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20October2017

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Older doesn’t have to mean colder

Crosswords may interest them more than Facebook (or maybe not!), but this doesn’t mean that older women should hide themselves behind lace curtains. These days, more and more older women are admitting that they are sexually active – and proud of it!

Gone are the days when older women could be ‘put back on the shelf’ with their knitting needles, reading glasses, secret recipes and a tag that read: expiry date has been reached. These days, many older women are setting an example for their daughters and granddaughters. They are looking after their health, exercising, keeping up with the latest trends and even running a half-marathon, or two! And it isn’t going too badly in the bedroom either!

A Swedish study has shown that people in the early 70s are enjoying and having more sex than their contemporaries did 30 or 40 years ago. In the article Older women talk about sex (www.self-helpmagazine.com), Beverly Johnson writes that as an Assistant Professor in nursing at the University of Vermont, she asked women 50 years and older to take part in an anonymous study about adult women and sexuality. Generally, the woman described themselves as knowledgeable and liberal about their own sexuality. Altogether, 85% of the adults questioned admitted to practising their sexual interests and activities until very late in their lives, provided that their health was good. Altogether, 90% said they believe that sex is not only for young people – and that sexuality lasts throughout one’s life. Two-thirds of the women said that they are still interested in sexual intercourse, and only 35% reported that this interest has decreased with age! Not bad, hey?

Sexologist Elmari Craig and Biblical expert Hennie Stander write in their book The A-Z of Sex (Die A-Z van Seks) that certain bodily changes and issues that are paired with ageing may influence matters in the bedroom. “The arousal phase will last longer and more stimulation may be necessary. Woman above the age of 50 may need additional lubrication – providing the perfect opportunity to take full advantage of oral sex. The plateau phase which leads to orgasm lasts longer in older people. Because sensation may not be as intense as before, sex may last longer. The couple are therefore able to spend more time enjoying the journey together. Orgasms may not be as intense as before, and older men may need longer to obtain an erection again. Despite all of these changes, though, sex can still be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.”

Remember though, that even if you don’t feel like the social butterfly you were when you were young, your body still has mileage left, and more character than a younger woman who can’t even exploit the benefits of pensioner’s discount!

Don’t scale down…rather make a few adjustments to your sex life to ensure that you will be able to reap the fruit of your efforts for years to come:

1. Speak to your mate and accept ageing as part of your life
This doesn’t only count for older woman – honest communication is very necessary for good sex. Now, more than ever, it is important to iron out problems and to seek creative solutions.

2. Focus on positive thoughts
Remind yourself often about all the benefits of getting older. Discover the things that you enjoy doing in life, and spend more time doing these.

3. Decide that you will remain sensually and sexually active.
Do sensual things together like bathing, sharing erotic thoughts or giving each other compliments. You have time to experiment – use it!

4. Use lubricant
Remember, the older you get, the more your natural lubrication decreases. This can easily be overcome through the use of a water-based lubricant.

5. Experiment with positions and time
You may experience pain caused by arthritis or other conditions that could affect your sex life. Try different positions – and remember that arthritis and other pain may be less severe at certain times of the day. Try to have sex when your pain is at its least.

6. Confront erectile dysfunction
If this happens to your mate, help him to work through it. This doesn’t have to be the end of your sex life – certain lifestyle changes and medication can do wonders.

7. Feel pretty
This is sometimes difficult when you’re confronted with images of youthful, pretty women. As you get older, you may feel less sexually attractive and this can influence your libido. Don’t let yourself be influenced by these messages. Yes, your body does change as you get older, but this doesn’t have an effect on your worth or your desirability.

8. Look after your health
Remember that health problems can interfere with sexual enjoyment. If you have a health problem, make sure that you keep it under control. Follow doctor’s advice and listen if you need to lose weight, exercise, or eat more healthily.

9. Don’t allow operations steal your sex life
You may have undergone a mastectomy, hysterectomy or similar operation which involves your sexual or reproductive organs. This can affect your self-worth quite dramatically. Remember that these operations have nothing to do with your ability to have sex. Speak openly about your feelings around this to your husband.

10. Talk to your doctor about problems that you may have in your sex life
Sometimes, there are simple adjustments that you can make, like taking your medication at a different time in the day, which can make a dramatic difference to your life.