Between the sheets: what to expect as you grow older

As we grow older, our sex life cycles morph. The change might be gradual or sudden, but how much do you know about your cycle? Here’s what to expect at certain stages of your life. By EVE MOSONGO

Sexy 30s

Women: Unlike your 20s, you’ll have fewer partners: you’ll either be in a stable relationship, engaged or married. Also, unlike your 20s where you were experimenting and sucking face with just about anyone who looked your way, by now you know what you want in bed; what gets your motor going and what doesn’t.

Sex becomes more about quality and not quantity. For most women in their 30s, the end goal is getting pregnant. You learn to have sex even when you’re tired because you do not want that ovulation window not to pass you by.

Men: In your 30s, a few things happen;

1. You’re not as flexible as you used to be, so some gymnastic moves in the bedroom will have to go.

2. Most men will have a stable nine to five jobs which don’t require a lot of motion. Being immobile for long hours will reflect in your performance in the bedroom too, so hit the gym to keep up your stamina, which peaks at 31 or 32.

3. Your blood pressure and cholesterol counts rise as your body slows down the process of drawing oxygen from your blood. This means that you start losing some strength.

4.  In your thirties, you’ll notice that your penis isn’t as erect as it used to be, so you’ll require direct stimulation to get things going.

Exciting 40S

Women: You have the confidence to ask for what you want during sex at this stage -- no more waiting for your partner to pick up signals. This is the pre-menopausal period and most women would like to go out with a bang. Call it the last hurrah, even though menopause isn’t the evil doom that it was taken for back in the day.

A doctor might prescribe some measure of birth control to balance out your hormones and prevent unwanted pregnancies. By this stage, you’ve been there and done it, therefore, sex is as much about giving your partner as much pleasure as you’re also aiming to get. No more perfunctory sex.

Men:

1. Your testosterone levels decrease by one per cent for every year after you hit 40.

2. Your erection becomes less reliable.  You’ll require direct stimulation just to get an erection.

3.  With decreasing hormone levels, you’ll need to do a little more work to get into it, like increased sensual pleasure.

4. You’ll also notice that the angle of your erection might change.

5. Due to sexual confidence, you’re more open to try some kink. This is the time that you’ll probably have the best sex of your life. You’re more open to trying out role play with your partner.

6. Start paying attention to your heart’s health as it is the key to a thriving sex life. Keep up with your cardio and exercises that focus on strength training - you’ll have more fun in the sack. And looking better always boosts one’s confidence.

Enlightening 50s

Women: This is a time to nourish the female libido. It is the post-menopause stage so your hormones would have been yo-yoing for some time now.

1.  There’s a drop in female desire due to lack of vaginal lubrication. You’ll experience a decrease in testosterone levels and blood flow to your vaginal area.

2. There are those whose interest in sex will increase after menopause, due, in part, to a shift in the ratio of testosterone to estrogen and progesterone.

3.  You don’t lose your ability to orgasm as you age. In fact, many women find increased sexual pleasure after menopause, including more frequent or more intense orgasms. Tip: Masturbating will help keep your vaginal walls moist and boost your hormone levels. This in turn fuels your sex drive.

Men:

1. Physical and mental arousal becomes critical to getting an erection.

2. For some, ejaculating will take longer. Other men in their 50s realise that they don’t have to ejaculate every time they have intercourse. Sexual satisfaction depends more on the quality of the relationship that you have with your partner. Your erection may not be as firm as it was in your 20s and 30s, but this doesn’t mean that sex is no less pleasurable.

Tip 1: Sex is best had in the morning for both men and women as this is the time when you’ll be more energetic.

Tip 2:  Masturbation will help you maintain erectile response.

Lumbering 60s

Men: About 20 per cent of the male population in their 60s has tried erection medication. The drugs won’t do anything for your libido, but they’ll improve blood flow to your penis. At this stage, most men are with women around their age. The women have developed post-menopausal dryness. This coupled with vaginal tissue thinning, makes for uncomfortable intercourse for both partners. Hence, become creative and opt for other pleasures such as oral sex, genital hand massages, and toys. Your days of ‘quickies’ may be behind you at this stage. What came as easily as breathing may now require tact and more attention, but there’s nothing wrong with going slowly. Sex becomes more about the journey and not the destination.

Women: The key here is to have an open mind. And, adjust your expectations. “Toss out the old scripts about what sex includes, how it looks, how long it takes, or whether one or more partners experiences orgasm,” says American sexuality educator, Melanie Davis. Sex isn’t like a packet of milk that has an expiry date. Women continue to have sex well into their 80s. What matters most at this stage is who you’re with, not how young you are. When you were younger, intercouse might have been explosive, but at this stage, it is more like a slow burn. It’s not about how many positions you can twist yourself into, but about sexual pleasure and the connection you have with your partner. our nightly sweats and hot flashes are most likely over, which is a good thing. Take care of your body with good nutrition and exercise to lift your libido.

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