I started this work, exploring the Private Parts of Wellness, for purely selfish reasons; I’m getting older and I don’t like it. The wisdom stuff that comes with age is just fine, and the surprising calm that can come over me is great. Appreciating those days that I don’t have a migraine is lovely but my changing body, getting softer, sagging and wrinkling is not ok and the thought of losing my sex drive is absolutely not even entertainable. I know some of you might be hoping that I would embrace menopause (which is years away, by the way, and thank you) as I have a love of gauze summer dresses and part of me wishes I could grow my own vegetables, but no, I’m not ready to embrace it. Yet, it is inevitable and part of my research is to prepare me for this next stage.
Let me also say that I believe that North America’s general ageism and negative portrayals of “old age” play a large part in our fight against the perception of dried vaginas and shriveled dicks.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how our relationship to our sexual body changes as we age...with grace.
"You know what your 20s are for? Having sex with all of the wrong people."
This is what Bette Midler told her engaged 20-something daughter in a pretty shitty movie, That Old Feeling. This was one of the only memorable quotes, why? Because it’s true. What a great time to have all this sex. For my Generation X, in our twenties, we didn’t have the term “slut-shaming,” it was just assumed that some of us were sluts and some were not. Those that displayed their sexuality in any way were simply sluts. We were learning to be open about our menstruation and about making out with girls and boys, although girls didn’t buy condoms then, mostly boys did that in those days. We were having sex, and lots of it, mainly with the wrong people or the right person for right then.
Generally-speaking, things haven’t changed, your twenties are still for exploring. Generation Z has the advantage of playing with gender, understanding consent and reclaiming the term “slut.” But biologically and psychologically, there has been little evolution. In our twenties, for many of us, sexual expression is a recreational urge. A buzz only killed by the thought of pregnancy, however there are those times that smaller heads prevail and we must thank the pharmaceutical demigods for Plan B or even better, Ella, (may be more effective than Plan B) for setting us straight.
In our twenties, most of us don’t have the luxury of living alone, therefore we need to hump anywhere there is enough space to prop up against a wall, or curl up in some corner. You go at it and hope not to be caught, but continue even if you are, unless it’s by your parents, because that really kills it. Your hyper sex drive in your 20s might be matched only by your self-doubt. You are concerned about looking cute, how your stomach and boobs look, and doing tricks, those that you read on blogs like this. You’ve got the organic high-octane vag lube or a tool that’s made of Adamantium (for a Wolverine-strength hard-on) but none of it’s of any use if you carry that common and yet very false belief that you’re not sexy enough, not strong enough, not beautiful enough or that the Valencia Insta filter doesn’t quite have you on fleek. You may compare yourself to others, counting lovers and catching feelings and still feel unsatisfied. This is the joyride of your 20s. But don’t despair, in our 20s, for many female-bodied women, the true release usually happens alone even though that male body is giving you the best 5.4 minutes he’s got, if you are lucky. However, you’re both young so you’ll be ready to pound it again in a few. And orgasms aren’t the measure for success as much in your 20s as they will be in subsequent decades.
Of course, the 20s aren’t only about casual sex, some do find true love and commitment at a young age. And there is actually new research on the positive nature of adolescent sex (older teen-25), not from the cum aspects or teen pregnancy etc. but in terms of what can be gained through a romantic connection at that age.
So my adolescent friends, anyone under the age of 26, hook-ups are fun and enjoy the carefree time to have sex whenever and with whomever you want, but be thoughtful with your private parts, bump them with those that are worthy and don’t get caught up with those that are not. Play safe and with consent.
Pat (my mom) says, “When you are in your 30s, life gets good.”
Well turns out, my mother was right, my 30s were much better than my 20s. In fact, I was such a mess in my 20s that I couldn’t wait to hit 30 and when I did, 9-11 happened so it was a very strange time. I moved to a small town in MA, lived in a saw mill, taught yoga and made a baby. Your thirties can be about planting roots and really understanding who you are. But for many of us, it’s just adolescence 2.0, we are playing an “adult” and not doing the best job of it.
Wedding season has begun and it can suck for those who wish they were going in debt for a love parade. Your 30s is a time of a lot of pressure of expectations and “shoulds.” It’s also a time of much growth and potential accomplishments. Sex in your 30s also has its ups and downs. It’s up because you begin to know what you like, down because you may not be able to express it. There is also the interference of the those other aforementioned pressures and expectations of life, career, family and relationships. Do you want a family? Do you want to get married? Do you even want a relationship? This is the decade that most of us make these choices.
