Still Sexy After All These Years

Still Sexy After All These Years

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

BIRDS DO IT, BEES DO IT

O then ‘tis, O then, that no joy’s above; the pleasures of love.”

King Charles II of England, “The Merry Monarch,” 1660-1685.  Quote from a poem written to Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond, who famously refused to become his mistress.

What was Charles referring to?

In a word, sex.

With his legion of mistresses, Charles certainly knew his way around the bedroom but perhaps he had a slightly skewed perspective on sex.  After all, he is credited with at least six illegitimate children whom he legitimized—and many more he didn’t.

Sexual Intimacy in Later Years

The bedroom is a big part of life though perhaps not quite as all-consuming as it was to King Charles.  However, whether you are a “singleton,” in a dating relationship, a long-time married or newly divorced Baby Boomer, this subject is bound to arise.  Sex—with all its joyous, intimate and healthful aspects—can be such a wonderful part of our lives even now.  We can still be “in the game” when it comes to sex as we age.

Many of us at this chapter in our story are (or have decided to be) content with a semi-platonic or platonic, loving couplehood.  Still, scores more of us are decidedly unhappy.  Some are struggling with various challenges from midlife health issues to side effects of medications, to simply lacking desire or motivation.  There may be relationship difficulties or lack of a relationship.  We all have our hang ups; we all have lived and loved.  Many midlife couples are doing just fine, though they seem to be in the minority given the plethora of medications, advertisements, articles, etc. dealing with this issue.

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

Large numbers of us would love to have a meaningful and fulfilling physical relationship.  The truth is, a lot of us have simply lost our way.

The rules changed at some point in this game and we may find ourselves bewildered and confused in this new landscape.  Plenty just give up on the whole idea.  It can seem overwhelming at times.

Even so, if one is physically capable of it, sexual contact between two consenting adults can be as pleasurable and life enhancing as ever.

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

So why the hesitation?

The Truth about Baby Boomers and Sex

Despite all the ads in the media (some admittedly simply ridiculous, others touting incredibly alarming side effects), there still seems to be a bit of a taboo on sexual issues for folks of our generation.  Many of us are embarrassed to speak frankly to our doctors or seek advice.  You’d think that with the wealth of books, sexual aids and remedies available, we would have this issue tackled.  Not so much, not just yet.

With all our bravery, adaptability and freedoms, we Baby Boomers appear to be somewhat squeamish still when it comes to sexual issues.

Sometimes it can be body image issues or the (completely erroneous) “performance” fears.  Ads would like us to believe that everyone else is having a vigorous and fulfilling sex life due to some wonderful new fill-in-the-blank drug.  This certainly erodes confidence and can actually add to our fears and feelings of inadequacy.

Yet at this stage of the game, with all of our confidence and experience, there’s no reason for us to allow any of these things to hold us back unless sex is a physical impossibility.  Even then, there are other ways to be intimate.  No one keeps “score” anymore.  We know who we are.  We are the generation who redefined everything and broke all the taboos, striking new ground for both women and men.

Maybe it’s only a matter of perspective.

Therefore, let’s address the issues involved:

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2Medical:

Begin with a good, thorough check up with a medical professional that you trust.  If you feel a bit shy discussing sexual issues with your doctor, remember that they have them, too.  We all do.  Your medical team is your best and first line of information.

Be frank and open.  Your physicians cannot help you if you don’t tell them what the problem is.  They can refer you to specialists if necessary or prescribe medication if needed.

Resources:

When in doubt, there’s always a book out there to address any issue you may have.  There is also a wealth of information on the Internet as long as it’s obtained from a reputable source.  *However, as above, your physician is always the first resource for any supplements or medication.

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

Patience:

We have time.  One of the wonderful things about this stage of life is that the frantic urgency of youth has passed.  We know that if someone wants to be with us, they’ll still want to be with us tomorrow or the day after.  Sexual intimacy is now for enjoyment, not procreation.  This is the age to slow down and savor.  Therefore, if today doesn’t work out for whatever reason, perhaps tomorrow will.  Or the day after.  Que sera, sera.

 

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

Acceptance:

So we don’t have perfect bodies and we probably didn’t when we were younger.  Few do.  No one will expect you to have the body of a 25 year-old.   Body image issues are not deterrents to someone’s wanting to be our lover.  They are with us because of who we are, what we have come to mean, what we represent to them.  Sex at this point in our lives is much more about connection and caring than it is about performance or numbers.  We can finally find the sexual relationship now that we longed for in our twenties—one focused on love and mutual respect.

Humor:

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2This is essential.  Sex is supposed to be joyous, enjoyable and warm.  It’s also funny.  Try not to take it too terribly seriously.  If we aspire to be a bit more laid back and take a more European attitude towards it of relaxing and enjoying the journey, any problems encountered can be handled by trying something else, having a good laugh together or a nice glass of wine if allowed.  Tomorrow is always another day.

 

Sexual Aids:

There are so many on the market nowadays, including medications for pain, “performance,” libido and products just for fun.   * If you think you may be in need of medication, your physician is your best resource for this.  There are lingerie, candles, fragrances, books…. a creative and determined person can find whatever is needed.  We are also the generation who experimented with sex and touted our sexual freedom.  Surely we, if anyone, have the ability to step back, reassess and figure out multiple ways to be physically close to the people we care for.  One of our strengths has always been our open-mindedness to new ideas.

Last but not least… Just breathe!

If we focus on letting go of false expectations and allow for setbacks and reasonable outcomes, while keeping an easier going frame of mind about it all, our efforts at sexual intimacy are bound to work out.

After all, your intent is to become closer to your partner; not to impress them.  How one goes about doing this is open for interpretation.  If you have a like-minded partner, it may be helpful to be flexible.  Insistence on the same old ways may not work for either of you anymore.  It can be useful to set a time aside, adopt an attitude of laissez faire and see what develops.

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

A recent interview with Dame Judy Densch in People magazine had a nice perspective.  Referring to her macular degeneration, she said, “If my eyes go, I’ll have a go at something else.”  Why not “have a go” at something else if the old techniques don’t fit the new life now?

We are too tough on ourselves.  We are a generation driven to succeed, achieve, and be the best at whatever we try.

But perhaps we need to realize that we no longer have to prove anything to anyone, including ourselves.  There’s time to sit back and enjoy the journey, learn some new tips and get back in the game, whatever your age or fitness level.

Take it easy.  We’ll still be here tomorrow.

(And probably enjoying some creative, health giving, and blissfully relaxed sex).

Intimacy & Sex As We Age | Still Sexy After All These Years | ACT2

“Standing calmly at the crossroads
No desire to run
There’s no hurry anymore
When all is said and done.”

From “Mama Mia” by ABBA.

Lyrics: Benny Goran, Bror Andersson, Bjoern K. Ulvaeus,
Kyle David McKnight, Richard Alvin Howard, Jonathan James Howard

 

by Anne Ambuhl

 

Anne Ambuhl writes frequently for ACT TWO. For more of her Eye of the Beholder blog, click here.

 

 

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