The physical transformations your body undergoes as you age also have a major influence on your sexuality. Declining hormone levels and changes in neurological and circulatory functioning may lead to sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction or vaginal pain.
Such physical changes often mean that the intensity of youthful sex may give way to more subdued responses during middle and later life. But the emotional byproducts of maturity — increased confidence, better communication skills, and lessened inhibitions — can help create a richer, more nuanced, and ultimately satisfying sexual experience. However, many people fail to realize the full potential of later-life sex. By understanding the crucial physical and emotional elements that underlie satisfying sex, you can better navigate problems if they arise.
Treating sexual problems is easier now than ever before. Revolutionary medications and professional sex therapists are there if you need them. But you may be able to resolve minor sexual issues by making a few adjustments in your lovemaking style. Here are some things you can try at home.
In a supportive relationship, there are many benefits to having more sex. Higher rates of sexual activity are linked to positive changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress, greater intimacy, and even a lower divorce rate. While there are no one-size-fits-all rules when it comes to an ideal sex frequency, here’s some insight from the latest research.
A 2015 study found that general well-being is associated with sexual frequency, but only to an extent.2 Relationship satisfaction improved progressively from having no sex up to having sex once a week but did not improve further (and actually decreased somewhat) beyond this point.
One sexual encounter per week is fairly consistent with the current average. However, our increasingly busy lives may be getting in the way of having more sex. Compared to the frequency of sex in the 1990s, adults in 2010 were having sex nine times less per year.
Although frequency often decreases with age, sexual activity in older adults remains important. In general, older married couples tend to have sex more often than unmarried peers within the same age group.1
There are many emotional and psychological benefits of making love. Sex is strongly linked to a better quality of life. Some of these benefits include:
It’s fairly intuitive to understand how sex improves emotional health, but there are a number of physical benefits from sex as well. Some of these include:
It was once believed that sex increases the risk of prostate cancer. However, a 2016 study discovered that men who had more ejaculations (21 or more per month) were less likely to develop the disease than men who had fewer ejaculations (seven or less per month). Since prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men,12 this effect worth noting.
For some, sex may increase the chances of a heart attack. Despite this risk, higher sex frequency may help. A 2011 study found that regular sexual activity diminishes heart attacks. Sex, along with other forms of physical activity, is protective. But, infrequent bursts of activity put added strain on the heart.13 Discuss your sexual activity with your doctor to evaluate your risks.
Beyond individual benefits for you and your partner, regular sex supports a healthy relationship in a number of ways. For instance, the oxytocin released during sex enhances a sense of bonding and improves emotional intimacy.14
Sex in a monogamous relationship increases your level of commitment and emotional connection with the other person. Expressing love through sex increases the likelihood of couples staying together. As a result, sex is positively associated with a lower divorce rate. The 6 Best Online Marriage Counseling Programs
Humans are wired to crave the intimacy of sex. Lacking sex can lead individuals in a relationship to grow distant and, perhaps, look elsewhere. Working with a licensed couples therapist can help address this gap and prevent issues from permeating throughout your marriage.
Sometimes, maintaining an active sex life is difficult or impossible due to physical or psychological conditions. Couples can maintain a strong, healthy relationship despite these barriers by looking at non-sexual ways to improve intimacy.
Frequency of sex can, and often does, change over time. But, that doesn’t mean sex frequency has to be a progressive downhill slide. If you’re wondering whether it’s possible for sex to be as good as when you first fell in love, the answer is yes. Sex and intimacy can improve as your relationship matures. It just may require a little extra work.
It’s often stated that the biggest sex organ is between the ears. Upping sex frequency without connecting emotionally or increasing communication isn’t likely to produce lasting improvements in your relationship. Managing stress is another key factor for a healthy sex life.
In her book, “The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido, a Couple’s Guide,” therapist Michele Weiner-Davis suggests taking a “just do it” approach:
“At first, many were understandably cautious about my Nike-style approach to their sex life; the ‘Just Do It’ advice ran counter to everything they had believed about how sexual desire unfolds…I could often see the relief on people’s faces when they learned that their lack of out-of-the-blue sexual urges didn’t necessarily signify a problem. It didn’t mean there was something wrong with them or that something was missing from their marriages. It just meant that they experienced desire differently.”
If you always wait for your level of desire to match that of your partner, you may be waiting a long time. Instead, communicate your needs and work together to find a happy medium.
In 1991, scholars from the Kinsey Institute stated, “The truth is that the time between penetration and ejaculation varies not only from man to man, but from one time to the next for the same man.”
They added that the appropriate length for sexual intercourse is the length of time it takes for both partners to be mutually satisfied, emphasizing that Kinsey “found that 75 percent of men ejaculated within two minutes of penetration.
But he didn’t ask if the men or their partners considered two minutes mutually satisfying” and “more recent research reports slightly longer times for intercourse”.
A 2008 survey of Canadian and American sex therapists stated that the average time for heterosexual intercourse (coitus) was 7 minutes and that 1 to 2 minutes was too short, 3 to 7 minutes was adequate and 7 to 13 minutes desirable, while 10 to 30 minutes was too long.
Anorgasmia is regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing personal distress. This is significantly more common in women than in men,
which has been attributed to the lack of sex education with regard to women’s bodies, especially in sex-negative cultures, such as clitoral stimulation usually being key for women to orgasm.
The physical structure of coitus favors penile stimulation over clitoral stimulation; the location of the clitoris then usually necessitates manual or oral stimulation in order for the woman to achieve orgasm.
Approximately 25% of women report difficulties with orgasm,10% of women have never had an orgasm, and 40% or 40–50% have either complained about sexual dissatisfaction or experienced difficulty becoming sexually aroused at some point in their lives.
Vaginismus is involuntary tensing of the pelvic floor musculature, making coitus, or any form of penetration of the vagina, distressing, painful and sometimes impossible for women.
It is a conditioned reflex of the pubococcygeus muscle, and is sometimes referred to as the PC muscle. Vaginismus can be hard to overcome because if a woman expects to experience pain during sexual intercourse, this can cause a muscle spasm, which results in painful sexual intercourse.
Treatment of vaginismus often includes both psychological and behavioral techniques, including the use of vaginal dilators Additionally, the use of Botox as a medical treatment for vaginismus has been tested and administered. Painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse may also be categorized as dyspareunia.
Approximately 40% of males reportedly suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, at least occasionally. Premature ejaculation has been reported to be more common than erectile dysfunction, although some estimates suggest otherwise.
Due to various meanings of the disorder, estimates for the prevalence of premature ejaculation vary significantly more than for erectile dysfunction. For example, the Mayo Clinic states, “Estimates vary, but as many as 1 out of 3 men may be affected by [premature ejaculation] at some time.”
Further, “Masters and Johnson speculated that premature ejaculation is the most common sexual dysfunction, even though more men seek therapy for erectile difficulties” and that this is because “although an estimated 15 percent to 20 percent of men experience difficulty controlling rapid ejaculation,
Most do not consider it a problem requiring help, and many women have difficulty expressing their sexual needs” The American Urological Association (AUA) estimates that premature ejaculation could affect 21 percent of men in the United States.