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Achieving gold-standard sex in your golden years

  • A new study found sexually optimistic individuals have a better sex life in later years

  • Senior sex therapist Natalie Wilton offers up simple shifts that can heat up the golden-years

  • Sexperts say it's important to redefining intimacy for lasting connection


If you're in the right headspace, sex ages like fine wine. That’s according to science!

Today we’re talking about how to make your golden years your most satisfying yet. A recent study that hit the shelves last month in The Gerontologist delves into the tantalizing realm of our sexual expectations versus reality as we age.

Picture this: Hundreds of vivacious adults aged 45 and above, all in committed relationships, were recruited for the MIDUS (Midlife in the US) study. These participants were tasked with rating just how steamy they expected their future sex lives to be a whole decade down the line.

Ten years later the researchers checked back in to learn that those who approached the future with a hearty dose of optimism—believing in the power of sizzling romps and intimate connections—had their expectations met and then some. These sexually optimistic individuals not only reported having more frequent escapades between the sheets, but their encounters were also delightfully more satisfying.

Even if these sexually optimistic participants faced unexpected physical limitations a decade later, such as nagging pains or the struggle to lift groceries or exercise, they still managed to keep the flames of desire burning bright. Meaning despite the hurdles, they defied the odds and engaged in more frequent romps compared to their counterparts with lower sexual expectations and no such limitations.

The takeaway? Now that we know positive thinking has a powerful effect on our love lives, it’s time we start embracing those wild fantasies and believing in the magic. Keep those expectations high, and let the sizzling adventures unfold!

Now let's hear from a sexpert. Senior sex therapist Natalie Wilton shared some tips with NPR on how you can grow into your best sex life yet.

The Power of Positive Thinking in the Bedroom

When it comes to sex, optimism can work wonders. According to the study, participants who maintained optimistic expectations about their sex lives reported significantly more frequent and satisfying sexual experiences. Even individuals who faced physical limitations that they didn't have a decade earlier, such as pain and reduced mobility, found that a positive outlook led to a more active sex life. So, why let societal stereotypes or pessimistic beliefs hold you back? It's time to embrace the potential for sexual fulfillment as you age.

Adjusting the Tempo for Maximum Pleasure As the years go by, our sexual response cycle naturally slows down. To fully enjoy intimate moments, Wilton suggests planning for more time devoted to sexual activities. This can be particularly important for women, who may require extra time and touch to align their minds and bodies. Additionally, if you experience worsened symptoms at night due to medical conditions, consider shifting your sexual encounters to the morning or afternoon. By adapting the timing, you can enhance your overall sexual experience.

Enhancing Comfort and Mobility

When it comes to having comfortable sex, mobility plays a crucial role. Wilton highlights that seniors today have access to various aids and props that can make positioning pain-free. (Like this!) From specially designed benches and wedges to simple household items like pillows, there are affordable options to explore. Moreover, assistive equipment like foam wedges marketed for sexual activity can often be found at lower prices in medical supply stores or online under the guise of "back support." By leveraging these tools, you can overcome physical limitations and enjoy more satisfying encounters.

Stocking Up for Pleasure

Planning ahead is key to a fulfilling sex life. Wilton suggests ensuring you have the necessary supplies, such as lubricants (try this one!), especially for women as they age. Nowadays, the convenience of online shopping allows you to discreetly explore a wide range of sexual aids and toys. Even if you reside in a small town with limited access to physical stores, you can discover exciting options to enrich your intimate experiences. Drug store chains often carry lubricants, and some even stock a selection of toys.

Redefining Intimacy for Lasting Connection

Wilton encourages embracing a flexible mindset when it comes to sex and intimacy. If something isn't working as expected, there's no need to panic or feel rejected. Rather than dwelling on what's not happening, adapt and explore new ways of connecting. "Say your partner can't get an erection or your partner doesn't seem to be in the mood… Just snuggle instead, give each other a back massage or touch each other differently," she said in an interview with NPR. "Just kind of give that time and space for things to move and flow a little bit more organically. "By allowing space for organic exploration, you can foster a deeper bond and maintain an active and fulfilling sex life.

Navigating Medication and Health Factors

Certain health conditions and medications can have an impact on sexual function. Wilton advises openly discussing your concerns and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson's, along with many commonly prescribed medications, may have sexual side effects. By proactively addressing these issues, you can work with your healthcare team to find solutions or alternative approaches that allow you to enjoy.

Know that the ‘best is yet to cum’ (cue, Frank!)

For the final takeaway, we’re going to bring it back to the study above… In the end, you can fill your arsenal with all the best lubes, pillows and vibratos on the market. But your sexiest and most beneficial sex toy is a good headspace. Experts believe if you expect the best, you get the best, and when you're older you most definitely can expect the best of your life."Sometimes we develop a bit more of a confidence for ourselves too when we get older. We're like, 'yeah, you know what? I am who I am and I like me.' Most people, as they get a little bit older, they stop caring about some of those less important things, and I think that promotes a better sex life too."

Want more? Wilton recommends following senior sexuality advocate Joan Price, an educator for "ageless sexuality." Enjoy, all you sexy silver foxes! You’re the real queens here.

*Photo: Rankin for The Times

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