Getting more active can boost your sex life – top insights from our expert team
Many over-50s are having the best sex of their lives, according to recent research.
Sexual wellness brand LELO surveyed 1,000 people aged 50 and older about their sex habits and discovered that 70% had noticed significant, positive changes in their sex life compared to when they were younger, with more than 16% saying their libido had increased in recent years.
Other evidence shows that a healthy sex life continues through the decades, with The Lancet reporting that, in a survey in England, 86% of men and 60% of women aged 60-69 said they were sexually active. This fell slightly to 59% of men and 34% of women aged 70-79 years, and to 31% of men and 14% of women aged 80 and above, while a Swedish study found that one in ten people there over 90 are still sexually active.
Although the desire may be there, it can be easy to slip into complacency if you have been with the same partner for many years. This is why author and sex therapist Dr Emily Morse reckons we should treat our sex lives like any other aspect of self-care and devote time to keeping it fresh.
In her book Smart Sex: How To Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure, Morse advocates a 10-minute check-in with your partner every month to talk through what’s working in the relationship and any issues that may need addressing.
Keeping the conversation positive
“Communication is lubrication, because next to actual lube, it’s the number one thing that is going to improve your sex life,” writes Morse. She says the focus should be on positivity and one of her tips is to “HALT” before launching into any intimate conversation – that is, avoid moments when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Morse has compiled a list of 10 questions that she says couples should be asking each other, including “What would you like to see more of in our sex life?” and “What is your favourite memory of sex we’ve had?”
Of course, there may be physical challenges to achieving a satisfying sex life – such as vaginal changes during menopause, erectile dysfunction or mobility issues – but talking these through is the first step towards finding solutions.
Miranda Christophers, sex and relationships expert for online menopause platform issviva, told Saga Exceptional: “I have found that year on year there is an increasing number of people in the 65-85+ age group accessing therapy to explore how they can maintain, reignite or start a new sexual relationship.
“Remaining sexually active is believed to have a number of health benefits. Sex activates chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) including dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin, which contribute to the pleasure and sense of wellbeing during and after sex,” she adds.
Throw out the rulebook
Taking part in regular exercise is known to boost sex drive, but it’s also important to remember that there’s no rulebook when it comes to intimacy. “I would encourage people to explore what is comfortable, pleasurable and enjoyable – this may be trying new things and enjoying intimacy in different ways,” says Christophers.
“Many people think sex lives will stop by your seventies due to changes in health, hormones and because they find it hard to imagine what that would look like,” she adds. “It may also be influenced by not hearing people talking about it. When we normalise things, our views and expectations change. If no one talks about sex in your eighties, why would anyone think that it happens?”
Health benefits of staying sexually active
1 Builds self-esteem.
2 Sex releases chemicals that boost the immune system.
3 Alleviates stress, both physiological and emotional.
4 Increases the sense of intimacy with your partner.
5 Promotes an overall sense of wellbeing.