According to the Kinsey Institute, who’ve just done a study of 1000 long-term partners between 40 and 70, a lot of the ways in which we think about sex and age are absolutely dead off.
The big one? It turns out that women are the ones with the more voracious sex drives as they get older, whereas men – get this – are perfectly happy with cuddling.
This news made headlines (“No Sex Please, Men Just Want Cuddles” was one), but it’s important for reasons beyond humour. If you’re just as sexual as you ever were as the years go by, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Nobody who’s read A Round-Heeled Woman by Jane Juska will be surprised by this revelation. Juska wrote a memoir of her adventures in casual and committed romps, well into her 60s and early 70s. It caused a stir at the time, but in light of this new study Juska is less an anomaly and more a representative of her entire age group.
The idea of the sexual woman of a certain age has been around for most of human history, from mature courtesans at European courts to The Graduate‘s Mrs Robinson to Blanche Deveraux on The Golden Girls. Frigid? Old age looks positively sizzling.
Let’s be realistic: the hormone and oestrogen/testosterone level changes caused by menopause can alter your sex drive, but don’t expect it to disappear. It can just mean that sex is a little more painful or dry. So don’t plan to don long white nighties and a hairnet just yet.
This also means you can toss that “long-married people lose interest in sex” chestnut right out the window. With effort, physical affection and communication, studies show that partners have good sex long past their supposed expiry date.
Other great news from the Kinsey Institute? Women’s sexual satisfaction in long-term partnerships actually increases over time.
There are a lot of possible reasons behind this one. After all, there’s more time and less pressure to avert a potential pregnancy. Also, by this stage in life women know their bodies and their sexual needs, and are experienced in communicating them.
The single most significant factor that determines whether you’re happy with your sex life over 50? Whether you’re in a happy relationship. If you’ve been together for 15 years or more, things are likely to still be steamy.
And if you’re post-menopause, you may find – unexpectedly – that your orgasms are better, longer and more intense.
Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Don’t look at your twilight years as a series of grey days sitting knitting. They may just be a new sensual awakening for you and your partner.
Lady Friday xx
Taking the pillow talk out of the bedroom, every Friday
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