As we age, our bodies undergo various changes that can impact our sexual health and experiences. Despite the importance of addressing these changes, many healthcare providers lack the training, time, or comfort level to discuss sexual function, erectile dysfunction, and maintaining a satisfying sexual relationship with their older patients. This leaves many mature couples without the guidance and support they need to navigate the challenges that come with aging and intimacy.

Here are three mature sex tips you can use today

When I began to train health professionals in human sexuality, there was little available to them. Few physicians or nurses had the training needed to be able to provide accurate, up-to-date information about sexual health, or the comfort level to do so with their patients.

Unfortunately, despite more than 30 years and an abundance of available training, few health care providers now have adequate “time” and “comfort” to discuss sexual function, erectile dysfunction, maintaining a sexual relationship or how to increase enjoyable sex or safe sex for older adults.

Unless you insist on having a candid talk with your physician about the sexual problems you are having, it is likely that you’ll never talk about your sexual concerns.

This is a big mistake for an older woman or man as they age.

I have no medical training. I’m a senior clinical psychologist. However, I do know that there are concrete, helpful medical interventions that make a huge difference in the lives of older couples. Medical and psychological help expands the choices of sexual activities for women who are post-menopausal and older men.

It’s even more important when issues such as heart disease, a recent heart attack or the side effects of vascular disease impact erection, sex drive, or blood flow that enables men to become firm or women to reach an orgasm.

Arthritis can make sex positions you once enjoyed now painful during senior sex. As we age, our healthy sex life has to change along with many other aspects of life.

It is also not helpful to give an erectile drug (like Viagra) to a man who has been inactive sexually for years and say “go to it!” Sex is quite a bit more than genital interaction.

However, the way your genitals change as a result of aging should be understood, and these changes taken into account when you are sexual.

Sex tips for mature sexual adults

Here are a few tips to consider:

Take more time

Allow yourselves more time to become aroused. Be patient and stick with it. Recognize that physical changes might be gradual. They may also have happened in a step-wise manner. Bigger changes may have shown up in what seems like a sudden way. Begin a conversation about what’s happening between you right now, not what should be happening based on past sexual behavior.

For example, as people age, they usually need more direct stimulation. Whereas once it took only a look, now you may need to be physically touched.

Accept no pain

Sometimes women don’t want to talk about the burning or stretching feelings that happen vaginally after menopause, so they try to “grin and bear it.” This is a mistake. This can result in tiny tearing of the vaginal walls. These tears can take a long time to heal.

There are now products on the market that can release tiny amounts of hormones directly into the vagina, and make a remarkable difference to older women in terms of vaginal lubrication, tissue flexibility, and clitoral sensitivity. They even help control other symptoms such as itching and urinary constancy.

However, as mentioned above, few physicians bring up the topic to their older female patients. And many older women assume that if their physician doesn’t mention it, it isn’t an appropriate product for them. This isn’t necessarily so.

Male erectile problems

It is unrealistic to expect that every sexual experience will go wonderfully, or that older men should be able to obtain and keep an erection each and every time they are sexual. However, it is not unrealistic to expect that MOST sexual situations will go PRETTY WELL, MOST OF THE TIME. In other words, if your erection wanes once in a while, or you lose your erection occasionally, this is not something to be concerned about. Like a trick knee or a tennis elbow, adjusting to growing old isn’t for the weak, and you have to allow for a certain amount of give-and-take.

However, you should seek out help if you find that out of 10 sexual experiences, 3-5 go poorly for you. Problems with erections can mean other serious health issues that should not be ignored, particularly vascular, neurological, or hormonal difficulties. Even stress, surgery, or medications can impact your erections. Or drinking alcohol or smoking.

Learn more about why you should bring these issues to your doctor. Then talk to your doctor.

Prepare to have a conversation about erectile problems by jotting down the following:

  1. A list of medications: Make a comprehensive list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as any supplements you are currently taking. Some medications can impact sexual function, desire, or performance.
  2. Medical history: Write down any relevant medical conditions, surgeries, or treatments you have undergone, as these can also affect sexual health.
  3. Symptoms or concerns: Jot down the specific symptoms or concerns you have regarding your sexual health, such as difficulty with arousal, pain during intercourse, or changes in libido.
  4. Timeline: Note when you first noticed these symptoms or changes in your sexual function, and whether they have been consistent or intermittent.
  5. Lifestyle factors: List any lifestyle habits that may impact your sexual health, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, exercise, and stress levels.
  6. Questions: Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask your doctor about your sexual health concerns, treatment options, and any recommendations they may have for improving your sexual well-being.

Then bring the list with you, and review it with your doctor, investigating all that can contribute to problems with your sexual concerns.

In conclusion, it’s essential for mature couples to prioritize their sexual health and seek help when needed. By taking more time, avoiding pain, and openly discussing any concerns with their healthcare provider, older adults can maintain a satisfying and fulfilling sex life well into their golden years. Remember, the average couple waits over six years before seeking help, so be proactive and protect this valuable part of your healthy marriage. If you have a clean bill of health but still desire a better sex life, consider reaching out to a trained sex therapist who can provide the support and guidance you need.

Got a clean bill of health but would still like a better sex life?

We’re trained sex therapists who can help

The average couple waits over 6 years before seeking help. Be proactive. Protect this valuable part of your healthy marriage.

Originally published August 13, 2013.