Enjoying sex after 50

Amanda Riley-Jones

Sex in later life can be a time of discovery and reinvention, bringing even more intimacy, sensuality and satisfaction than before. We meet four people whose sex lives began to thrive after their half century

It’s all changed since our parents’ time when people of our age were seen as past it and sexless. Today’s over-fifties are more youthful, open-minded and continuing to enjoy loving, fulfilling sex lives.

 

“I feel sexy in a way I never did in the past.” 63-year-old TV presenter Aggie MacKenzie is divorced and dating. The mother of two says she feels more liberated and experimental than ever.

 “I certainly feel more libidinous in my older age. I was brought up in the 1950s and 1960s in the north of Scotland, where sex was seen as an evil necessity in order to have babies. Perish the thought it was anything to do with pleasure or desire! But I think it's very healthy to have a good sexual appetite.

I was divorced eight years ago and not having sex had become my normal. By 2014, I hadn’t been in a relationship, or even kissed anyone, for ten years. I was a bit frightened of being exposed, being hurt—having to deal with a relationship, a man and sex. If you’re not doing it, you feel safe and comfortable.   

I feel guilty saying this, but after my mother died in 2012 I felt strangely liberated—as if I had come of age. I thought to myself, I can do whatever I like now. There was a man who I knew had fancied me for a long time. At first, I was seeing all the negatives, thinking, He’s too old, plus, there's that one over-long eyebrow hair—you know, all the little faults you look out for to stop you from baring yourself.

Then I thought to myself, Ags, for the love of God, just go for it. After a few glasses of champagne, I let my guard down, relaxed into it and became very turned on. It was as if a rocket had gone off in my head—and my nether regions!

Because I’ve been doing yoga for 12 years, I’m very flexible and and fit. Yoga relaxes you and brings you in touch with your body much more.  I have a lot of body strength which makes me feel very powerful and healthy. I feel sexy in a way I never did in the past.

"I was brought up in the 1950s in the north of Scotland, where sex was seen as an evil necessity in order to have babies—perish the thought it was anything to do with pleasure or desire!"

Now I’m in my sixties, I feel much more experimental and liberated. I’ve been out with quite a number of men and I have relationships for me. I’m not looking for husband material or even a long-term relationship. I’m economically independent and in charge of my life. This is my time and no one should judge me. That might be an aphrodisiac in itself.”

 

“I still have fantastic orgasms but in a different way.” Divorcee Sarah Morris, 68, thought her sex life was over—until she fell in love with Stephen a year and a half ago.

“I was divorced a long time ago and, apart from one fling, I’d gone 11 years without sex. My life was fun and I had male friends but I missed physical intimacy. It made me really unhappy to think that my sex life was over.

I met Stephen at the golf club and fancied him for a year before we got together. The first time he came over for dinner, we were kissing on the sofa and he said he had something to tell me. He explained that he had a colostomy bag and I just thought, I can cope with that. He said there was no reason we had to wait. How about now?

I felt a bit shy when I went upstairs to find he’d already whipped his clothes off and was in my bed! I’m 11.5 stone and trying to lose weight. I have varicose veins. But he said I was beautiful and made me feel good. He’s no Adonis but none of that matters. Age makes you more tolerant and less insecure.

I don’t want the head-banging-on-the-headboard, intense type of sex I had when I was younger. I can’t get into the positions I got into when I was that age and I now have a sensitive bladder!

I still have fantastic orgasms but they're different now. The style of sex I want now is much gentler and we use our hands more. I’d much rather have an erotic massage.

At this stage of life, you have to be understanding and have a sense of humour. Men sometimes have problems maintaining an erection and women often need lubrication. I use a hormone cream a couple of times a week.

I’m nothing like my mother when she was at 68. I look better now than she looked at 48. Our generation is much younger-thinking and acting. Stephen and I are always kissing and hold hands when we walk down the road. Now I have the missing part of my life back again, I am utterly happy.”

 

“Sex is more relaxed and intimate.” Sarah’s partner, divorcee Stephen Phelps, will be 70 on his next birthday. He’d been single for three years before they got together.

“I wasn’t particularly looking but I always felt it was a possibility that I’d have another physical relationship. And all I can say is that Sarah and I are having a wonderful time!

As you get to a certain age, there’s the feeling that you’re not going to have that many more relationships and you want to enjoy every day. Of course, you’re both nervous whether it’s going to work mechanically. Worrying and erection problems can be a vicious cycle. Men have Viagra now. I bought some but only used it once.

From the male point of view, you feel more manly if you get an erection. But, as you get older, it’s not going to happen 24/7. Sometimes you think you’re able to do a lot more than you are and erections are not reliable. And, of course, your energy levels are diminished too. But it doesn’t affect the pleasure that we’re able to give each other. We do other things and there’s more cuddling and fondling. It’s a broader definition of sex. You’re not going to bed to have sex, it’s more to be intimate.

When I was younger, I don’t think I ever asked my partner "Am I doing it right?" But it’s easier and less embarrassing when you’re older and really trust each other. The conversation removes any misunderstanding and results in 100 per cent better intimacy afterwards. Both men and women can be selfish when they’re younger. But now sex is more about caring for each other deeply and wanting to please your partner rather than just thinking about what you want.

Sex is more relaxed now too. When you’re younger, you feel under pressure to have sex within a certain time frame. For me, it was mainly Saturday and Sunday and even then there wasn’t always enough time to properly enjoy it. Sarah and I often say that we feel like we’re permanently on holiday! The best time is in the morning when you no longer have to get up and go to work.

Sarah and I sometimes spend the whole Sunday in bed with the papers and it’s rather wonderful to sneak off in the afternoon with some decent champagne. Having more time for each other feeds into the physical intimacy. I feel very lucky and happy that Sarah and I found each other.”

 

“Sex is better than ever—we know what we want.” 53-year-old Ann Kenwood has been married to Adam, 56, for 11 years. They have raised four children.

“I’m short and wear glasses and, when I was young, I never saw myself as attractive. I was too bothered about turning partners on visually and too insecure to enjoy my body. When I was in my thirties, I was trying to hang on to being young and worrying about my lines.

I was in my forties when Adam and I got together as a couple. We both have a high sex drive and the relationship was very physical from the start. When we had a house full of children, we resorted to going into the garage and doing it behind the car!

"Sex is less about putting myself on display and it's more about getting on with it—it's less visual now, and more physical"

Now I’m over 50, I’ve lost any self consciousness and think, I am what I am. Everything is sagging but sex with Adam is as good as ever. In fact, it’s better, more intimate. I know what I want and what he wants and we're able to talk about it.

Sex is less about putting myself on display and more about getting on with it. It’s less visual and more physical. I’m confident that my husband wants to have sex with me—despite my long scar and baggy stomach from having three children.

These days, there’s a lot of kissing and more foreplay, and less of the actual action. Your knees go and it doesn’t last as long! But there’s a real intimacy between us. I don’t look at him and think, You’re gorgeous. He’s nearly 60. He has bad teeth and he’s balding. It’s more about the mind connection between us and I’m turned on by what he can do physically for me. I still wake him up at two or three in the morning to have sex. We probably do it three or four times a week and every day when we’re on holiday.

Adam is quite energetic and physically fit and he’s a generally lovely person. We love each other and say that we love each other every day. I like the idea of growing old with him and sex is still the thing I most enjoy in life!”

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