There is an awful misconception that older women are not sexual beings and that they shy away from sexual activity. This myth is further perpetuated by common stereotypes of old age, such as fatigue, loss of a partner and loss of opportunity. However, as we get older, sexual freedom and expression become easier and more liberating.
A woman’s sexuality should not have an age limit. In fact, growing older should not be a factor in how a woman expresses her sexuality at all. Women are sexual because they want to be sexual, not because age dictates a certain stage of sexuality.
Challenges after 70
Of course as we grow older there are certain physiological changes which occur that we have little control over, and often these changes will impact our sexual health. After 70, our bodies often give us a bit of a hard time sexually. As women, we tend to experience a loss of desire and vaginal dryness, usually due to a drop in estrogen from menopause, or as a result from taking certain medication. This drop in natural estrogen can also lead to fatigue, slower sexual response time, and disturbed sleep – none of which are going to help your sex life. However, it is easier to face the physical challenges by using a water-based lubricant and by doing Kegel excercises; but coupled with the emotional challenges of losing a partner, or having less opportunity to have sex; the challenges we face from 70 upwards are rather daunting.
Some myths around older adults and sex suggests that firstly, older people do not have, or do not want to have sex, and secondly that older adults are not sexy or desirable. Not only is this far from the truth, but academics the world over have studied it and proved these myths wrong. Cornell University found that 65% of women over the age of 70 wanted to have sex, and that as we grow older, we actually embrace our bodies far more and feel far more confident in how we look naked. By the time we reach our 70s, the time of ‘lights-off’ sex is over. Furthermore, older age means that the years of awkward sexual experimentation and mistakes are behind you, and by this stage of life, a woman knows what she wants, how she wants it and how to get it. We become less interested in making sexual mistakes and more interested in the physical and emotional connection we can have with our partner.
Use it or lose it
By the age of 70, the kids should be out of the house. We should have little or no work stress, and the fact that we cannot fall pregnant is liberating for our sex lives. Take advantage of all these factors, as the saying goes “use it or lose it” becomes more pertinent with age. In our later years, it’s important to keep sexually active, whether with a partner or alone, as it improves our overall health and well-being. Having regular sex and orgasms helps to keep our vaginas healthy by increasing and stimulating blood flow and reducing vaginal thinning and dryness. As we grow older, more emphasis is placed on emotional well-being and the quality of our relationships, both of which can contribute positively to our overall health and our experience of aging. Passion and sexuality come from within, and we no longer struggle with ourselves as sexual beings finding our way in the dark, like we did in our 20’s.
After 70, sex should be embraced – something to enjoy and share with your partner, or even on your own. Keeping healthy sexually will improve your general health and well-being. However, always remember to play it safe if you’re with a new partner, as age does not exclude you from sexually transmitted infections. Welcome your age for the confidence and freedom it brings to your sex life, and appreciate all intimacy.
Written by Catriona Boffard