50 Ways to Have a Healthy Sex Life After 40
GET READY TO FEEL LIKE A TEENAGER AGAIN.
For many people, life over 40 is pretty great: Your career is better than ever and your confidence is at an all-time high. However, the sands of time spare no one, and for some over-40 folks, life in the bedroom can change dramatically as the years pass—and not always for the better. But if you want to keep things fresh in the sheets after the big 4-0 has come and gone, doing so may be easier than you think. These expert tips on how to keep things spicy, and have your best sex after 40. Follow these tips and you'll be feeling like a teenager again in no time.
50 tips for your best sex after 40:
1. Accept the changes in your body.
Feeling comfortable in your body is sexy, no matter your age, so embrace the changes you're seeing—and let your partner do the same.
"Your body definitely doesn't look the same as before," says Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, from MedHelpAlert.org. "Don't shy away from it and make sure you love your body as it is. Don't look back, focus on the now."
2. Expand your definition of what sex is.
If your preferences in the bedroom have changed over the years, it's high time you redefine what sex means to you.
"Kissing, cuddling, and arousing can be pretty fun," says Djordjevic. "Make sure you explore with your partner and don't be afraid to talk about your wishes."
3. Take inventory of your medications.
If you've found yourself less enthused about the prospect of being intimate than before, try talking to your doctor about whether any of your current medications could be standing between you and a more fulfilling sex life.
"There are certain medications whose side effects include decreased libido, or (for women) lower ability of lubrication," says Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, from disturbmenot.co. "These include antidepressants, blood pressure medication, antihistamines (medication for allergies), medication for regulating cholesterol, and ulcer medications. If you are on any of these medications and have troubles with arousal or lubrication, talk to your doctor about it."
4. Choose comfortable positions.
Aches and pains tend to appear as if out of nowhere as we age, so it's essential that you reevaluate your bedroom routine if you find that your usual positions just aren't cutting it.
"If you have back pain, don't get discouraged," says Velikova. "Find the most comfortable position that doesn't strain your back. Side-by-side is a good position for this."
5. Boost the production of feel-good hormones.
Engage in some affectioning touching to "trigger production of the feel-good hormones—oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine," suggests Maryann Karinch, author of Mature Sexual Intimacy. "[They] pump up your desire for closeness, elevate your mood, and [help you] discover all kinds of new (and old) pleasures."
6. Give your partner reassurance outside the bedroom.
"As our bodies age, we might want reassurance that we're still desired," says Steven Reigns, LMFT, founder of Los Angeles-based Therapy for Adults. "This can create pressured sexual situations where your partner's every move and maneuver is scrutinized for proof that you are or you're not attractive." To help combat this issue, try giving your partner reassurance outside the bedroom—make note of when they dress up, show them affection when you're out together, and make time for romantic dates whenever possible.
7. Don't be afraid to discuss that little blue pill.
If you or your partner are having difficulty in the bedroom, don't be afraid to discuss exploring your medical options. "In male spaces, sex is openly discussed. Sexual dysfunction is not. This can lead some into thinking erectile dysfunction (ED) is less common than it actually is," says Reigns.
"For partners of men needing ED medication, it can be challenging to not take the need for erectile drugs personally—especially if one is feeling insecure about their aging body," he notes. "The logic of 'If he were really into me, he wouldn't need a pill' is faulty. If your partner needed a hearing aide, would that mean they really didn't want to listen to you?"
8. Play it safe.
Think you can forgo protection with new partners after a certain age? Think again.
"There's been a fair amount of research and reportage over the past few years that suggests that older people aren't learning to bring condoms along when they go out on the town," says Carol Queen, Ph.D., of Good Vibrations, the staff sexologist and curator of the Antique Vibrator Museum, and co-author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. "Folks over 50 can definitely get (and give) sexually transmitted infections, so get informed, be prepared, and play safe."
9. Make sex a consistent part of your routine.
While you certainly shouldn't be having sex when you don't feel like it, making time for intimacy may make you more open to getting frisky in the future. According to a 2017 study published in Psychological Science, couples had more relationship satisfaction for up to two weeks following sex—and considering that feeling happy in your relationship is a key factor in wanting to have sex to begin with, this ends up being a self-perpetuating cycle.
10. Work on your confidence.
Not feeling sexy? Instead of spending tons of cash on lingerie or toys, try working on your self-esteem first. "Sexiness is confidence," says Nazanin Moali, PhD, a sex therapist in Torrance, California and host of The Sexology Podcast. "It is a different kind of confidence that we might have had in our 20s or 30s, but one that is grounded in our achievements, our accomplishments, and what we have become in life."
11. Make your needs known—even if it's uncomfortable at first.
Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, talking about your needs in the bedroom will keep your love life healthier in the long run.
