Sex Over 50                                                                                                                                                                     Women are faced with transitions their entire lives. Be it childhood, adolescence, first sexual relationship, childbirth, menopause or the aging process. As women, we learn to grow from these changes and learn about ourselves in ways we possibly never expected to. Sex over 50 is no different. When we are able to see it as just one more opportunity for growth all is possible.

The Facts                                                                                                                                                                             Sexual desire diminishes post menopause; women produce less estrogen so the vagina becomes less elastic and lubricated. These are issues that can be easily addressed.    Having a sexual relationship keeps women (and men) feeling attractive, confident and connected to their partner and that can’t be a bad thing!

Decreased Desire                                                                                                                                                  Testosterone, which decreases after menopause, plays an important role in arousal in both men and women. It is normal for desire to decrease but it doesn’t go away completely. Addressing this through hormone therapy is one way but do consult your doctor to discuss the side effects verses the benefits.

Accepting and making your sexual relationship a priority will keep you and your partner close and connected. Like any change, accepting the loss of what was, creates endless possibilities for what can be. Talk about your sex life with your partner, but first, be clear about what your expectations are now and what you hope for going forward.

My experience when working with couples is that they rarely talk about sex with one another, especially when there are issues that arise. The beauty of getting older is that women often find their voice to say what they feel and are more confident to ask for what they want.

Try not to take yourself too seriously, have fun, be playful and surrender; this is an opportunity for something new and interesting to emerge.

Body Image                                                                                                                                                                        Let’s face it; we all look better than our mothers did when they were our age. We exercise, eat well and get the help we need to look better. Still, as our bodies age, our energy decreases and no matter how well we take care of ourselves, we do look older.

Just because we’ve reach a certain age doesn’t mean we should keep our sexuality and our bodies under wraps. Appreciating the experience, wisdom and love of life, that age brings, is something to embrace and bring into our relationships.

How to have better sex:                                                                                                                                                      Don’t let your body dictate your sex life. If your body isn’t producing the lubrication it once was there are other ways (for example, more foreplay) and products that can help stimulate your natural lubrication.

Moisturize yourself daily. Vaginal moisturizers help increase natural lubrication and elasticity. The more often you have sex that includes vaginal penetration; the easier it is for you to maintain lubrication and elasticity. Problem solved!

Being intimate doesn’t require us to be perfect, but it does help when we accept ourselves and appreciate how we look and feel now. Being present to ourselves in a loving and realistic way opens up more possibilities to let go sexually and stretch into a deeper and more sensual relationship. Being attractive and sexual doesn’t fade with age; it just changes.

Shirlee is an individual, couples and psychosexual psychotherapist in Notting Hill.