Sexual Intercourse After 40
There are plenty of common misconceptions and myths that surface when we think of sex mid-life and beyond. Sure, our bodies aren’t as spry or agile as they used to be, but sex doesn’t and shouldn’t need to have an expiration date.
According to “You” magazine’s 2018 Sex Survey, a clear majority of women in their 40s and 50s are happier with their sex lives now than they were in their 20s.
Sexual difficulties in middle age are just as natural to the aging process as a change in hearing, vision, or physical strength. While it’s important to understand why most men and women over 40 experience some form of sexual difficulty, it’s more important to understand that sexual difficulties in middle age (and beyond) can be managed.
In order to maintain a healthy and happy sex life, it’s important to be aware of the changes your body goes through in order to make some simple adjustments and stay ahead of the game. Here are some not-so-obvious ways sex might change after 40.
Women After 40
Whether you’re currently undergoing or struggling through perimenopause/menopause, you’re likely to experience dryness down there. This is a result of dropping hormone levels, namely estrogen, that previously kept the vaginal tissue lubricated. The decline may also cause thinning of the vaginal walls, making them more susceptible to inflammation or tearing. Fortunately, lubricants are a quick an easy solution and will alleviate discomfort during intercourse.
The researchers surveyed a group of women between ages 40 and 100, with a median age of 67. Half of the responders said they were sexually active, and most of those women said they were able to become aroused, maintain lubrication and achieve orgasm during sex, even after the age of 80.
Drop or spike in libido
While it may seem like vaginal dryness may inhibit some womens desire to engage in sex, a lot of women actually experience a higher sex drive during this time. “Sometimes in that perimenopausal time when you’re approaching menopause but you haven’t lost your period for a full year (and this can sometimes take upwards of 10 years) women will have a high testosterone level, which translates into a high libido,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.
Place a higher value on sex
yes, intercourse might be great (possibly even better than your younger years), but now that you’ve passed the mark of figuring out what you physically want (and hopefully, what your partner wants), sex will be more emotionally fulfilling now that it’s driven less by hormonal urges and more about the desire to share yourself with the person you love.
A feeling more inclined to experiment
Already knowing the ropes, and doing the same things for 20 plus years sex may have felt boring. As a result, she may notice a heightened interest in trying new things.
“Couples in their 40s are having some of the best sex of their lives—they have more permission and motivation to explore different aspects of sexuality,”
“Couples are more open to exploring at this age due to sexual confidence, a stronger sense of sexual self, desire to make sex more playful, or feeling deeper emotional bonding for more meaningful and passionate sex.”
It is natural for there to be less blood flow to the vagina and clitoris, reducing sensitivity. The physical evidence of progress or arousal is still available; however, it requires much more attention and education to achieve.
Menopause causes a vaginal canal’s shortening/tightening which can create pain during sexual activity.
An older woman appearance will change with the arrival of wrinkles or gray hair, making her feel less attractive as she ages. This can impact her sexual desire. In addition, physical changes will occur. As women age, hormones decrease, causing the vaginal wall to become thinner, drier, and more irritated. This can make sex unpleasantly painful. Friction from intercourse may cause micro-tears in the vaginal wall, which can cause pain and bleeding.
Some sexual changes that come with aging can be positive for women. Older women have often learned what excites them, and may be more inclined to share that with their partners than a woman who is younger and less experienced. For an older woman, her sexual experiences can also transform into body confidence and sexual prowess. In addition, the worry of an unwanted pregnancy disappears after menopause or following a hysterectomy. In this way, many older women enjoy sex more freely.
Men After 40
This includes premature ejaculation (the inability to delay ejaculation until it is mutually desirable by both partners), inhibited or delayed ejaculation (ejaculation that is slow to occur, or doesn’t happen at all) and retrograde ejaculation (ejaculate is forced back into the bladder rather than through the urethra and out the end of the penis at orgasm).
While medications can play a role in ejaculation problems, both premature and inhibited ejaculation may have a psychological cause, like anxiety about sex or sexual performance, or sexual trauma. A qualified therapist or counselor may be helpful in resolving the issue, if this is case.
Loss of Libidio
A loss of libido, also called inhibited desire, is a decrease in desire for, or interest in, sexual activity. This can affect both men and women, and for some of the same reasons—stress, depression, side effects of medication, or relationship problems. But loss of desire for sex in men can also be the result of a decrease in testosterone levels, which is natural as men age.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. While more common as men get older, ED is a medical condition that can affect men of any age. ED happens when there is not enough blood flows to the penis, preventing an erection. Causes are largely physical, but there can be psychological and lifestyle causes as well.
Check out the video on myths and facts about ED below.
Along with sex benefits, older men may find aspects of sexuality more challenging than they used to. It may take longer to get an erection, and erections may not be as large or firm as they used to be. Men may need more foreplay for an erection to occur. They may produce less semen. After ejaculation, loss of erection may happen more rapidly, or it can take longer to get another erection..
Age comes with experience, and an experienced older man is often more attuned to the importance of foreplay in turning on their partners. Older men are more likely to know that slowing down and paying attention to a partner’s pleasure is a crucial part of good sex. Older men may also last longer and take longer to orgasm as an adjustment to their bodies’ slower arousal period.