Sex After 50
Even if you are fifties-plus sexual drop-out already, this does not mean that you have to remain one, but you have to make up your mind to change things yourself. It is never too late to improve your sex life, and it's not hard to do so, though it requires a little patience and perseverance to be successful.
For men in midlife (and their partners)
First of all, I think you have to adapt yourself to the changes you undergo at this time. You have to accept that you simply cannot do all the things that you have been able to do in the past, because the body with which you did them is naturally aging. On the other hand, attention to fitness and self-care will mean that you can maintain a good level of health, both physical and sexual.
A man who, in his younger days, enjoyed sex and made love frequently, may get into a bit of a panic when he suddenly realizes that, at fifty-five or so, he wants to make love much less often. "Wants" is the operative word here. He made love frequently because his sex drive made him want to. Now his reduced sex drive makes him want to enjoy sex once or twice a week - or less often - but, when he does, his pleasure is just as great as always.
Past fifty years of age, the sexual glands begin to slow down and produce reduced quantities of their secretions. It follows, therefore, that the seminal vesicles take longer to fill up, and since the pressure within them may have some influence on how often a man feels he wants sex, his need for sex may feel progressively less frequent. If you're a man who's made the discovery you want sex much less often, there is no reason to panic; indeed, worrying that you're on the verge of impotence may actually make you impotent. Nor does the fact that you are making love less often automatically mean that your orgasms are going to be less satisfying.
All sexual responses differ not only from man to man, but also as time goes by within the same man, even when he is at the peak of his sexual capacity. How much you want sex depends on all kinds of factors: psychological, emotional, physical and hormonal.
Women and aging
The operation of women's sex-drive is not so routine as men's. (Mind you, a man's sex drive isn't just hormonally driven - psychological factors are also involved, though it's likely that the main source of his libido is hormonal.) But a woman's sex drive seems to be much less dependent on hormones and more on a sense of emotional closeness to her partner......at least, that is the conventional view, although plenty of experts claim that women have just as strong a sex drive as men, but are socially conditioned not to feel it or express it.
There is, however, still a tremendous amount of research to be done on the subject of the female sex drive. The influence of hormones on the female sex drive is clearly seen in the fact that most women experience a rise in the frequency and intensity of their desire to make love during ovulation; that is, when the egg is released from the ovaries. Many women also report that they have an upsurge of desire during menstruation, when a new wave of hormone production is taking place.
Fortunately, the ovaries continue to produce their hormones after the menopause, though a very slow process of decline continues. However, a woman's psychological outlook is a potent factor in her desire to make love in later years. It's a fact that many post-menopausal women have completely changed in their attitude towards, and experience of, sex.
One reason for this is that many women fear an unwanted pregnancy. With the cessation of the menstrual flow, a woman suddenly realizes that she has been released from this fear. She can now relax as she and her partner make love, she can receive his penis with real ecstasy, and she can enjoy a truly mind-blowing climax with him. Of course, capturing a man's heart and making him love her forever is more challenging, but a new expression of her sexuality is possible, one which allows her to initiate sex and then take the lead as sex progresses so she can enjoy orgasms easily.
Depending on how secure her partner feels in his own sexuality, he may or may not respond to these new initiatives on her part. If he's doubtful of his ability to perform because of his fears and insecurities around his own midlife changes, he may respond with anxiety. But what he really needs to know is advice on how to make a woman come. One of the best ways is -
The Coital Alignment Technique
Imagine such a woman, happy to rediscover her sexuality, meeting indifference from a man who is not motivated to respond. The seeds of bitterness this can generate may cloud the relationship for the remainder of their years together.
I shall talk in the next chapter about the practical aspects of the duty of both partners towards one another: but I would say that in my experience, although a woman more easily withdraws from sex than a man, when she does make up her mind to enjoy it, she does so with more enthusiasm than many men.
The man whose partner takes on a new pleasure in sex after the menopause is very misguided if he does not do his level best to give her what she wants and receive from her what she is so anxious to give because of his laziness, fear of his own inability to get erect or ejaculate, or because of his self-doubt.
The menopause itself can be a trying time not only for the woman, but for her partner as well. He needs both patience and understanding when his partner goes through this experience, with all the emotions it generates. But I have the impression that women who are sexually satisfied before the menopause have a far greater chance of passing through the menopause with the least discomfort and the least psychological distress.
Moreover, if a regular and fulfilling sex life with normal variety and sexual experimentation is continued throughout the years of the menopause, a woman will find it much easier to cope with. She may have occasional hot flushes, occasional irregularity of menstruation, but the anxiety with which so many women anticipate the menopause will be absent, and she will be much more likely to keep her psychological balance through this midlife time.
Ideally, the menopause, like everything else to do with sex, whether the best or the worst, is discussed, shared and communicated by man and woman together. The woman feels a need to talk about what is happening, so her man can support and affirm her sexuality as she goes through whatever changes are happening.
During and after the menopause (and sometimes in the years leading up to it), reduced amounts of estrogen causes the lining of the vagina to thin and possibly become sensitive to the penis moving inside it. There is a simple remedy for this. Estrogen, either in the form of injection, tablets by mouth, or suppositories in the vagina, will thicken the lining of the vagina and help repair the damage.
I have known quite a number of post-menopausal women who have said that a secondary reason for their decision not to have physical sex any more is that they find it ridiculously unromantic making love with a corpulent, wheezing husband, whose penis, never long at the best of times, has become so retiring under its overhang of belly that it is scarcely able to make contact with the vagina entrance, let alone penetrate it in a straightforward way. The adjustments that have to be made make every session of sex seem artificial and certainly not spontaneous, natural and romantic.
Most women who make criticisms of this kind have a good deal of justification on their side. Men who let themselves go physically go to seed far more rapidly and more thoroughly than any woman; and one has to admit that the attempts at love-making of a 'paunchy, wheezing lover,' besides being unromantic, are also likely to be ineffectual from both parties' point of view.
Men who allow themselves to run to seed are failing as much in their duty to their partners as women who cannot be bothered to keep themselves physically attractive.