It’s a common thought that, once you pass a certain age, your sex life falls off a cliff. And while, from a biological standpoint, that’s true—there’s nothing you can do about depleting hormone levels, after all—know that things don’t have to be that way. If you’re willing to put in some work, it’s easy to have the best sex of your life well into middle age.
Unlike the innocence of youth, sex after 50 oftentimes requires vigilance, an open mind, and, in some situations, even a touch of on-paper strategizing. But have no fear: we’ve rounded up the best, expert-backed tricks to ensure your sex life never experiences a dull moment—even if you’ve passed that 50-year mark. (And as an assurance: You’ll find zero recommendations for little blue pills here.)
1. Set aside time for sex.
As you grow older, your list of responsibilities tends to expand. With so many things to do all the time, intimacy can often get left on the back burner. But just like any muscle, our sexuality needs regular exercise to stay fit. So step back from the daily rigors of life and plan some time for it. Intimacy shouldn’t be a distraction from a healthy lifestyle, but rather an integral part of it.
2. Exercise regularly.
Sex is a physical activity, to put it lightly. Just like any other activity, that means it’s easier when you’re in shape. Whether it’s increased sensitivity to pleasure, reduced pain, or extended longevity, staying in shape is a vital part of a healthy sex life. In addition, the corresponding changes to your body are likely to increase your estimation of your own sex appeal. And when you feel sexy, you are sexy.
3. Try new things.
“‘Predictable,’” says celebrity sex therapist and author Marisa Peer, “is the number one killer of sex drive.” To re-energize your libido, try experimenting with the things you never did when you were younger. If one doesn’t feel right, you can always move on—the trust between you and your partner is already there. And don’t overthink it: switching it up can be as simple as trying “new places at different times with different positions.”
4. Give each other massages.
As you get older, your body can take a little bit longer to warm up to the kind of sensations that once came to it naturally. That’s why foreplay is so important for older couples. One great way to get you both turned on is a massage. Don’t be afraid to dress the whole thing up a bit: candles, ambient music, oils. Even if the liaison doesn’t progress any further, you’ll feel relaxed and closer to each other than before.
5. Take baths together.
Relaxation is key to a pleasurable sexual experience, but for many older individuals that can be hard to achieve. One easy way to find peace of mind is a warm bath—bubbles optional. Whether solo or in a pair, feeling your muscles loosen under the water’s touch is bound to get you in the mood. For a couple, it’s also a great excuse to get you both in your birthday suits. Barring an enormous tub, you’re also sure to be all over one another.
6. Try more comfortable positions.
As you get older, your body begins experiencing aches and pains in places you never thought possible. One side effect may be that sexual positions you once enjoyed now become uncomfortable to perform. Make sure to tailor your own sex positions to be pain-free, allowing you and yousr partner to focus on pleasure only. Having sex side-by-side rather than missionary, for example, is encouraged for individuals with back pain. If you need ideas, start by checking out the Sex Positions: 60 Best Moves to Enhance Your Love Life.
7. Walk every day.
Even if exercise isn’t your thing, or you aren’t particularly concerned about your waistline, walking daily can help reduce your risk of impotence, as well as give you more energy for the bedroom. According to a study by Boston University’s Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a brisk two-mile walk can increase penile blood flow, reducing the risk of ED.
(We should note, however, that biking may not provide the same benefit, as bike seats have been linked to constricted blood flow.)
8. Stay socially active.
Just because you’re over fifty doesn’t mean you have to have a committed sexual partner; sometimes it’s time to play field. And even if you’re in a relationship now, that doesn’t mean you always will be down the line. In order to be in a place to meet new partners, however, it helps to remain socially active. Dinner parties, outings, and other group events are a perfect place to meet someone new, or maybe look at someone old in a whole new light. So stay connected with friends and organizations—you never know where a chance encounter might lead.
9. Make a schedule.
Though a daily planner doesn’t exactly scream sex, there’s no shame in scheduling your intimacy with your partner beforehand. If nothing else, it’s a great way to make sure you both set aside time to make it happen. In addition, a heads up will ensure that any necessary medications are taken beforehand, rather than requiring an interruption in the midst of seduction.
