Never Too Late: Discovering Good Sex Later In Life
Updated: Feb 9
We are lucky to be living in an time when sex is talked about and we are encouraged to seek out pleasure on our own or with our partner(s).
While there is still a long way to go in sexuality and sensual education, it is better now than it was even just 30 years ago. Go back further and talking about sex for pleasure was basically unheard of! Especially for women.
Ruby Glow inventor, Tabitha Rayne, recently had the pleasure and privilege of receiving feedback from a customer on this very topic.
Mr H, we'll call him, had been exploring new ways to enjoy sex and pleasure with his wife and how discovering the joys of female masturbation and sex toys have helped to open up this part of their relationship. He very generously agreed to share some of his experiences in the hope that other people arriving to sexual fulfillment and good sex later in life could be inspired by he and his wife's successes.
We are very grateful for his thoughts:
"I am 71 years old and my wife is 69. We've been married for the past 46 years—a marriage which has survived and largely thrived despite the stresses of my demanding professional career and all the rigors of raising three children. Prior to our relationship, neither of us had any significant sexual experience with other partners. I had had one previous first-time intercourse attempt with a sexually experienced woman which ended poorly due to my erection failure from performance anxiety and uncertainty. My spouse had never previously had any clothes off sexual encounter. With her former boyfriends, she had conditioned herself to terminate any arousal that might risk "going too far". She had never been taught or encouraged to explore self-pleasure and the ways to achieve orgasmic release through masturbation. So neither of us knew what the female orgasm experience was—either to experience or observe it. Intercourse essentially defined all we knew about the sexual act. We were both ignorant of the importance or techniques of foreplay—to include having no knowledge or experience with extended external genital stimulation. Whereas I would obtain my release routinely within a minute or two after beginning intercourse, my wife rarely (if ever) appeared to achieve anything resembling a climactic moment during that short timeframe.
Our sexual world experienced a dramatic challenge this past year when my wife announced that her libido had basically departed some time ago. She felt that her older anatomy no longer had the capability to be sexually aroused. She would periodically be willing to have sex if that's what I wanted—but the implication was she would take no particular pleasure in doing so. It was a crushing pronouncement to hear. I realized that for me the joy of sex was heavily linked to a sense of mutual desire and pleasure. The prospect of my partner being reduced to just tolerating what had previously been a mutually joyful event was too hard to conceive of or accept. And so I began my crash course in understanding the female sexual response—especially as it relates to older women. What I discovered became life-changing for our marriage—as we entered into an ongoing journey of mutual discovery. Not only did we learn how to revive our sex life—we were pleasantly surprised with new approaches and means to achieve enhanced female pleasure. Her genital anatomy wasn't dead after all!
Here's what we learned and have begun to apply—with the caveat that we remain on a journey of discovery as we experiment and build on what works:
1) It is written that while it's generally true that post-menopausal women typically experience a marked decrease in "spontaneous" sexual desire, they usually retain a capability for "receptive" sexual desire. That is, they're usually capable of being stimulated to want and enjoy sex given the right circumstances. Such was the case for us. At minimum, those circumstances must at least include a lack of vaginal or other pelvic region pain during intercourse—discomfort caused by vaginal dryness or another GYN condition. One author has stated that for most postmenopausal women having intercourse 1-2 times a week, they will develop and maintain enough natural vaginal mucosal conditioning to allow pain free intercourse—despite very low estrogen levels and without requiring estrogen supplementation. That indeed was also the case for us.
2) But lacking pain during intercourse was far from being sufficient alone for reviving my spouse's willingness to have regular and frequent sex. Rather we had to permanently discard the notion that if we could somehow just do intercourse better, then she would finally routinely experience the pleasures of sexual release that I had been regularly experiencing for all the years of our marriage. The recurring gospel theme by all the authors I read on enhancing female pleasure sufficient for achieving orgasm during most heterosexual sex was: "the woman must come first". The biology message was both straightforward and complex: that for most women to achieve orgasmic or near orgasmic pleasure, they needed at least 15-20 minutes of extended largely external genital stimulation—either with a partner or from an equivalent period of time spent masturbating with practiced knowledge of their pleasure zones. This slower build-up of sufficient sexual tension was described as required for most women to ultimately experience the euphoria of orgasmic release. For postmenopausal women especially, combining the right vibrator with manual stimulation was the critical piece for enabling orgasm. The ability of postmenopausal women to have orgasms into their 70's and beyond has been well documented—and that fact gave us hope that we could replicate that experience.
And so, armed with these insights, we radically changed how we approached sex.
3) While not totally abandoning the "quickie" for indulging my occasional sudden sexual urges, we now agree upon having about two "dates" per week. We choose times when our schedules are free for at least several hours and we're not exhausted from prior events. We also avoid the later evening hours when one or both of us will likely have flagging energy levels. We then set the stage for crescendoing mutual pleasure. Lights go down and candles are often lit. The dog is ushered into another room. Cell phones are silenced. My wife often sits upon her vibrating Ruby Glow while we sip some alcoholic beverages and just listen to each other's thoughts. As the anticipation deepens, it's light foreplay and then upstairs to our bedroom. She puts on her favorite sensual music and then dons the lingerie I've usually chosen for her. She chooses amongst a buffet of vibrators to try along with a bottle of lube to use. I then leave her alone for her to privately explore and learn via masturbation where her pleasure zones are—investing far more time and focus than she ever did in the past. After being aroused, she calls for me and we then enjoy hard charging intercourse which clearly takes her to new heights of pleasure—sensations which were rare before this new journey started. We're not quite there yet for having her experience regular orgasms—but we're often close if not outright just over the edge at times. Long held inhibitions still have to be overcome more fully. I have yet to master skilled foreplay and we haven't yet discovered the ways oral sex can contribute to her pleasure experience. How to better encourage and utilize fantasy also remains a goal.
Where I had felt despair, there is now hope and joy
It's good news for us to be on this path. Certainly "better late than never" applies here. Where I had felt despair, there is now hope and joy: not only for a mutually renewed and sustainable sex life—but one with the promise of discovering still more mutual pleasure possibilities that we never knew existed. Perhaps some other older couples (or even younger ones?)—might gain hope from these comments for ways to renew and upgrade their physical love making."
It is Mr H's hope that there will be a single comprehensive guide to sex and pleasure for people and couples going through what he and his wife have in their sex lives.
"When I think back on all our years of mutual ignorance and inhibitions about sex and all the opportunities for pleasure we missed: I see a fantastic educational opportunity. It would be to assemble a compelling cadre of sex educators to produce a concise DVD which could be regarded as a must watch item for all sexual rookies - certainly for couples considering long term committed relationships. On the heterosexual side, it would detail the facts of the female sexual response and strongly educate all women on the benefits of masturbation beginning in their younger adult years. It would especially emphasize the facts and complexities surrounding the female orgasm and methods to achieve it. Perhaps most importantly, it would educate males about the need for providing the tenderness, time, and techniques for truly pleasuring their partners ahead of their own sexual gratification. Think of how much mutual pleasure would be generated as well as countless marriages saved!"
We do indeed agree and would like to add some wonderful sex positive sites where you can find some of the information and tips that Mr H mentions above.
Joan Price is an author and sex expert discussing senior sex in all its glory.
We wish Mr & Mrs H so much love and thanks for sharing their story, and highlighting the importance of sex and sexuality education, whatever your age.
Good sex by yourself or with a partner or partners is a lifelong journey of discovery and we look forward to exploring all that pleasure or bodies can bring. We'd be delighted to add more advice links to this post so please feel free to get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org or or via social media.
Happy orgasms! All through your life x x x