10 ways to upgrade your sex life

If your libido and life have changed, here’s how to level up – using Post-it notes, hugs, and a good old-fashioned chat.

Crack out the “like a fine wine” clichés: it’s time to talk about how you can have better sex as you get older.

There are times in everyone’s lives when you don’t want to think about sex: such as when you’ve been in a long relationship and it’s dropped off the to-do list; you’re in the middle of a painful divorce; or you’re grieving and can’t imagine being intimate again.

But whatever your situation is now, it doesn’t mean it’s always going to be like that. A recent survey published in The Lancet reported that 86% of men and 60% of women in England are still sexually active in their sixties, and that only drops to 59% of men and 34% of women in their seventies.

Happy couple hugging, which can help you have better sex over 50Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

How to improve your sex life

Whether you’d like more sex, better sex or just to feel a little more sensual, take a look at these tips from 62-year-old Suzanne Noble, who runs the Sex Advice for Seniors Substack and podcast. She tells Saga Exceptional:


1. Put aside time in your diary

Make time for each other

“If you’ve been in a super long relationship and never really talked about sex and don’t have it any more, it’s so hard to start speaking about it. There’s something to be said for diarising your sex life. So if you’re still having intimacy but don’t make time for it, then put it in the diary. I know it doesn’t sound very romantic, but say, for instance, Sunday afternoon is the time to be intimate – that doesn’t mean you have to have sex, you could take a bath together or give each other a massage.”

2. Don’t ask for sex – ask for intimacy

Go slowly

“Often if you’ve lost that intimacy, it’s good to take it slowly to find your way back. Start by giving your partner a hug that lasts a little longer than usual. It can be overwhelming to say: ‘Why aren’t we having sex any more?’ Instead, say: ‘I’d like to give you a hug when you come home.’ But if you feel like you’ve built up resentment around not having sex, then I’d suggest you talk to a professional who’s impartial.”

3. Write it down

Can’t find the words? Put it on paper instead

“Psychotherapist Esther Perel has some great activities you can do with your partner. One of her suggestions is to create a journal that says: ‘I turn myself on when…’ What gives you joy? That could be cooking dinner with friends, singing or holding hands on a walk. 

The other thing that’s really nice is to leave Post-it notes around for your partner to discover. Write something kind or something you like, for example: ‘I love it when you put your hands through my hair.’ Leave it on the pillow.”

4. You don’t have to have sex

There are other ways to be intimate

“I know so many women who aren’t interested in sex. It’s good to accept that if you don’t want to have sex in later life, that’s OK. There’s so much pressure to maintain desire and it’s absolutely fine if you don’t. You hear celebrities talking about it, but it can make people who aren’t sexual feel inadequate – and they’re not at all.”


5. Low libido? Take time for yourself

Self-care is important

“As an older woman, I know that if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you’re not with a partner, take time for self pleasure, starting with a hot bath and lighting candles. Listening to audio erotica or writing down your fantasies can ignite your imagination and help you engage.”

6. Don’t stick to a checklist

Embracing dating apps? Lower your expectations

“People our age are using dating apps, and they can be a great way to meet people. Don’t create unrealistic expectations or a huge list of tick boxes, but look at it as fun. Just set aside an hour and have a conversation – you don’t need to fall in love with that person or see them again. It’s perfectly fine to meet up with someone just to have fun. Providing you’re safe and sensible, you can meet some really nice people. If apps are not for you, real life events such as speed-dating, dance classes or other activities are a great way to meet new people too.”

7. Don’t expect to feel sexy all the time

Sometimes you just need a bit of help

“When I was in my fifties, my libido went off a cliff, and now in my sixties I find that desire follows arousal. I don’t walk around all day thinking about sex, but if I’m with someone and in an intimate place, I’m more likely to feel that desire. So recognise that your libido hasn’t gone away, it’s just not the same as it was. A long hug, a massage or kissing can reawaken what’s already there.”

8. Follow your desire

Leave old labels behind

Sexual identity is becoming increasingly fluid, meaning you don’t have to be confined by old labels if you don’t want to be.

Noble says: “If you find yourself attracted to a different gender to the one you’re used to, you might have been thinking about it for years, or it could be new to you.

“Take small steps – for example, if you find the idea of going to a gay bar too intimidating, you could try talking to someone of the same sex on an app. Start to tell your friends, to get yourself comfortable with your new identity. Once you express it to people you’re close to, you start to get used to it.”

9. Reframe what sex means to you

It’s not all about sex baby

“It’s not uncommon for men to experience a loss of their erection as they get older, especially  if they’re taking medication, but I do think we have to move away from thinking about sex as just penetrative. There are lots of other things you can do, from playing with toys to touching.”

Remember that not getting erections can be a sign of a bigger health problem, and that it’s often possible to change the medication you’re taking – so if this happens to you, make sure you speak to your GP about it. 

10. Adjust your energy

Think about your needs now

“If you have different energy levels or abilities to when you were in your twenties, you won’t be having sex the way you used to. Move your focus beyond getting an erection or how long you take to orgasm – instead, spend your time touching and experimenting, and make it last. Recognise the energy is different and work with that.”

Hannah Verdier

Written by Hannah Verdier


Hannah Verdier writes about fitness, health, relationships, podcasts, TV and the joy of reinventing yourself at 50 and beyond. She’s a graduate of teenage music bible Smash Hits and has a side hustle as a fitness trainer who shows people who hated PE at school how to love exercise.

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