic of daily connection was easily taught to her new love. It became the basis of another blissful relationship, which a decade later is still going strong.
I like this story because it is not a fairy tale. It took effort, education and commitment, just like achieving anything in real life.
Tip No. 2: Keep Moving
We all know that the axiom “Use it or lose it” is true. And that if you don’t move that sexy body (of any size or shape), it’s going to rebel. Our bodies need to be cared about and kept in motion or they are just not going to be as silky and sexual as they might otherwise be. That’s true whether you’re single or in a relationship.
Tip No. 3: Introduce Toys
Recently, at a lecture I gave, a 64-year-old woman heard the word vibrator, wrinkled her nose and said emphatically: “Never, not me!” When I started to explain the various kinds available and that she could pick one up in her local chain store or online, the image of having to go into a porn shop to purchase the product fled.
“You know, all those back vibrators for shoulder pain that are carried everywhere?” I said, and winked. “They can be used for many purposes.” I happen to know she now owns one.
Of course there are thousands of vibrators of every kind. For women, there are those that are inserted into the vagina and those that stimulate the clitoris and vulvar area. They use electrical outlets, batteries or even USB ports, so they’re perfect for travel with or without your computer. Many hotels have now switched to ports rather than asking visitors to bring all those confusing, tangled up cords for each country’s voltage system.
For men, in addition to constantly advertised pills (which rarely work without desire or when mixed with medications such as antidepressants or those prescribed for your heart, or with those pesky interfering illnesses such as diabetes, and post-prostate issues), modern science has given us increased testosterone in a pill or cream, penis pumps, penile injections, old fashioned rings (now updated) and most important, the ability to go slow and take our time.
Tip No. 4: Lubricate Liberally
Here’s my most general tip for smooth sex: With age, the body loses the hormones that keep it juicy. So in addition to what your medical professional may or may not prescribe (that’s a whole other article that I’ll write for Next Avenue soon), lubricants, aka “love lubes,” help keep you moist and comfortable.
But with all the types on your drugstore’s shelves, it’s akin to walking into the supermarket and not knowing which soup brand to buy. Which one is for you?
Lubes can be made from all kinds of ingredients: water, oil, petroleum, aloe, coconut and other oils and silicone. If you are using condoms — which are a must if you are not in a long term, guaranteed monogamous relationship or you and your partner don’t have a recent medical sexual stamp of approval (that means first time together without a condom) ― a water-based lube is your best friend. It's easily washed away and does not linger on clean sheets.
Oil- and petroleum-based lubes can cause latex to deteriorate, so they are an absolute no-no to use with condoms. Though silicone-based lubes may feel good, user-beware. They can change the vagina’s natural pH balance, causing greater risk of lingering bacteria and infection. If you're prone to yeast infections, products made without the sugars found in glycerin won’t tend to increase bacterial growth. And you still get the same smooth satisfaction. That’s another plus for water-based products.
Then there are lubes that are also stimulants. Many of these are safe and increase sensation; others may burn delicate vaginal walls. Again, read the ingredients. Experiment with a little bit of several different ones first, and feel if peppermint, or another tincture used as a warmer, is comfortable for you.
No, it’s not necessary to lose that romantic moment. If you feel you must wash or argue about who’s going to sleep on that wet spot, use a towel during lovemaking or one of the terrific products like DevineAfterglow specifically made for after-sex wipe.
I do have some personal favorites. It’s my belief that you shouldn’t put anything that could go in your car motor in or on your body. I’m partial to the idea that the more organic the better. Just as when you were learning to cook healthy, read the ingredients, get samples or purchase small quantities to start, and learn what works for you, or you and your partner.
Tip No. 5: Don’t Stop Experimenting
Each of us is unique. What turns a person on, or makes good chemistry between two people better, is knowledge, practice and that forever-necessary standby, attitude. Use your big sexy brain to be sexy forever. Perhaps, with know-how and a little effort, you actually can make your adult fairy tale come true.