But what if you are single, not by choice but by circumstance? Looking for a partner can suck. Online dating is now the main source of action. It is the assumed way that people connect today. The trap is that you can fall victim to your own “bad-picking” habits or your “over-pickiness.” For example, “I only like a man with a love for pigs and panties” or “I want a woman that can bench press me at least 5x.” For many, online dating can mean serial dating, without any commitment. I think that’s because many of us have a false sense of self and it’s too easy to swipe left and pick again. My suggestion is to ask someone to edit your profile to make sure your message is coming across, then let your bestfriend swipe for you. And if it works, invite me to the wedding, but know I probably won’t be able to come, even though I will be very happy for you.
By the time you are in your 30s, hopefully, you have your own place but now might be sharing it with children. Children that don’t sleep, don’t let you poop and ask a lot of questions. Someone once told me about waking up as a child to his mother’s loud moaning, in fact he thought she must be in pain. Being the dutiful son, he knocked on the door and asked if his mother was ok. She responded by saying, “your father and I are making love, and it feels REALLY good.” He went back to bed. That’s the 30s, “it feels REALLY good.”
But with careers and children and responsibilities and a never-ending to-do list, sex can stop feeling like recreation and start to feel like an obligation, “it’s been a month, we really should have sex, but you annoy the hell out of me.” Raising children and trying to keep it all together can be exhausting. That person you chose to share a bed with, until whenever, shits and forgets to use the Poo Pourri, leaves dishes in the sink and in general, takes you for granted. You thought they were cute, but they’ve started to let themselves go, caring more about the day-to-day than personal maintenance. So sex is compulsory and not that raw, NYC-stairwell-before-the-security-cameras-have-been installed-SEX. This is where I want to suggest my ten-day rule: Never go more than 10 days without having sex...with the partner in your home. Why you ask, because by day 11 you start to niggle and by day 15, your partner is a complete nuisance. One couple I know used to have sex every Tuesday, this may work for you as well. I find that a bit rigid and I’m not that organized. However, if for some reason we go 10 days or get close to it, an alarm goes off, my partner’s eyes don’t look as green and his snoring is less endearing, and I know it’s time to take the reins and make the magic. FYI, my mother also has a co-habitation tip, “never buy a king size bed, it separates you, plus the sheets are too expensive.”
Pat says, “The 40s are HOT."
Yaaassssss! Did you dump that partner that was keeping you down? Are the kids old enough to wipe their own asses? Take a breath because you may find there’s more time for sex now. In fact, one reader shared how he recently rediscovered his sexual drive, “my sex drive is back to where it was when I was in my 20s” (Sam, 44). This is not the first time I have heard of this. So what’s happening? Well, your 40s hopefully, have given you the time to know what you want and what you are willing to give. Your partner, also hopefully, has the same level of understanding and therefore may be a more present lover. While you may be as horny as a 20-year-old, the added benefit is that age has slowed you down a bit and voila, sex is now lasting 7 minutes and that’s not including the foreplay.
If you have an ongoing partner or partners, foreplay should begin right after you orgasm (this was not my original idea but I have adopted it because it’s true). Foreplay is not a solitary act that happens with the hopes of getting off, it is about the ongoing daily connection. Sexy texts, ass-grabbing that happens in the kitchen, secret messages that you utter in front of the kids, that's the foreplay that should begin from the moment you cum until the next time you find time to knock boots again.
Your 40s are the time for extended foreplay with your partners and with yourself. You maybe start to wear lingerie not to turn your partner on but because it turns you on. You start to get brazilian waxes, not because you want to look like a star on Pornhub but because you have grey pubes. And actually, you may find that you are suddenly interested in porn, but not in those pizza boy delivery films but in the new porn with actors like India Summer, who stars in the film Marriage 2.0 and 5-time winner of MILF of the year award.
50 is the 2nd Most-Searched-For Age in Web Porn
Speaking of porn, check out the Make Love Not Porn site by a MILF who knows what she likes. Porn popularity sometimes goes in waves, in the recent years, there has been the much publicized Dad-Bod, and as of late, Fidget Spinner porn, which we all hope will pass, but the MILF is here to stay.
Sex with “mature” women is hot and turns people on. But the sexual body changes at 50. For women, there is menopause. Your baby-making days are most likely over, and the joys of menstruation sex with its stronger orgasms, have come to a close. You may be experiencing vaginal dryness and weight change. But 50 is a “fuck it” age. Inhibitions are cast to the wayside, and it's a time to focus on what makes you feel good. If not now, then when? Go for yours. Buy those $70 panties you’ve always wanted and know that many women have stronger orgasms after menopause. One can only guess why, perhaps it’s the freedom of not worrying about getting knocked up. For men, starting at around 40, your woody may be more of a balsa instead of a mahogany. However for the heterosexual couple, this may be a great thing, a softer erection with less lube equals longer lovemaking. Lube can always be added, if needed or desired, but stay away from anything with flavor or tingling.