"Couples over age 50 often tell us that saying the word 'sex' was taboo in their household growing up, which makes it difficult to open up with each other—even as grown adults," according to husband and wife coach and therapist Adam King, CLC, and Karissa J. King, MA, LMFT, authors of Sexpectations—Healthy Sex Life After Age 50. "So while their innate design pushes them to have sex, talking about it requires intentionality, guidance, and even learning."
12. Make sure you're getting enough sleep.
Get a good night's rest and you might find yourself having an easier time reading your partner's cues when it comes to sex. According to a 2013 study published in Sleep, sleep-deprived men were more likely to misread their female partner's behavior as sexual interest, even when that's not the case—potentially leading to some serious feelings of rejection when they're turned down time and time again. If you want to keep your sex life healthy, make sure you're getting adequate rest and you'll be better equipped to distinguish between when your partner wants to get it on.
13. Experiment with new activities in the bedroom.
According to a 2017 review of research published in the Journal of Sex Research, more sexually satisfied couples reported engaging in a greater variety of sex acts than their less-satisfied counterparts.
14. Practice mindfulness.
A little mindfulness in the bedroom could make all the difference when it comes to your sex life. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, people who were more mindful during sex enjoyed both greater sexual satisfaction and higher self-esteem.
15. Be a routine-breaker outside of the bedroom.
There's something to be said for relationship predictability. We have a comfort level in knowing that Friday is for movies, or that one of you will do the cooking and one of you will do the cleaning, or that both of you despise the Patriots.
But long-term couples should find ways to mix up the regular rhythm of their lives—with new outings, new restaurants, new couples to hang with. "The newer the activity, the greater the increase of the feel-good chemical dopamine," which improves mood, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., author of Neuroloveology.
16. And in the bedroom.
"After many years of sex with the same person, the actual act of making love can take on a certain predictability," Cadell says. Switch up something: The room, the night of the week, the order in which you remove clothes, the channel. It'll make a difference.
17. Crush some cardio.
Sexual function is controlled, in part, by the quality of blood flow to your organs. Vigorous cardiovascular exercise—at least three or four times a week where your heart rate jumps up to the point that you're breathing hard—will make you better in bed.
"Because blood flow is vital for sexual organs to function, whatever you can do to improve the health of your heart will improve your sex life," says Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic.
18. Pump iron at least twice a week.
Resistance exercises not only help change your body weight and shape (both of which will have physical and psychological benefits), but they also increase your testosterone.
"Testosterone is the key hormone for both men and women for sex drive," Roizen says. "Resistance exercise helps increase muscle mass, which improves testosterone." No access to dumbbells? A routine of bodyweight exercises—pushups, squats, and lunges—will work.
19. Get on the same page financially.
"Financial stress—the No. 1 cause of problems in relationships—is related to lots of health problems, so when couples are having money issues, it usually means they're also having trouble in the bedroom," Roizen says. Schedule a financial meeting once a month between the two of you. Just the act of talking—even if you don't always agree—gets things going in the right direction.
20. Stock up on healthy fats.
One of your greatest dietary allies are healthy fats, like ones found in fish and nuts. "They will help lower inflammation, blood pressure, and your lousy LDL cholesterol. When they change, they can help improve sexual function," Roizen says.
21. Cut down on added sugar in your diet.
One of the biggest threats to a healthy sex life? A diet that pummels your insides. Decrease your intake of processed foods and replace them with ones that have artery-friendly compounds (like fruits and vegetables). "Foods with high amounts of added sugar increase your risk a number of problems that cause your arteries to function less efficiently—and that's bad news for all body parts involved in sexual function," Roizen says.
22. Drop those last 10 pounds.
"Waist size is directly related to sexual function," Roizen says. "The higher it is, the higher chances you'll have some dysfunction."
23. Grab some garlic.
According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the breath- and vampire-busting cloves have artery-clearing benefits. And you know what better blood flow means…
24. Drink red wine more frequently.
An Italian study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, showed that those who had one or two glasses of red wine a day had higher levels of sexual satisfaction.
25. Spice things up in the kitchen.
The key to a hotter sex life? Hotter food. One 2015 study in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that spicy food increased testosterone. So get ready to turn up the heat on your plate and in the bedroom.
26. Add some red to your menu.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which can restore blood glucose and lower oxidative stress. Those health benefits lead to better blood flow, which, again, can curb erectile dysfunction.
27. Follow the "apple a day" adage.
A 2014 study in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that women who regularly ate apples had higher reported levels of sexual function. Scientists speculate that this is because apples contain antioxidants that improve blood flow (and thus arousal).
28. Bring on the B vitamins.
One 2014 study in the Asian Journal of Andrology revealed a correlation between low levels of sexual function and low levels of folic acid (vitamin B9). So if you want to improve your bedroom activities, add foods with vitamin B—like dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, and beans—into your diet.
