What woman isn’t reading the steamy trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey? The plot (and sex) involves two 20 year olds, but can we women “of a certain age” benefit from this insatiable, page-turning, sex-oriented trilogy? Sex in midlife is more at the forefront and here are the facts:
Do Women Lose their Sexual Interest after a Certain Age?
Sexuality has no age limit. However, for women over 50 sexual satisfaction depends more on the quality of the relationship than it does when a woman was in her 20s. A National Council on Aging survey reports that among people age 60 and over who have regular intercourse, 70 percent of the women find their sex lives more satisfying than when they were in their forties. Being able to discuss likes and dislikes, spend time together and enjoy the romance is easier when there are no kids to chauffer, less rush to have dinner around activities, and fewer work issues.
The physical factors associated with the hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause affect a woman’s sexual response. Low estrogen levels can result in vaginal dryness, causing discomfort during sex. The top three over-the-counter lubrications recommended by women over 50 include: Liquid Silk, Carrageenan, and Replens. In some women, lower testosterone levels can mean a lack of energy and a weaker sex drive. There is not an FDA approved pharmaceutical preparation but your provider may order you a compounded product bioidentical product from a compounding pharmacy. Other women find their interest in sex increases after menopause, due, in part, to a shift in the ratio of testosterone to estrogen and progesterone.
Do Women Lose their Ability to have an Orgasm with Age?
The ability to have an orgasm is not affected by age as much as the physical factors that prevent women from enjoying sex. Many women find increased sexual pleasure after menopause, including more frequent or more intense orgasms.
Masturbation can increase sexual pleasure, both with and without a partner. For women, it helps keep vaginal tissues moist and elastic and boosts hormone levels, which fuels sex drive.
Use it or Lose It?
Older couples still have and enjoy sex. Research shows when older couples don’t have regular sex, it’s usually because one partner has an illness or disability. With age, sex changes, but not in a negative way. No longer concerned about pregnancy, many couples find it easier to relax and look forward to lovemaking. Partners who are retired or working only part time often have more time and energy for each other, for making love as well as pursuing other shared activities.
By midlife, you know your own body and your partner’s intimately, and, hopefully, you’ve figured out how to communicate what you find pleasurable. It’s likely that you’ve shed any sexual inhibitions, and your sexual confidence and experience probably result in better sex for both of you. Just as important, sex may be more emotionally fulfilling because now it is driven less by hormones and more by the desire to share yourself with someone who loves you. Sex later in life may take place less often, but many find it becomes more gratifying than ever.
So ladies, go grab that book, read some passages out loud with your partner and see what “shades” you might enjoy.