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Create Your Sexual Philosophy After 50

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

When you're over 50 and first dating someone, you may find yourself so caught up in watching your own feelings, gauging your partner's feelings, and trying to determine whether your date is as drawn to you as you are to him that you may not notice any difference in sexual desire or sexual style.

If you do, you may be so excited about just being with this person that you shrug off any differences, feeling sure you can handle anything that needs tweaking. Most of the time you can, but sometimes, differences in sexual philosophy and sexual interest are too much to overcome. Thinking about your sexual philosophy and sexual interest now will do you a world of good in the near future.

Your sexual philosophy is the set of sexual values and behaviors that you find right for you at this time of your life, regardless of what sex used to be like for you. The next sections help you get in touch with your present-day sexual philosophy, start a dialogue with a potential sexual partner, and negotiate a sexual philosophy that's satisfying for both of you.

When you're ready to set aside some time to think about your sexual preferences and desires, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions. You can answer them at your leisure, but you should eventually come up with answers that are comfortable for you.

  • How early in a dating relationship do I feel that touching and kissing intimately are appropriate?

  • Do I have different standards about oral sex and genital touching than I do about sexual intercourse? Would I be able to explain this to my partner?

  • What kinds of feelings would I want to have with someone — and want that person to have about me — before I'd engage in any kind of genital sexuality?

  • What kinds of communication would I have to have with my date before I'd consider having some kind of genital sex with the person?

  • What kind of discussion about sexual health, including condoms, would I have to have before sex would occur?

  • If I don't want to have sex before I know someone very well, and perhaps not until there's a serious or legal commitment, how do I talk about this with someone I care about?

The answers to these questions evolve from your recent history and values and may or may not line up with the way you were brought up. As they say, that was then, and this is now.

Whatever you decide, always bear these three rules of sex-related communications in mind:

  • Know what you're going to say before you say it. Be ready for this conversation so you don't say anything you don't mean and you say what you do mean in a nice way.

  • Be clear. This is an area where people often hear what they want to hear — not what you said. Don't leave room for misinterpretation.

  • Try to separate your sexual philosophy from how you feel about someone — and try to let the person know that. In other words, you may have a huge crush on the person but may not want to engage in sexual intercourse until you feel like this relationship is more committed.

    You can say something like, “I'm crazy about you, but my own sense of security and my ability to enjoy sex require much more knowledge about who we are together. Sex is a big deal to me, and to enjoy it, I just have to be with you a much longer time.”

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