29. Say "I love you" more.
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A 2016 Chapman University study about sexual satisfaction in long-term couples found that those who were more sexually satisfied say "I love you" during sex.
30. Make sex more fun.
The same Chapman University study found that sexually satisfied couples reported that their sex was both passionate and playful, so don't be afraid to get silly in the sack.
31. Up the romantic gestures.
The little things really do make a big difference. Dr. Bea Jaffrey, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist based in Switzerland, told Marie Claire that foreplay should start long before you actually have sex. "I am talking here about the mental foreplay that happens days in advance, not the one that you have just before sex," she notes. "Make sure to be attentive to your partner. Small gestures and nice comments are significant to setting the right mood for sex."
32. Take a trip together.
The key to improving your sex life over 40? Your passport. According to a 2016 study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, traveling together not only helps maintain the strength of relationships, it can help ignite intimacy in couples, too.
33. Talk about your partner's body.
Compliment your partner's body parts—and not just ones associated with sexuality. A 2017 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported a correlation between lower body image and low levels of sexual satisfaction—which makes sense because more insecurity means more inhibition. So giving your partner's self-esteem a small boost could make a big difference in the bedroom.
34. Make regular sex a priority.
One 2017 study in PLoS One revealed what many couples already know: Couples with higher rates of physical intimacy tend to be closer. It's not that quantity means quality, but you have to have some quantity to have more quality.
35. Strike a pose.
A 2010 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that yoga helped reduce sexual dysfunction and improved libido. Other benefits from practicing those poses include improved breathing and control, as well as more flexibility. Just don't make a "downward dog" joke in bed.
36. Get frisky in the morning.
As reported by The Sun in 2017, Forza Supplements conducted research that found that the best time of day to have sex is the opposite time of when many couples have sex: 7:30 a.m seems to be ideal. That's because, about 45 minutes after you wake up is when your energy levels are at their highest.
37. Work through your conflicts.
Relationship troubles affect your mood and overall satisfaction, and thusly influence desire. Not talking about your problems will only create more problems and that goes for your sex life, too.
38. Spend more time together.
Your schedules may be busy, but making more time for each other—even when you're not getting frisky, can make you more interested in one another sexually. A 2014 study in Hormones and Behavior revealed that oxytocin—the bonding hormone that's stimulated in moments of togetherness—can intensify orgasms as well as contentment after sex.
39. Create a new ritual together.
Foot massages every Sunday night, co-cooking every Thursday, or a hike the first weekend of the month create consistency, boost oxytocin, and can do wonders for your physical intimacy levels.
40. Spend more time snuggling.
A 2014 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found one key ingredient to long-term relationship success: post-sex snuggling. According to the research, there's a strong link between "post-sex affectionate behavior (e.g., cuddling, caressing, shared intimacy) and sexual and relationship satisfaction."
41. Never underestimate the power of a massage.
Candles, oils, some ambient music. Nothing sets the mood like a good full-body rub—for both of you.
42…Or a bubble bath.
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It's just as relaxing as a massage, except with 100 percent less clothing. Pro tip: Double the bubbles with a bottle of Moët.
43. Remember the hierarchy of compliments.
What you say matters.
When you say it matters more.
How you say it matters most.
44. Remember the hierarchy of the bedroom.
What you do matters.
When you do it matters more.
How you do it matters most.
45. Remember the hierarchy of desire.
How you look matters.
How you act matters more.
How you treat each other—every single day—matters most.
46. Bring in some reinforcements.
The truth is, we're living in the golden age of toys: big, small, for him, for her, for both. You can even find a 24-carat toy that doubles (and passes) as a fashion-forward pendant necklace! There's something out there for you that can take your pleasure to unimagined levels.
47. Add some sexy literature to your must-read list.
Sure, you could put on a video to rev your engines. But you could also try reading that sort of thing. Today, there are countless of sites brimming with such content. Let your imagination run wild.
48. Expand your social opportunities.
Want to make your relationship more satisfying? Try channeling your inner extrovert. A 2005 study published in the European Journal of Personality reveals that, while neuroticism dampened relationship satisfaction, extroversion boosted it—and who doesn't like a partner who's outgoing, both in the bedroom and out?
49. Reduce your reliance on porn.
Watching pornography together may be sexy to some couples, but overdoing it can have a negative effect on your relationship in the long run. According to a 2017 review of research published in Human Communication Research, pornography consumption was associated with reduced interpersonal satisfaction.
50. Keep your curiosity alive.
It's never too late to test your sexuality. You'll never know if you don't try. And for more ways to take things up a notch, learn about The 30 Ways That Exercise Boosts Your Sex Life.
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