Reinventing Intimacy

Is it possible to have great sex at midlife and beyond? Absolutely. But it’s not necessary to have the unbridled drive or wildness of your younger years to experience sexual fulfillment at this stage of life. It’s the “being with” more so than “doing to” that sustains us over time, the way we connect in our humanness and vulnerability as we age that provides the glue to keep us together for the long haul.

We buy into the idea that we should still have the same sex drive, look the same, perform the same, have the same endurance, and have endless hours of intercourse that we did in our youth. It’s a well-known fact that our bodies, sexuality, and level of performance, do not remain the same as we mature. It’s a myth that sexuality and sensuality at midlife and cannot be recaptured. Expectations about “great sex” and intimacy need to change as we age. We need to adapt our ideas to match up to the physical changes of this stage of life. Too often, couples react by letting go and giving up intimacy altogether and stop tuning in to one another.

Don’t lose sight– you can rejuvenate your intimacy. Each relationship is unique and you need to explore what newness you can discover in each other as you are now. Below are a few tips I find help people get the ball rolling on their journey to redefining sex at this stage in their lives.

Eyes wide open

To intensify the experience and emotional connection of sex in a new way, get face to face with your eyes open. Hug, kiss, explore, and climax while maintaining eye contact with your partner.

Give shrink wrap hugs

Get into the tightest hug possible, wrapping yourselves around each other. Try to breathe in unison while feeling each others breath and heartbeat. Stay in the hug until you are both totally relaxed. No other expectation.

Share your dirty little secrets

If you have fantasies that you have never shared with your partner, ‘fess up. Sharing deeper levels of sexual desires can open up intimacy and trust to a deeper level of emotion. Push the envelope, let go and innovate!

Switch it up
Change one small thing each time to get out of the rut and keep sex interesting.  Be open to your partner’s new ideas and needs. Small solutions can snowball into big ones with little effort.

Props, please!
Using props can energize your midlife sensuality. Stop seeing sex as an obligation that is no fun. Approaching your intimacy with the addition of toys and erotic material can spice things up in a hurry.

Throw expectations out the window

It’s not about how long, how hot, or how crazy intercourse is any more. At midlife and beyond, don’t expect yourselves to perform as if you are 20. It’s okay to opt for falling asleep in each others arms instead.  It takes a strong sense of self to say: “Okay, maybe not tonight.”  Don’t feel guilty for not giving into oyster slurping and champagne.

I hear bunny slippers and leopard flannel are all the rage in aphrodisiacs.

Deb Castaldo is an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University School of Social Work and the author of Divorced, without Children: Solution Focused Therapy at Midlife.

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