If you think sex is the province of the young, you’re wrong. People in their 20s are having less sex now than ever before, studies show, so it’s possible that you’re as active, or more so, as the average millennial. About a third of us are getting busy several times a week, one survey found.
And most of us are still in the game: 91 percent of men and 86 percent of women in their 50s report being sexually active, although activity levels vary widely. So, there’s no “normal” amount of sex for people our age. What matters more is that you and your partner are happy with your sex life. Men and women age differently, and some studies indicate that sexual interest wanes differently as well. Combine that with emotional and physical issues, and it’s possible that you and your partner aren’t on the same wavelength when it comes to making waves.
The upsides, however, go way beyond our cravings for intimacy, pleasure and connection. Sex boosts our immune systems, improves self-esteem, decreases depression and anxiety, relieves pain, encourages sleep, reduces stress and increases heart health. (In one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were 50 percent less likely to die of heart disease than their less active peers were.) Another bonus: You burn more calories making love than by watching The Great British Baking Show.
Not only is there a lot of science around the subject of later-life lovemaking; there’s also a range of products and medicines that can help. Take these steps to revitalize your sex life.
Women are twice as likely as men to lose their enthusiasm for sex in long-term relationships, research shows. The problem isn’t always reduced estrogen; it could be an absence of emotional closeness. In these cases, try listening more, praying more and showing more kindness. Individual, couples and/or sex therapy can help as well. Look for a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
It’s one of the top impediments to sex among older women: 34 percent of women ages 57 to 59 experience dryness and discomfort during intercourse, one study found. For help, try over-the-counter remedies before and during sex, such as water-based lubricants (KY Jelly and Astroglide), oil-based lubes (olive, coconut and baby oils) and OTC moisturizers (Replens and Revaree). Use these a few times a week, even if you’re not having sex.