Sex after 70: the mechanics

In healthy adults, the effects of ageing bring about some changes in the normal sexual responses. For example, there is a reduction in the sense of urgency for both sexual contact and for orgasm, so people are able to take longer over their sexual times, and choose them carefully.

Physically, in men the erections are likely to be less hard, and may fluctuate, so that the erection disappears, but can be recovered with time and direct stimulation. Ejaculation is reduced, and seeps rather than spurts.

In women little may change apart from an overall reduction in desire and possible reduction in lubrication. This is easily helped by a number of specifically designed lubricants available from high street stores. Orgasms in women tend to remain OK.

The reduced urgency for orgasm in both men and women allows partners to take time to appreciate the pleasures of arousal for longer periods. Taking time without the drive for orgasm allows appreciation of the physical sensations of arousal. This is important, because the bonding effects of the physical intimacy, whilst emphasised in orgasm, are flowing nicely during arousal, giving feelings of closeness, intimacy and relaxation, which I often call “Rosy Glow”

Many people in this age group realise they have the opportunity and the confidence to experiment with new sexual practises. “Fifty Shades of Grey”, depicting an abusive and rather odd heterosexual relationship, has introduced people to the possibilities of varying their practice, and given them some ideas to try out. If you feel like experimenting, now is the time.

Men and women in later life may prefer no sex at all. They may have physical disability or illness making it difficult, sex may never have been very satisfying and they are happy to give it up, why go on trying to do something that doesn’t work.? They prefer to stop it, and are happy that way.