10. Enjoy some dark chocolate.
It’s true—sharing a few squares of rich dark chocolate with your partner can actually help fuel a healthy sex life. In addition to improving your mood and reducing stress levels—two frequent barriers to pleasurable sex as we age—recent studies indicate dark chocolate may actually help reduce high blood pressure (a frequent cause of impotence), and improve women’s sexual health. Even without the health benefits, sharing a moment of intense melt-in-your-mouth pleasure with a partner is never a bad idea.
11. Use what you’ve learned about your partner.
Getting older with a partner means losing some things—our agility, our looks, our naïveté—but also means gaining many others. Particularly, we learn what makes our partner tick. Don’t be afraid to use some of this insight when it comes to the bedroom. “Use your knowledge to enhance your experience,” says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka “Dr. Romance”) psychotherapist and author of The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty. Because there’s nothing quite like having a partner who anticipates your desires better than you do.
12. Try Tantra.
Tantra is an ancient Hindu and Buddhist practice which revolves around ritual, sensuality, and meditation. For Xanet Pailet, author of the new book, Living an Orgasmic Life, it’s also a great way to get closer to your partner. “You can create an erotic connection,” she said, “and even experience orgasms” without engaging in sex itself.
13. Remind your partner how much you value them.
For many older individuals, there’s nothing quite as sexy as a partner who lets us know how important we are. While thanking a loved one for all that they do isn’t the typical image of seduction, feeling properly valued within your relationship can pay dividends when things get steamy—especially for couples who may not get turned on by the same things they once did. So before going straight to the bedroom, lay the groundwork by telling your partner how much you appreciate them.
14. Don’t measure your desire by ability.
Many of us have been taught to measure a man’s desire by the strength of his erection. However, this can lead to a misperceived lack of interest when a man’s erection no longer comes as easily as it once did. Instead of feeling ashamed, or concerned, recognize that there are many other ways to measure desire, whether it be attentiveness, physical intensity, or their own profession of their feelings.
15. Be who you are.
Getting older means having different kinds of sexual experiences. Don’t run from it—embrace it. Instead of trying to “live up to some kind of glamorous or romantic ideal,” Dr. Tessina advises, “just allow both of you to be who you are….you’ll have a lot more fun.”
16. Try morning sex.
For starters, you might already be naked—so that’s taken care of. In addition, as you get older and your energy levels wane, having sex before the day’s tribulations ensue can help ensure you’re both fresh and ready to enjoy an energetic love-making session. As for the fact that your partner looks absolutely radiant in the morning’s sun rays? Consider it an added bonus.
17. Don’t be afraid of being FWBs.
For some reason, many of us assume that as we age, our sex lives need to become more responsible. If we’re in a committed relationship this is certainly true, but otherwise it’s more fiction than fact. So don’t be afraid to fool around, maybe even picking up a couple friends with benefits along the way. Despite popular notions, these arrangements need not be left only to younger people.
18. Try dating apps.
Similarly, many of us assume that Tinder and other dating apps are only for those who have yet to gain a gray hair. Nonsense! Many dating apps, including Tinder, allow you to search in the 55-plus age range. So don’t hold yourself back because of some outdated notions of propriety—get swiping! For non-Tinder ideas, check out The Best Dating Apps if You’re Over 40.
19. Film a boudoir shoot.
Sure, the youth is always taking pictures of their taut bodies, but now that you’re older you’ve got a leg up on them in that department: good taste. So go out and hire a professional boudoir photographer to take some images of you that are both sexy and refined. In addition to turning on your partner, they’ll give you a boost of confidence as you see for yourself just how tastefully attractive you really are.
20. Keep your blood pressure in check.
Numerous studies have confirmed the link between high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. So to make sure you’ve got everything in working order when your partner gives you that look, keep your blood pressure in check.
21. Don’t assume your difficulties are purely physical.
Sex can sometimes become more difficult as you age. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the difficulty stems from the aging process itself. If things aren’t working out, don’t assume it’s a physical deficiency that needs remedying—it might just be psychological. In that case, a sexual therapist or marriage counselor may just be what you need.
Flirting is another cultural practice that appears to be dominated by the young, but needn’t be so. Even if it doesn’t lead anywhere, flirting can help boost your confidence, keep you socially active, and remind yourself that you’re a catch.
23. Lighten up.
Sex doesn’t need be so serious, particularly as you age. While a failed encounter may feel like the end of the world, it really isn’t. “Some sex encounters go well, some don’t,” Dr. Tessina explains, so “spend more time giggling, talking and being silly, and less time under pressure.”
“A lighter attitude,” she says, “makes sex more fun.”
