According to the National Institute on Aging, “Many women experience a decline in sexual interest and activity during their menopausal years, and they also experience some physical discomfort. This, too, can be another unfortunate symptom of a woman’s journey through menopause.”
Recognizing the varied ways menopause can tango with our sexual mojo is the first step in navigating this exciting but sometimes perplexing adventure. This doesn’t mean that sex has to be over at a certain point or age. But it does mean that certain adaptations often need to be considered, to accommodate one’s changing body and needs.
Thankfully, when it comes to the discomfort part, there are all kinds of excellent lubrication options out there for you on your pharmacy shelves.
It’s time to debunk the myth that desires diminish with age. Instead, let’s embrace the wisdom and experience we have gained and apply it to our intimate relationships. Whether you are single, in a long-term partnership, or exploring new connections, let’s celebrate the complexities and possibilities that come with this chapter and ensure that our sexual well-being continues to thrive.
Crunching the numbers on female sexuality over 50
Women can still pursue a fulfilling sex life, even after menopause. Confidence and self-assurance bring about fewer inhibitions, and as we ‘come of age,’ we shed the games of the mating dance that characterized our youth.
A groundbreaking global study from the Bedbible Research Centre (September 2023) offers fascinating insights into the intimate lives of individuals aged 50-80. On average, individuals in this age group engage in sexual activity twice a month. Shockingly, 37% of this demographic reported abstaining from sex altogether. Conversely, 27% continue to savour intimacy at least once a month.
Delving into the realm of singles aged 50-80, 14% are open to first-date escapades, while 30% engage in sex within the first three dates.
Complementing this, a study by Lumen, a dating app for singles over 50 in the U.S., echoes Bedbible’s findings that 22% of respondents embrace more adventurous sex lives, 8% have become significantly more adventurous, with another 22% claiming their sex lives are as daring as in their youth.
The older you get the better you are
So, why are those in the 50-80 age bracket experiencing better sex? According to Charly Lester, co-founder of Lumen, “The older you get, the more comfortable you are in your own skin.”
Confidence blooms in our bodies, femininity, and our instinctive understanding and manifestation of our Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. No longer plagued by the worries of pregnancy or the hustle and bustle of raising young children, we’re free to boldly ask for—and explore—whatever we desire, both in and out of the bedroom.
“Sex has advantages that go way beyond simple pleasure. In fact, sexual activity with or without a partner is linked to some impressive, research-backed health benefits,” says Kate Thomas, director of clinical services at the Johns Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic. “Sex can be hugely beneficial for people as they get older, not only for the reported medical health benefits but for our psychological and emotional health,” Thomas says. “It can strengthen our relationships, promote self-esteem and improve our sense of identity.”
The surprising health benefits of sex after 50
As we age, it is crucial to maintain our passion. Sexual well-being plays a significant role in our overall health, and its positive effects have been extensively researched. Engaging in sexual activity, whether alone or with a partner, can aid in calorie burning, muscle strengthening, blood pressure reduction, and even lowering the risk of heart disease.
Kate Thomas shares 12 other surprising health benefits of sex.
1. Boosts Immunity: Regular intimacy may bolster the immune system. Studies show increased immunoglobulin A levels in those who engage in sex frequently, acting as a defence against infections.
2. Improves Heart Health: Contrary to fears, regular sexual activity is linked to a lower risk of heart problems for both men and women. The benefits include improved sleep and a stronger connection with your partner.
3. Strengthens the Pelvic Floor: Sexually active women are more likely to have a robust pelvic floor. This natural workout during sex contributes to muscle strength, control over bladder function, and a potential boost in pleasure.
4. Relieves Pain: Forget the pain relievers; an orgasm may provide relief from headaches, arthritis, and chronic pain. Feel-good hormones like endorphins act as natural pain relievers.
5. Helps with Menopausal Symptoms: Regular sexual activity can counteract physical changes associated with menopause, such as vaginal dryness. Sex stimulates blood flow, maintaining healthy vaginal tissues.
6. Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk: For men, frequent orgasm is linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. The turnover of fluids in the prostate helps flush out potential carcinogens.
7. Boosts Mental Health: Sexual activity and intimacy are associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Regular sex can enhance happiness and mood.
8. Reduces Stress: Sex has an immediate stress-relief effect, releasing hormones and neurotransmitters that calm the body and create feelings of safety and security.
9. Burns Calories: While not a substitute for a workout, sex counts as physical activity. Studies suggest that men burn an average of 101 calories during a 24-minute session, while women are closer to 70 calories.
10. Enhances Brain Health: Frequent sexual activity may benefit the brain, particularly in older adults. Studies show improved memory recall in those engaging in sex more often.
11. Helps You Sleep: Hormones released during sex induce feelings of relaxation, potentially making it easier to fall asleep. Participants in one study reported better sleep quality after orgasm.
12. Extends Your Life: An active sex life is correlated with a longer life. The known health benefits of sex contribute to a lower risk of death.
Age is no barrier to sex
Age is no barrier, as research suggests. Making sex a regular part of your routine might just be a tool to extend your life span. Blue Zones, researching the world’s longest-lived cultures, discovered that in Ikaria, Greece, over 80% of people ages 65 to 100 are having sex. Maybe we should all consider a move to Ikaria?
In conclusion, embracing sexuality in midlife not only adds joy but also offers a bouquet of health benefits. If physical issues hinder your intimacy, remember, help is available. As Kate Thomas wisely advises, “You may not be as frisky as you once were, but sex should still be a part of your identity.”
Age should never hinder the celebration of one of life’s most delightful experiences. Cheers to sass, sensuality, and the timeless pursuit of pleasure!