Sex and Aging
Sex and Aging
“Couples in their 50s, 60s, and 70s report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than couples in their 20s and 30s.”
This is an example of counter intuitive information that we often share with our couples. It sounds strange at first, but if you look closely perhaps it will make sense to you.
Later in life a couple probably:
- is more comfortable in their own skin as individuals, and as a couple
- has more free time, assuming they are retired
- is beyond the fear of pregnancy
- has an empty nest so there are no lil’ kids in the next room
- are using fantasy more than younger couples
That’s right, older couples seem to use fantasy more often than younger couples. This gives new meaning to the phrase “dirty old men.” Older couples often use fantasy to help with the man’s sexual performance, especially in a long-term marriage after many years of sexual experiences together.
In addition, many older couples shift their focus from the goal of an orgasm to the goal of having fun, feeling intimate, connected, and close. Acts of foreplay such as cuddling, touching, and fondling might become more important than the goal of an orgasm. Sometimes having some fun, a good laugh, or “sexercise” is the new goal. Orgasms can help keep the mind sharp and the body active well into the senior years.
Men, Women and Sex
Women are socialized to be the caretakers in a relationship; to have good impulse control and learn to delay their gratification. Men are socialized to be macho; to have poor impulse control and a need for immediate gratification. For many men, sex is how they feel loved and how they feel alive. It is a vital sign and without feeling validated outside of the bedroom they may function poorly inside of the bedroom.
For many men it is a physical urge or need, and if they are not sexual with their wife, they will be vulnerable to finding it elsewhere. Perhaps they will turn to pornography, topless bars, see prostitutes, or have a full-blown sexual affair.
When we were in Graduate School, impotency occurred in 50% of men over 50 years old. Now called Erectile Dysfunction, or ED, is reported by 50% of men over 40 years old, and the projected age is going down.
Men are more sensitive to feelings of rejection, inadequacy, and shame than women. Therefore, if they are feeling unwanted, undesirable, having erection challenges, or ejaculation problems they will consciously or unconsciously stop initiating any sexual activity with their spouse. It makes sense if you think about it closely. Men’s genitalia is “out there for the world to see.” They cannot fake an erection. They cannot fake an orgasm. Women can, and sometimes do.
Women can also be vulnerable too, especially if they have emotional needs not being met in their marriage and if they have a strong libido. Life is full of seduction when one feels lonely and depressed. Being hungry for closeness, touch, fun, and understanding is only natural. When the marriage does not fulfill these needs in either spouse, trouble looms. Sexual affairs often begin with an “emotional affair” where someone of the opposite sex listens attentively, shows understanding, and has compassion.
Older couples are getting divorced in record high numbers. When they realize they could have 20-30 more years left, they chose not to live them in an unhappy marriage. Many grey divorces do not need to happen if they only learned the skills of how to keep their emotional and sexual life alive and connected.
Sex and the Elderly
As a couple gets older, they can continue to have some sexual connection and fun. Skin-to-skin contact is useful to feeling the human connection and feeling loved at any age. Unfortunately, more and more single or polyamorous retired seniors today are getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This is because they are having unprotected sex with several partners. While they cannot get pregnant, they forget that they still can get STDs. While sex with new partners can be exciting, they could also give you more than you bargained for. Safe sex can be erotic too. Give your spouse a try.
Better Than a Year of Therapy
We have often heard from clients, many of whom themselves are therapists, that our 3-day program is worth more than a year of 45-minute weekly therapy sessions. Come experience what many other couples have found to be a more satisfying, comfortable, private, cost effective, and time-efficient way to nourish or heal your relationship.