24. Don’t be afraid of medication.
Let’s say everything is fine in your sex life, but for some reason your body just isn’t up to the task. When that’s the case, don’t be afraid to see your doctor and explore medical options. Most importantly, don’t feel ashamed—you’re in good, and abundant, company. Roughly one half of men over 50, for example, experience mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
25. Don’t fall for the idea that sex disappears with age.
There’s a popular notion that as women age, their sex drive all but disappears. However, according to Londin Angel Winters, author of The Awakened Woman’s Guide to Everlasting Love, that’s nonsense. “In most of the [older] women I work with,” she said, “your sex can become stronger.” Why the counterintuitive conclusion? “Because much of a woman’s ability to orgasm in sex comes from feeling safe and relaxed,” and nothing helps one feel at home in their body and with their partner than age and maturity of mind.
26. Value your sexual experience.
While you may not find your body as attractive as it once was, recognize that what you’ve lost in smoothness you’ve more than made up for in emotional depth. Especially for men “of a later age” who may be feeling more insecure due to decreased testosterone levels, Ms. Winters says, a partner with depth is just what they are looking for. Luckily for both of you, when it comes to depth, “you’ve got it.”
27. Use lubricant.
As a woman ages, her vagina gets less pliable and ceases to release natural lubricants “to the extent that it once did.” This, as Dr. Elizabeth Sauter, a retired gynecologist with over thirty years of experience, says, is why, for older couples, lubricants are “usually necessary.”
28. Talk about sex.
Some of us may have grown up in a time when it wasn’t appropriate to discuss sex. While as a culture we’ve moved on, it can be difficult to open up about these things if you’re not used to it. However, communication between partners is key to maintaining a healthy sex life as we age—letting each other know our changing insecurities, desires, and pleasure points. If speaking about it remains too uncomfortable, feel free to forego words altogether, and show them by example.
29. Develop signals.
While scheduling and communication are great ways to get both partners on the same page when it comes time for sex, it can be useful to develop a few wordless signals between the two of you as well. That way, you can let your partner know you’re ready without having to actually utter the words. If your partner loves music, for example, Dr. Tessina recommends playing some—to “signal sex.”
30. Maintain your pelvic strength.
One of the best exercises for maintaining a healthy sex life is kegels. By strengthening our pelvic floor, “the same muscles contracted during orgasm,” says Mary Ellen Reider of pelvic floor-strenghtening experts Relevium Labs, we can actually increase our ability to orgasm. “The stronger your ability to contract those muscles,” she says, “the stronger your response to the orgasm could be.”
31. Expand your definition of sex.
“Sex is not just penis-vagina intercourse,” said Ms. Pailet. “Any activity that creates erotic connection”—be it kissing, massaging, or even talking dirty—“can constitute sex.” Instead of focusing on just one small part of a healthy sex life, make sure to consider the entire range of pleasurable experiences you and your partner can share. After all, she says, “There’s nothing hotter than the high school make-out with clothes on.”
32. Be candid with yourself.
Aging comes with its own set of problems–especially in the bedroom. Luckily, it also comes with a natural solution to many of those problems: increased self-awareness and an ability to be straight with oneself. So take advantage of this to give yourself some straight talk on what it is that might be bothering you, or what you find unsatisfying. There’s no better first step to solving a problem than recognizing that it is one.
33. Focus on your best features.
As you age, you may find it more difficult to feel sexy. Instead of looking in the mirror for “flaws,” however, look to the mirror to find features of yours that you like the best—and focus on those. Even if it’s just, say, a belly button you’re particularly proud of, it can be helpful to remind yourself that there are still parts of your body you wouldn’t trade for the world.
34. Create a sense of mystery.
Getting older, it can come to feel like you’re seen and heard everything—there’s simply nothing that can surprise us. Turning this feeling on its head, it can be incredibly exciting to inject some mystery into your sex life. Whether it’s a blindfold, a spontaneous retreat to a cabin in the woods, or the exploration of a new kink, it never hurts to keep your partner guessing.
35. Forget your sex drive.
“Thinking you have to be ‘in the mood’ has to go,” says Dr. Tessina. Rather than expecting this to happen, it’s crucial to create your own mood. Once you get started, she says, oftentimes the mood itself will follow shortly. So just do it.
