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Dating After 50: Relearning How to Be a Great Lover

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

When you start dating again after age 50, your sexual repertoire may be a bit rusty. Don't be intimidated by what you don't know. There are a few basic rules for being a great lover, and if you and your partner have a mutual desire to please each other, following these guidelines will almost guarantee you both a good experience:

  • Don't act embarrassed or guilty. If you hide when you're undressing, darken the room so that you and your partner can't see each other, or chatter nervously about how long it's been since you've made love to anyone, you may bring out compassion in your date, but not necessarily arousal.

    Partners like to feel that the person they're with really wants to make love with them and isn't ambivalent. If you act ashamed of your body or give voice to the worries in your head that what you're doing is wrong, you send out all the wrong vibes.

  • Ask what your partner likes. You're not a mind reader, and neither is your date. You may not know whether your partner wants to be touched lightly or firmly or whether there are acts or positions that she doesn't enjoy. The only way you can find out if you're pleasing your partner during lovemaking is to ask what she likes as you go along. If you prefer, you can talk about what you both like before ever getting into bed, and let it be a kind of seductive foreplay.

  • Take it slow and touch everything — a lot. You can almost never do too much foreplay. Touching, stroking, massaging, and generally giving attention to various body parts is sexy, arousing, and generous. You've heard the term "a generous lover" — this is what it means. A generous lover gives his lover's body a lot of sensual attention with his hands and mouth.

  • Show enthusiasm (loudly if possible!). In a study in The Normal Bar (a book by Chrisanna Northrup et al., on extremely happy couples), men and women were asked what they wanted more of when it came to sex. One of the top three things men wanted was noise! They wanted to know that what they were doing really pleased their partner, and one way they could be sure that they were pleasing her was if she expressed herself through words, shrieks, whimpers — anything. Women also appreciated verbal responses that told them they were on the right track.

  • Listen for signs of greater arousal and repeat the acts with the most response. The best lovers are good listeners. They watch and hear their partner's breathing patterns and noises. When their partner's breathing speeds up or more noises occur, they ask their partner whether they have "the right spot," and if they get an affirmative answer, they keep doing whatever they're doing.

    Skilled lovers ask whether their partner would like a softer or harder touch. They ask what their partner would like next, and they try their best to provide it. Bottom line: Listen for signs of greater arousal when you touch your partner, and repeat the acts that your partner responds to the most.

  • Kiss and maintain eye contact. Sometimes people get so enraptured that they forget to kiss or to vary their kisses, and they even forget to look at each other. Don't lose intimacy by keeping your eyes shut all the time. It's hard to hold someone's gaze for too long, but it's very powerful when you do it. Meeting eyes and kissing a lot makes sexual contact much more thrilling and meaningful.

    Marriage and family therapist Dr. David Schnarch says that holding each other's gaze is part of what produces what he calls "wall-socket sex" — that electrifying sex that feels as if you were plugged into a socket and every nerve in your body was lit up like a string of lights. Powerful, over-the-top, peak orgasmic sex is possible, according to Schnarch, for couples who are personally secure enough to be able to maintain emotional intensity through constant eye contact during lovemaking.

  • Snuggle and touch and say nice things after you're through making love. While sex provides pleasure, at its highest and best, it also provides connection, bliss, peace, and comfort. Those emotions may emerge after sexual connection as well, if you take time to focus on each other after lovemaking is over. Sometimes the drive to cuddle and be wrapped in each other's arms is as strong as the initial drive to be sexual with each other.

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