Are we really having the “best sex of our lives?”

May 25, 2016

Taken in India by me.

I loved the guest post on orgasm that Walker Thornton did while I was away.  Her reminder that pleasure comes in many forms–not all of it orgasm-centered–is something we can all learn to appreciate, especially at midlife or older.  Senior sex is more mature sex, in every sense: from how we think about it to how we do it.

It’s more than intercourse, it’s intimacy.

Thinking about what Walker implied, which is that we are often exhorted to have bigger and better orgasms as the goal of sexual intimacy, I was reminded of this post of mine, which is actually one of my favorites.  I wrote it after I’d seen one too many articles telling me that seniors are — or SHOULD–be having the best sex of their lives at this age.

Seriously? I was sure those writers were smoking crack, and here’s what I wrote back then. I’d love to know what you think.  Here’s the old post…and then I hope you’ll return to say a few words.


Telling the truth about senior sex

25 comments on “Are we really having the “best sex of our lives?”
  1. Carol,
    Thank you for the mention–I had such a wonderful response from my guest post. I read your article–having read it when it originally posted.
    Here’s my personal story–I am having some of the best sex I’ve ever had–which is mostly a reflection of my previous sex and my understanding/approach. I didn’t know how to talk about what I wanted or needed back in the day—of course I got married at age 22, so I had little time to play around.But the sex I had pre-marriage (and to a degree in my marriage) was driven by my male partner’s needs.
    What I have now is super communication, an appreciation of each other’s bodies, and a desire to please and play and touch that far surpasses the hard throbbing male-driven sex I had years ago. So, I think it really is all about our experiences, then and now. And, I agree that, in an attempt to push back the ageist notion of sexless seniors, we might be going too far. There are plenty of women and men who find sex unsatisfying, or downright painful–Intercourse-based sex.
    Thank you for keeping this important conversation going.

    • Thanks, Walker. I think it’s important to point out that for many women who were more in touch with their sexuality earlier, younger, senior is not necessarily “the best sex of our lives.” That’s not to say it can’t be good, just that for many of us who were having great sex younger, it looks different.Here’s what I see: Setting the expectation that because we are more mature it’s better, I think, doesn’t resonate for many women. Or men, for that matter.

  2. Joan Stommen says:

    I agree it may not be the best…But certainly great! Frequency and adventurous and friendship matters!
    While I don’t often respond publicly, I loved discussing with Walker over drinks in Vegas!
    Thanks for saying it here, Carol!

  3. Leanne says:

    I love how balanced your post is Carol – I get really tired of having sex sold as the “best” all the time – I think being with the same person for 30+ years means there are layers upon layers to the relationship and sex is only one of those layers. The novelty and the spontaneity have worn off a bit but it’s not a contest, it’s a journey together and I love that 🙂

  4. So here’s the thing, sex is different all the time throughout your life. Sex as a teenager is not sex in your 20’s or 30’s. Sex as a married person is not even the same as sex as a married person with children. So what I love about this article, Carol is that ugh….why oh why at our age are we STILL worrying so much about the quality and quantity of our sex life? If you’re lucky, I suppose you have come to a place with your partner where honesty is finally the best policy and THAT may be the definition of THE! BEST! LIFE! EVER!

  5. Barbara says:

    I love what Cathy said! Being married 46 years means, to me, it’s been an up and down cycle from decade to decade. It’s not a contest. I know many people who had less than great sex lives in their 30’s and maybe now are enjoying it more. We need to drop the subject and stop the freaking viagra commercials with some hotty lying on a bed. Like that happens. duh! I think those commercials are psychologically dangerous and contribute to less spontaneity and more feelings of being less than.
    Great post!

  6. Beth Havey says:

    Carol, you made my day. Your sharing is comforting and SO honest. I read every word. Sex now is about intimacy, and as you write about planning. It’s about enduring love in a relationship that is still enduring. So appreciated.

  7. The little blue pills stopped working so I wouldn’t know. I had the best sex in my 40’s with the guy I’m with now, but he pooped out.

