I’ve read “birds do it, bees do it, and even educated fleas do it.” Well, so do Upbeat Seniors. According to a ground breaking AARP study, individuals of all ages keep doing what comes naturally. The difference is, what once came naturally has changed forms. Sexual mechanics may have altered, but in their place, intimacy gets a second chance. The trick to making all of this work usually requires an attitude shift on the part of the participants. If you expect to make love the same way you did when hormones were your propelling force, forget it. Fifty plus togetherness takes a different kind of motivation. Yes, we have pills, kegel exercises, hormone replacements, titillating flicks, and of course, we all know that healthy diets and exercise help. We have sexual aids of all kinds, but what really makes the difference is the way you think about it all.
Every six seconds, an American man or woman enters the sexual wilderness of life after 50. There are close to 60 million of us in our mid-50s and beyond. We are boomers, seniors, wise and sexy elders. We crisscross and belong to all walks of life. At no point in the course of history have we lived so long and expected so much of human relationships. Yet when it comes to sex, we remain somewhere between the gray and dark ages.
Many of us are lost souls, aging in a society that still worships the Pepsi generation bombarded by images of 20-something, wafer-thin beauties and studs with pecs that we can no longer match. Young people remind us in their dances that their view of sex is “dirty,” torrid and grinding. We have much to teach them about what goes on between the sheets. The truth is that sex is ever changing, and is rarely as simple as we might wish. Relationships and sex change. Hormone driven sexuality as we once knew it wanes, but the opportunity for sensuality gains. We have room for deeper spirituality. We can take the time to define our authentic self, and be comfortable in our own skin, albeit with a few hard-earned wrinkles. Saging can be messy, fun, complex and sometimes hard. But is it worth it? Absolutely. If we apply what we’ve gained from our life experiences, then we will all have the opportunity to make these years ahead the best ones yet.
When it comes to lovemaking, we who are over fifty can probably teach our children and grandchildren a thing or two. Often it’s not only about sexual mechanics as much as it is about human intimacy. The National Council on the Aging says people 60 and older typically enjoy sexual relations at least once a month – but that includes the pure delights of holding hands or sharing a kiss. As with young children, touch becomes paramount.
A good relationship can be the best tonic for whatever is ailing. Love truly makes the world go round. And sex remains part of that connection. Having a loving partner helps. But what happens when one is faced with a disease, like prostate cancer, diabetes or other disability, where physiologically the old tried and true ways simply won’t work? It takes patience, perseverance and the ability to look at life differently before you can adjust to your new ways of being together. Adult diapers do not feel sexy and getting over one’s new self image takes time. But in spite of obstacles that would daunt those in the first half of their life, those fifty plus can, and do, learn to deal with their new challenges. One of the biggest impediments to their education is the lack of knowledge and open discussion about this subject.
The Birds and the Bees for Upbeat Seniors
1. The brain is your major sex organ. Yes, it’s the truth. If what’s below your belt doesn’t work the way it once did, change your thinking about sex and what it’s all about. Sex is all about process, not only the goal.
2. Learn to cherish your sensuality. Remember Marvin Gaye’s song that we all loved? Think about songs like Let’s Get It On and Sexual Healing. Now we can understand what that sexy guy was singing about and we can remember why we thought he was so great.
3. Make sure you are in good health. Get a total physical before trying anything new.
4. Exercise gets your brain’s serotonin swaying, your circulation flowing and your muscles moving. Do a little or a lot, but do something.
5. Eating well and losing those few extra pounds will not only help keep you healthy. It will make you feel sexier.
6. Guys: Let science help you where nature has left off. You may find your erections aren’t as firm or frequent as they once were. This is normal. If prescribed, don’t be afraid to use erection aids. Caution though, not every prescription works for every man, and most don’t work all of the time. Genuine desire is still your best ally.
7. Ladies: If you need a little help from a friend, try over the counter lubricating products like Astroglide, KY Jelly, or any of the many new products out there. Vaseline is no no. Petroleum is not the best lubricant. However, feeling a bit shy? Try what’s commonly used for cooking, Crisco. It’s soluble, a great lubricant, inexpensive, easy to find in any supermarket, and can heat up the bedroom to a sizzling boiling point.
8. Communication keeps sex alive and it comes in many forms. Sometimes a simple gesture, a loving comment or even an afternoon in the park can be very sexy.
9. Become a good listener – to yourself. Think about your feelings, your values and your knowledge. If you are shy and confused by the new you, this is to be expected. Your self-esteem may not be all that you wish. You may not know what you want now. That’s fine. Start to talk to your friends, read the latest medical information, surf the web, and fact check before you believe anything you are told.
10. It’s a statistical fact. Good sex and good relationships help keep people happier, healthier and living longer. Want to know how to keep your relationship vital, caring and sexual? Or, if you are single, widowed or divorced, how to date your mate? Read my next column and I’ll give you answers. And, please feel free to send in your questions and I’ll be happy to respond. Do you know any non-ex rated bedroom secrets? Send them to me at [email protected]. Life is too hard to do alone – Reach Out!
Previously Published in 2008