Continuing the July theme of Sexuality Through the Years, this brief blog article discusses sexuality at middle age. Middle age is a pretty loose term. For most of us, it covers the time of having adolescent and young adult children, beginnings of perimenopause and menopause, and being empty nesters.
Having adolescents of course is challenging in general but it also challenges our sex life because the bedtimes are later and there are less opportunities to be alone because of that. However, on the other side of things, adolescents typically spend more time away from the house hanging out with friends. Parents need to plan ahead and be opportunistic to have time alone when the opportunities present itself. Of course, getting time away is always a good thing no matter how old your children are.
I will be writing a longer article on sexuality, women and menopause soon. Here I want to briefly say that husbands need to take the sexual symptoms of menopause seriously. Menopause and even perimenopause can decrease sexual desire and arousal. It does not affect all women the same, however; some are less affected than others. There is a decrease in estrogen, which can produce drier vaginas, which in turn can make sex more uncomfortable. The good news is that there are a number of things women can do to remedy this including using lubricants such as KY Jelly and Astroglide, other vaginal moisturizers and vaginal estrogen therapy. All these options should be discussed with your doctor.
Empty nesters can have a revival of their sex life, as they are free to be openly sexual around the house without thought of young ones around. Those couples that have put effort into staying connected through the child-rearing years can enjoy this transition and can use this time to raise the eroticism in the relationship. Those that did not do a good job of staying connected may have a crisis on their hands and need to see a qualified relationship and sex therapist to help them resurrect their aliveness and passion.
Sexuality at middle age can be a far richer sexual experience than in younger years. The reason for this is that hopefully the pair has matured together, weathered some storms together and can have a deep bond that allows for vulnerability and deeper sexual and emotional connection. It can be a time for experimentation and interpersonal risk taking. Those middle agers who have done the inner work of healing their childhood wounds are freer to enjoy mature sexuality and are less prone to act out their earlier interpersonal drams with each other. If you are in middle age and are struggling in your intimate life, please contact me wherever you are. I could help in person, via Skype or via phone. My passion is helping you enjoy passion with your partner.