  8. Cori says:

    Apparently once you’re considered “old,” you’re not supposed to have sex anymore. PLEASE! I’m in Florida and one of the biggest areas of STDs in the country is The Villages, which is a senior living area! Don’t tell me, old people don’t have sex.

  9. Tish Grier says:

    Sex for me has been different at different times in my life for different reasons. Likewise the goodness or greatness of it has depended on how close (or not so close) my relationship was to my partner. And if I found him visually pleasing (yes, women *are* visual.) That whole “you *should* be having the greatest sex of your life!” nonsense is, however, panders to that part of us that still thinks like a competitive young person–that sex is a contest and we are in it to win it. Nope. Sex might be a contest when we’re young, but, for me, sex isn’t a contest now. Whether I have it or not doesn’t depend on magazines or pundit proclamations. It depends on me, my needs and moods, and my partner. For me, it always has. I’ve never been one to give in to a guy because *he* wanted it and I didn’t. Men rarely do it for women if they don’t want to, so why should we? I’ve welcomed the slowing down of the hormonal storm that came with monthly periods, that often drove me to distraction when it came to wanting sex. Now, yeah, I can take it or leave it, and so can my body. I like the calmer mind and slow boil of leisurely sex when both of us are into it. There’s no time table, no x Times a week that we have to measure the success and happiness of our marriage. It just is. No pressure. If you’re older and putting pressure on your relationship, maybe there’s more wrong with it than sex (or more *right* with it and you don’t want to admit it.)

  10. Carolann says:

    It’s all so true. Sex does hold a different meaning for us at this stage of the game and I’m even happier now than ever before with it. It’s a topic you don’t get to often read about so thanks much for this Carol. We shouldn’t be uncomfortable talking about and this conversation really helps folks understand that it’s ok to talk about!

  11. Having been with my husband more than 35 years, we’ve experienced great, good, not so good, and non-existent — throughout the years. These years the best? Not so sure about that. But whether wild romps or merely quiet moments of just skin-on-skin-I-know-as-well-as-I-do-my-own, I’m thankful it’s still with him and still happening, grateful for the intimacy.

  12. Bren Pace says:

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for writing about this. I’ve been saying for a few years now that there is more to sex than just “sex”. Intimacy is more important to me as it can come in many shapes and forms. Thanks again!

  13. This post is so on point. Sex was a lot better when it didn’t take so much to “get going” as they say.

  14. Tamuria says:

    It’s refreshing to read a truthful account of what sex is like as we age.I agree that the spontaneity that youth affords us provides a sexier environment. Personally, I spent a lot of my youth timid and stressed due to some nasty childhood experiences and find that now, with the partner I’ve been with more than 30 years, I feel safer and more open to freely enjoying myself.

  15. Because my breast cancer was estrogen positive–estrogen will feed any stray cells wandering around–I’ve had a total hysterectomy and can’t take any topical estrogen. That makes for painful sex. I know I’m not the only one, but appreciate your post! Brenda

  16. sue says:

    I totally agree Carol. Fortunately, I don’t have any complaints however it certainly isn’t the passion fuelled on the kitchen table upside down in positions impossible to achieve. I wonder who actually writes that sex for seniors is the ‘best ever’. I think it is wonderful to still share intimacy as we get older but I also love that we don’t have to compete or pretend. If we don’t feel like it – we say so!

  17. I think it’s great to have the conversations about sex, and I can tell you that midlife sex after 35 years of marriage is not the best sex of my life. Still good, yes, but I do miss that passion of our earlier years.

  18. As a single guy, I can vouch that not all of us are… 🙂

  19. Paola says:

    I am a way away from that age group, so I can’t really opinionate there, but I can totally see it and understand it. It is not logical to say that the best sex is at that age as you listed out.

  20. Liz Jo says:

    Thanks for linking up with Welcome Home Wednesdays! Live every Wednesday at 7AM EST.

    liz @ j for joiner

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