Putting my nurse hat on for a moment, if you are in a new relationship, please get tested and practice safer sex because close to 44% of new HIV diagnoses are for people 50-54. So definitely get yours, but use condoms while you do.
Cher was not so psyched about 60, Pat wasn’t either.
60, the adolescence of old age. Think Susan Sarandon and her ping pong buddy or Jeff Goldblum and his new baby or the countless other 60-something men and their young tricks. The Donald. Try as they might, sex isn't the same, good sex is redefined in your 60s. And what is good sex? Is it the Anvil Position (check out my first pregnancy series post from last week) or multiple orgasms through tantric sex? Neither. Good sex has to do with using the largest sex organ, the brain. Being thoughtful, present and creating connection. Orgasm is great, but at 60 and beyond, orgasm might, once again, not be the best benchmark for the benefits of sex. Maybe you’re thinking, “there’s the little blue pill because you’ve already told me my dick won’t work.” Yes, but the thing is that pill and those like it aren’t Jack’s Magic Beans, and in order to make them work you have to, in the words of Missy Elliot:
Is it worth it? Let me work it
I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it
Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup I
Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup I
If you got a big [elephant trumpet], let me search you
And find out how hard I gotta work you
Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup I
Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup I
FOREPLAY, my friends. You’ve got to get the feelings going to get the blood flowing. It's the connection that makes everything fit together. In fact, the act of foreplay can get the mind in the mood and the body will follow regardless of the equipment you are working with. In addition to pharmaceuticals, toys are another way to expand your sexual script. If you haven't yet discovered in the decades past, most bodies like vibration, so get a vibrating cock ring to keep the blood in the head or something for clitoral stimulation if you are too tired to go down. Play with each other and see where you go.
70 and beyond - “We will get older, but as long as we’re not dead, let’s do it.”
26% of people over the age of 74 are having sex at least 2 times a month. That might be more sex than you had in your thirties. And yet, around that same percentage is the amount of seniors who are asked by their healthcare professionals if they are sexual at all. (A reminder to healthcare professionals to not prejudge or assume anything about a patient’s sex life based on their age).
As we age, our bodies start to slow down. Some partners may be too sick to screw and others may have passed. Desire changes, but it doesn’t necessarily disappear. In fact, there was a study done that found that a person’s sexual life in their 40s and 50s predicted sexual activity as an elder (Knowlton). Sex is an essential part of who we are. Those that remain sexual into their later lives might find that their sexual dos and don’ts expand. People might be more open to experiment and explore as sex becomes a life-affirming activity. And if you have been hoping to be the ultimate cougar, let your inner Maude shine. Wanna be a GILF Superstar, then star in “Geri Tails Gets it From Behind.” Do you!
Sexual expression is not only a biological and psychological need, but a right. So if you’re thinking of sending MeeMaw and PeePaw to a retirement community, please make sure it’s one that acknowledges that right.
The Hebrew Home in Riverdale has a Sexual Expression Policy which includes:
1. Residents have the right to seek out and engage in sexual expression as defined above.
2. Sexual expression may be between or among residents, and may include visitors subject to the conditions expressed in Preamble A. Sexual expression between a resident and visitor, which is arranged by a resident and/or family, is further subject to the stipulation that it is a legal arrangement; and there is no solicitation of other residents.
3. Residents have the right to access and/or obtain, for private use, materials with legal but sexually explicit content: books, magazines, film, video, audio, pictures, or drawings.
4. To the extent possible, residents have the right of access to facilities, most notably private space, in support of sexual expression.
5. Residents have the right of access to professional counseling pertaining to sexual expression of self or others.
Although aging at times requires assistance, don’t disrespect these fully-formed adults who have lived and lived well. They created the sexual revolution, coined the phrase “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll,” it’s a “been there, done that” situation. One day, Madonna will be 70 and she may still feel “like a virgin” and society will hopefully support that.
For me, I plan to be at the Tricentennial with my nipple tassles on, holding the hand of my partner (who happens to be younger than me, thanks to my foresight). We will start each day with prunes and a slap on the ass. If he needs help with his Depends, I am a nurse so we will make it work, but the sponge bath will be a couples’ massage by some young nubile person, perhaps in their 50s.
The alternative to aging is not something I am interested in, so I will continue to try and keep it together and keep it hot. Keep connecting, keep growing and keep it juicy.
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