How many of us remember our first attempt at smoking a cigarette, drinking a glass of wine or our sortie into the world of spicy food? For many I’m guessing the first time wasn’t too pleasant an experience, but most of us persevered until we gradually acquired a taste for it and eventually came to like it.
I’m sure that many of us will have had similar, none too successful first attempts at sex, perhaps being rather awkward if we were both inexperienced virgins or maybe not quite so embarrassing if our partner was more experienced.
Nonetheless, I’m guessing it took a little time before you felt you were a truly proficient and enthusiastic lover.
Our early sex life might have been spent desperately hoping not to get pregnant whilst trying to snatch an occasional hour when parents, siblings or, as we grew older, flat mates weren’t around. On other occasions we may have been uncomfortably parked up somewhere, hoping nobody would walk by. Paper-thin walls, crying babies or exhaustion could also have been distractions as our growing family, career focus and perhaps ailing parents joined the mix.
Sex and relationship counsellors talk about dedicating time to date nights, ensuring that you allocate regular ‘us time’ for communicating and being intimate even if sexual intercourse itself doesn’t actually occur. This helps you stay close as a couple and remain connected, even when sex is the last thing on either of your minds.
Over the years life can get in the way of us enjoying a relaxed, spontaneous, fulfilling sex life. It’s not uncommon for women in long-term relationships to lose interest in sex. A myriad of factors, the rigours of childbirth, tiredness, stress, an insensitive partner, routine perfunctory love-making can all impact on a woman’s desire to make love.
In addition, sometimes women are hesitant at being too affectionate out of concern at it being misconstrued as an invitation to have sex. Sometimes cuddling, affection and foreplay might be all that’s wanted at the time by either or both of you. Or they may be aware of changes to their body, weight, health issues, menopause or vaginal dryness; all can affect sexual desire.
Discovering what you like and finding ways to talk through and resolve any issues or mismatches can enable sex with your long-term partner to get back on track. Maybe investigating sex toys, vibrators, pornography, lubricants, discussing how you feel, what you both want and like, and removing the pressure to perform can allow you to enjoy foreplay and intimacy. Things don’t always have to lead to sexual intercourse.
With over 40% of marriages failing it paints a fairly bleak picture of how those younger romantic daydreams can turn out. Those anticipated nights of skimpy lingerie, sex games and unbridled lovemaking, so enthusiastically anticipated, may have long ago been consigned to memory.
Hardly surprising then that it takes us to reach our middle years before we’re ready and willing to reclaim our sex lives with gusto. So many of life’s distractions have been dealt with by then. Finances, home and business life are often in a good enough place.
As we clear our commitments and responsibilities to children, work and maybe finding ourselves single again, it may be time to decide to live life on our own terms. Confidence levels may be rising as we feel better about ourselves, more settled, happier with who we are, more comfortable about ourselves, our bodies, not needing to please others quite so much, feeling this is my turn, my time.
This resurgence of freedom is highlighted by the fact that the incidence of STD’s in the over 45’s has risen steadily by 20% year on year since 2012. But whether in a long-term relationship or single as you hit midlife you can still enjoy an active, enthusiastic sex life.
Midlife and retirement is now the time for many to get fitter, to buy ourselves nice clothes and lavish a little time and attention on ourselves, maybe studying, joining a walking group, learning a foreign language, getting a part-time job, volunteering. Even if we’re still working full-time it’s good to feel that there are still plenty of options and choices.
Turning our attention to sex and a fulfilling, exciting sex life is a natural part of that time. At this age we know what we like and don’t like and it’s time to claim that. Some may be settled in a committed relationship, others may be carefree and single, not looking for a long-term relationship or marriage, not looking for a father for their kids. It’s time to focus on a relationship that adds something special to our lives. Single or partnered, it’s time to enjoy a good sex life and invest in it getting better as we get older.