When my husband and I married, we weren’t exactly twentysomethings abounding with energy. I was 33 and he was 37.
And we had an almost 5-year-old child from my first marriage.
Even so, we both had high drives and made the most of those drives. We had chosen to not have sex with each other before we were married, so by the time we did marry, we were ready, to say the least!
Over the past 17 years of marriage, our frequency has ebbed and flowed. I will say our quality of lovemaking, though, has definitely increased the more time and intentionality we have put into understanding each other’s bodies.
I often receive comments or questions from people in their 50s, 60s and 70s, wondering what to do to keep intimacy vibrant as they age. Sometimes, though, they are simply sharing their discouragement that sex at this stage in life doesn’t look like it did when they were younger. And still other times, the comments are ones of regret. Regret that they didn’t take advantage of more frequent and enjoyable sexual intimacy in their marriage when youth was on their side.
So what are realistic expectations for sex in marriage as you age?
I’m sure you know there’s no stock answer for a question like that. So many things impact the physicality of sex, including hormonal changes, flexibility, weight, general health, energy and so on. And, of course, there are the emotional and relational factors as well. Where are the two of you as husband and wife? What did sex look like in your marriage when you were younger?
Suffice to say, if there was sexual disconnect in your earlier years of marriage, the effects of aging may very well compound that disconnect, not lessen it.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, and that’s what I also want to highlight today. If there was mutual enjoyment and connection when the two of you were younger, then the odds are on your side that you won’t let the effects of aging completely quell that connection.
And I also hear from couples who have found sex later in their marriage actually got better. Some people find that once they are no longer drained by the labor-intensive parenting years or financial insecurity years or more immature years, they discover that sex is quite the haven in their relationship.
So reflect a bit on your marriage. If you are middle-aged or older, how can the two of you focus on making the most of your sexual intimacy, whatever that may look like?
Even when aging does start to narrow what you can actually do sexually from a physical standpoint, it doesn’t mean you can’t still nurture physical closeness and intimate oneness. You may have to get more creative. You may have to broaden what it means to enjoy each other sexually if a knee replacement or other age-related change no longer affords you some of the moves you used to love. You may have to look into hormonal supplements, sex toys, sensual massage techniques and so on.
I know there is probably no way Randy and I will ever have another year in our marriage where we have sex as much as we did our first year of marriage. (It’s a crazy high number, you guys, so I’m just being real here. I don’t think we’ll hit that frequency again).
But my deep desire is that we never lose intentionality to be naked with each other, and that we make touch, sexual closeness and oneness a priority no matter our ages.
Maybe a better headline for this post would have been Sex as Your Age: What are Realistic Expectations for Your Marriage?
How will the two of you navigate such a question?
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