Perceptions about aging are slowly changing as more older adults enjoy greater longevity, healthspan, and community engagement. As stereotypes about seniors continue to be challenged, scientific interest in how older adults can optimize their golden years has grown. Recent research has found, for example, that older adults can enjoy an active sex life – but first, they must believe it to be possible and be open to plenty of communication and adaptation.
According to a recent NPR Health News report, a new study, published in The Gerontologist explores how expectations about future sexual satisfaction met up with the real story 10 years later. Hundreds of partnered adults over the age of 45 were asked to rate how satisfying they expected their sex lives to be in 10 years. Optimistic participants reported having more frequent and satisfying sex when surveyed again a decade later. Even those with physical limitations who held positive attitudes about sex were having sex more frequently than those with no restrictions who were pessimistic.
Long-held views that have made sex among older adults a taboo subject have led many seniors to avoid discussing their sex life with their doctor, or even their partner. Instead of adapting their sexual approach with age, many seniors simply stop trying when changes in the body call for a different strategy.
Older adults may want to consider initiating sex in the morning or afternoon when they feel more lively and taking their time. Many older women find they need a little longer to become aroused. Using props like wedge pillows can also help when mobility issues pose a challenge. Lubrication, a few toys and lots of communication can also help revitalize a healthy sex life in older age.
Redefining what sex and intimacy mean in a relationship can also promote greater satisfaction and closeness. Physical touch, snuggling, or a gentle massage can also be part of the sexual experience and take any pressure off to perform in a certain way. When partners can talk openly with one another, as well as their doctors, and lead with a positive mindset, older adults can continue to enjoy a satisfying sex life at any age.