36. Keep your worries out of the bedroom.
Paying for college, saving for retirement, making sure the grandkids don’t ride the dog: these are just a few of the worries that begin to nag at us as we age. While you can’t entirely eliminate worries, it’s necessary to keep them out of the bedroom, where they’ll do nothing but distract. Once you and your partner are finished making love, the worries will still be there, ready to be attended to. If anything, your newly improved mood will help to put them in proper perspective.
37. Feel free to fantasize.
Everybody fantasizes—it’s just a fact of life. While you may not want to share with your partner what exactly it is you’ve got on your mind, there’s no harm in engaging in some fantastical thinking to get you in the mood. And if you do feel comfortable sharing, there’s even a chance they’ll help make your fantasies come true.
38. Read explicit stories.
Sometimes all you need to get that feeling back in your life is some novel stimulation. For that, consider reading explicit stories, whether alone or as a pair. It’s nothing too graphic—they’re just books and websites, after all—but a well written tale of desire can do wonders to get you in the mood. For a good place to start, take a look at the 15 Best Free Literotica-Style Erotica Sites for Heating Up Your Reading.
39. Check your current medication.
Some medications—both over the counter and prescription—may affect your ability to have sex. Antidepressants, for example, can lead to sexual dysfunction. There are often ways to counter these side effects, but before you do so, you need to know what it is that’s causing your problems. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or to do some research on your own regarding common side effects of any medication you may be taking—it just might be what’s holding you back from a healthy sex life.
40. Try a new look.
Sometimes all you need to get in the mood is seeing your partner in that color that really makes their eyes pop. Whether it be new lingerie, a new top, or even a new haircut, switching up your look can help reinvigorate the passion in a relationship.
41. Take care of your joints.
One of the most vulnerable parts of your body are your joints. As you age, and your cartilage wears away, irritating joints can make many sex positions painful. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to counteract this, including losing weight, building muscle around your joints, or taking omega-3 fatty acids daily.
42. Don’t get down on yourself if you’re dissatisfied.
Not every sexual encounter ends in success. If after love-making you feel dissatisfied, this doesn’t mean it was a failure or something to be ashamed of—it’s a natural part of life. By being open to disappointment, knowing sometimes it’s going to occur, you’ll open yourself up to many more opportunities for even greater satisfaction
43. Work for it.
Sex isn’t always easy, but who said it would be? Now that you’re older, some things may take a little more effort than they did when you were in your twenties; that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. As you’ve learned from a long life of success and struggle, the best things are those that you work hard for.
44. Don’t try to turn back time.
As you’ve grown, you’ve changed—so why shouldn’t your sex life change, too? A key to maintaining a healthy sex life is making sure it evolves along with your body. Just because something felt good when you were young, doesn’t mean it will now. While you may have lost one site of pleasure, that doesn’t mean you haven’t gained many more—perhaps you just need to find them.
45. Focus on pleasure.
When we’re young, we tend to focus on orgasms as the raison d’etre of intercourse. But as we get older, orgasms become harder to attain, and their importance should wane accordingly. As Dr. Tessina says, they’re simply “not the most important thing.” While “lovely” when they do occur, she advises to instead “focus on pleasure.”
“Don’t leave your Ferrari parked in the garage,” says Winters. “Get it out and drive it every day.” It shouldn’t be your partner’s responsibility to discover what turns you on, she says, but yours. So begin a “strong self-pleasuring practice” and remain well-acquainted with your sexuality as it changes with age.
47. Prioritize quality, not quantity.
As you get older, it can be hard to find time for sex, meaning you’ll have less of it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your sex life needs to be worse off. By instead focusing on the quality of our sexual encounters, you may actually find ourselves more satisfied than ever before.
48. Remember what you’ve gained, not what you’ve lost.
While age may make some parts of sex more difficult, it can improve many parts of it as well. Increased confidence, an awareness of one’s own needs, and a loving partner are all infinitely more valuable than a wrinkle-free face. So focus on the great things that age has brought to your romance, and not the few things it may have taken away.
49. Use toys.
Sometimes all you need to spice up a dull sex life is a few well-chosen toys to hit the spot. You can let your imagination roam as to what your ideal toy would be, but just know the industry has got a little something for everyone—including those who have never ventured into such territory before.
50. Remember it’s never too late to explore your sexuality.
There is no cut-off date for exploring one’s own sexuality. While there’s a cliché that says that experimentation only happens in college amongst naïve teens, the truth is that people can tap into unknown desires at any age.