What’s the secret to staying erotically alive after 50?
In case you don’t know, that’s secret code for, “What’s the secret to staying erotically alive in long-term couple relationships?”
Long-term domestic partnerships aren’t exactly rocket fuel for passion—especially after 50.
But fortunately there are some things you can do to safeguard your erotic life together.
If your sexual relationship is already a good one, chances are you’re doing some of these things already. But if your sexual relationship needs attention, then you may want to consider some of the suggestions below.
Your sexual bank account
Imagine you and your partner have a joint sexual bank account. Every time you have good sex, you’re adding to your account. How you define “good sex” is of course up to you. The important thing is to be a good saver, and to add to the account regularly.
If you’re like most couples, your prime sexual saving years are either before you have kids, or after they leave the house. Children put a crimp in your sexual savings as well as your financial savings. After 50, most couples slow down a bit sexually. But if you have kids and you’re lucky enough to have launched them into some semblance of independence, then you still have some serious saving years still ahead of you.
You’ll need to take good care of your physical health after 50, of course. If you’re a woman, you may need a good lubricant. And don’t be surprised if your husband enjoys sex more after taking a pill. Men often say sex is better if they’re not worried about whether and how quickly they’ll get hard. See my article, “Can a Man Make Love Like a Woman?” for more on this.
It’s also important to avoid doing things that might cause your account to lose money. Bad sex, for instance. Sex when you’re in pain, or upset, or just trying to give your partner an orgasm so he’ll let you go to sleep. Sex that doesn’t make you feel very good about yourself.
But if you keep an eye on your sexual bank account and keep having good sex to make it grow, chances it’ll keep paying dividends.
Are you with me so far? Good. Now let’s talk about the actual sex you’re having, and how to make sure it’s good sex.
Paying attention to what matters in sex
Too many couples hurry through sex in order to give each other orgasms. That’s usually a mistake—especially over 50.
By 50, you’ve probably refined your sexual tastes a bit. Teenagers can eat at McDonald’s every day and still function normally, but over 50 you’re probably not going to be happy eating fast food. The same thing holds true for sex. By mid-life, you want to open a good bottle of wine and enjoy every course at the erotic restaurant. Orgasm is just dessert. Don’t rush dessert. (OK, once in awhile is alright, but don’t make a habit of it).
Appetizers exist for a reason: to whet your appetite. Let your hunger build as you linger over the hors d’oeuvres. (You know I’m talking about foreplay, right? Just checking.)
And make sure you’ve let yourself savor the whole erotic experience before you call for the dessert cart. It’s simple, really: Orgasm intensity is dependent on the quality of arousal that preceded it. The more highly excited you get during lovemaking, the more you’ll enjoy dessert.
If you’ve read this far, you may be saying to yourself, “What’s the matter with this guy? First he says sex is like a bank. Then he says it’s like a restaurant. Where’s he going to suggest we go next? To church?”
You read my mind. That’s exactly where we’re going next.
Your Erotic House of Worship
Erotic couples face the same problem that regular churchgoers face: Boredom. And for similar reasons.
To be born human is to have a restless mind. It doesn’t matter how attracted you are to each other, how much passion you started out with, or how creative you are in your lovemaking. Sooner or later, boredom is going to set in. Religious leaders know this too. No matter how much inspiration you start with, sooner or later you’re going to become restless in your seat.
When lovemaking begins to get boring, the most important thing to remember is not to freak out. Sexual boredom has the same function as religious boredom: It’s a sign that you need to go deeper.
Religious writers on sexuality often mention the importance of prayer. But that’s only useful if you already know how to pray. Prayer isn’t just about asking for things you want. Mostly it’s about being open to inspiration.
Prayer won’t automatically deliver inspiration. Inspiration comes of its own accord, when it comes at all. Prayer just gets you ready. Good lovemaking should get you ready for erotic inspiration. Don’t be afraid to make love when you’re not feeling particularly inspired. You never know when inspiration will come to you, or in what way. If you’re open to erotic inspiration, then you will find it.
I know this all sounds metaphysical. But I believe sex is metaphysical—especially in mid-life. You know by your 50’s that you’re not going to live forever. But to be lost in lovemaking is to grasp a piece of eternity.
Shakespeare, in his Sonnets, famously imagined three strategies for escaping death: creating art, having children, and loving deeply. It’s a tribute to sex, that most humble of human pleasures, that it can sometimes be involved in at least two out of those three.
So go—have good sex, and love deeply.
And don’t forget: a bank, a restaurant, and a church.
Copyright © Stephen Snyder, MD 2014