“I can’t wait to have sex again!” I hear you say as our world starts to re-open after a year and a quarter of lockdown. From seniors, I sometimes hear, “Will I ever have sex again?” What you mean by “sex” is skin-to-skin sexual delights shared with another human being that you can touch, smell, watch, taste, and share orgasms.
But whether or not you’re on the cusp of locking lips and genitals with a partner, you can have sex right now with the person who knows you best and understands how to give you exactly the stimulation and pleasure you want: yourself.
Solo sex is real sex.
Obvious? Maybe not. Folks in our older age group often see masturbation as a gloomy, depressing substitute for partner sex, reminding us that we’re old and alone. Because we’re no longer driven by hormones and we don’t experience spontaneous desire as often as we used to, we may say to ourselves, “Eh, when I’m in the mood, I’ll do it, but right now I don’t really care.” (If this describes you, please read “If You Don’t Want Sex Anymore, Learn About Responsive Desire.”)
There’s a vital problem with letting sex fall away at our age.
Our responses become slower and less dependable as we age. Without a practice of regular sex— and by “sex” I mean whatever style of sexual expression brings you pleasure and orgasm — you’ll likely find arousal and orgasm more difficult over time. This is true whichever set of genitals you’re ignoring.
A special note for vagina owners who hope to enjoy penetrative sex with a partner in the future: it’s up to you to keep your vagina receptive with fingers, dildos, and inserted vibrators like KURVE. Otherwise, when you’re finally in bed with a partner, your vagina may refuse to invite your guest inside.
Think of it as a “practice” like yoga, studying a language, or tending a garden. Doing it regularly creates a habit, makes it work, and yields results. Plus, it’s so much fun!
If you’ve let yourself get out of the habit of self-pleasuring, here are some tips:
- Set aside a regular time once or twice a week (or more!) when you’re feeling relaxed and receptive to pleasure. Read “Track the Tingle” to find your personal “tingle time” when your body is the most responsive.
- Exercise for 20-30 minutes before your solo sex time. Exercise increases blood flow to your genitals as well as to your muscles, making sexual arousal easier and faster.
- Have your favorite sex toy(s) charged and within reach. The older we get, the more we need the extra stimulation, intensity, and pleasure that vibrators and other sex toys can give.
- Include lube. Especially at our age, a high-quality lubricant that keeps you moist and slick will increase comfort and intensify pleasure. If you’re using a silicone sex toy, be sure to use a water-based lubricant. Keep the lube handy for frequent re-application.
- Create a fantasy that excites you. Whether it’s an imagined scene, a memory of hot sex in your past, a celebrity crush (hello,Regé-Jean Page, Duke of Hastings in “Bridgerton”!), a sexy acquaintance whom you would or would not want to have sex with in reality, a porn scene, an erotica story… the possibilities are endless. Realize that your most powerful sex organ is your brain, and no one has to know what you’re thinking!
Orgasms are Good for You—No Partner Required.
A whole body of research shows that sex — with a partner or solo — enhances health. Here are just a few of the benefits of sexual activity and orgasm, as listed in my book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty: How to Maintain— or Regain! — a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life:
- Reduces stress
- Enhances mood
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps fight infection and disease
- Lowers diastolic blood pressure
- Keeps sex organs healthy
- Improves blood flow
- Helps with sleep
- Relieves headaches and other body aches
- Relieves depression
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- May reduce risk of prostate cancer
- Relieves chronic pain
- Increases blood flow to the brain, increasing mental acuity
- Makes your skin glow
- Relaxes you
- Makes you happier
- Feels really good
Reasons not to self-pleasure? Hmm… Can’t think of any.
Solo sex is a lovely gift you can give yourself whenever you want. Rather than seeing it as a poor substitute for partner sex, elevate it to a celebration of your body’s capacity of sexual delights. Give yourself this gift often, whenever you want.
Joan Price calls herself an advocate for ageless sexuality. She is the author of four books about sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and her latest: Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved. Her award-winning blog has been offering senior sex news, views, and sex toy reviews since 2005. At age 77, Joan continues to talk out loud about senior sex—partnered or solo. She is the co-creator of “jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Senior Sex.” Find Joan at https://joanprice.com.