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The Top 5 Sexual Concerns of Women Over 50

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

It's a safe bet that the average woman over the age of 50 has at least one of the following concerns regarding sexual relations — even if she won't own up to it.

Taking her clothes off and still being desired

Most women have been self-conscious about their bodies since their youth, even though that's when their bodies looked amazing. Women have been taught that their breasts are too small, too large, or not the right shape.

They've been told that they aren't skinny enough or don't have a butt that's shaped just right. In fact, in the last ten years or so, there has even been an assault on how a vulva should look: hairless (except maybe for a “racing stripe”) and with tight lips (which physicians offer to surgically alter if the lips are longer or uneven!).

One way for women to get over this concern is to put a new frame around the idea of what a “good” body is. It may seem hard to imagine if you still have a body that looks younger and you cleave to that vision of yourself, but as you get older, a good body is a healthy one, a strong one, and one that can still feel pleasure.

Nonetheless, people want to be desired in traditional ways, and so men and lesbians should compliment their partner often.

Pleasing her partner

A woman who has had a lot of partners may not be so worried about how to please someone. But if she's more conservative and her only lover has been her husband, the prospect of knowing what to do with someone new is truly daunting. Women want to please their partner but they're not sure how bold to be, what acts are expected, and whether they'll be good at them.

The best way to figure out what pleases your partner is to ask. Figuring out your partner's sexual philosophy — and whether that philosophy jibes with your own — helps you know how to proceed with intimate actions.

Getting aroused and having comfortable sex

If a woman over 50 has been divorced or widowed for a long time, she may be unsure about having sex: adding lubrication or maybe estrogen to plump up the tissues and revitalize the area so that penetration isn't painful.

This may not be a problem if a woman masturbates frequently, uses sex toys, and in general, keeps her sexual life lively, even without a partner. But if she hasn't had sex of any kind in a very long time, her body needs to be reconditioned, and her mind won't be at ease.

This is even truer if she was in a dysfunctional relationship or failed marriage and sex had ceased to be arousing or fulfilling.

The good news is that bodies can bounce back, and if a woman receives localized estrogen (topical creams, a vaginal plumper like Replens, or an intrauterine ring that secrets estrogen), vaginal tissues can feel great and resilient again.

Having an orgasm

A woman may have been easily orgasmic when she was younger, but as she gets older, diminished estrogen, more sluggish blood delivery, and less muscle tone and energy may be making orgasm more difficult for her.

Why is this a problem? Aside from the fact that sex is better when both participants enjoy it to the fullest, women know that men feel better and sexier if they can help deliver an intense orgasm to their partner.

If women worry about their need for much more foreplay than they used to need or their unpredictable ability to have an orgasm even under the best of circumstances, relationship issues may well occur.

Probably the best way to overcome this problem is to become less goal-oriented and more focused on enjoying the journey. There's no prize for getting aroused quickly, and so accepting the need for longer, more luxurious foreplay isn't a sacrifice!

If you do have an orgasm or experience pleasure from something your partner does, let him know it. A recent study showed that one of the top three things men want during sex is to hear their partner make noises of excitement and pleasure!

Practicing safe sex

Neither men nor women want to catch a sexually transmitted disease (STD), but women seem to be more worried about STDs than men are. If you're at all worried about catching an STD from a new partner, speak up for yourself and insist on using protection.

If a man refuses to wear a condom, you may be better off walking away from the relationship because if he behaves this way with you, odds are he has behaved the same way with other partners — which puts you both at greater risk.

Many men, especially older men, don't like using a condom, and in fact, some will out and out refuse to use one. This is no longer a pregnancy issue for most (but not all) women over 50 but it is a health issue for everyone.

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