Midlife sex is a bit different than sex when we are younger... not as intense, but it can feel more fulfilling.
Common Changes To Our Sexuality At Midlife
According to Dr. Aubrey M. Hill, in his book
Viropause/Andropause: The Male Menopause
, (which I recommend as an excellent source of detailed information about the physical and psychological effects of male menopause), these are common changes most men experience:
"Middle aged men tend to notice the physical changes in their sexuality first and the psychological changes, such as libido reduction, later on. The most common changes in sexuality that occur in the forties and fifties are:
Dr. Hill says we all go through these changes at midlife, but it is only when we start to worry about them that we begin to experience 'Andropause', also known as male menopause. In other words, it is our reaction to them, rather than the changes themselves, that cause us problems.
- failure to have an erection in circumstances that previously were associated with erection
- less firmness of the penis during an erection
- occasional loss of erection during sexual activity
- delayed orgasm
- failure to achieve an orgasm
- reduced force of ejaculation
- reduced volume of ejaculation"
He says most men notice these changes and adjust to them. But some wonder whether they are 'abnormal' in some way. Maybe they are 'losing it', and their sex life is all but over. What will their wife or sex partner think of them. Will they be disappointed? Will they look for someone else?
If you are experiencing some changes sexually - maybe lost an erection at an inopportune moment - and it has you worried, the first thing to do is see your doctor for a medical to make sure nothing is wrong physically. If your doctor is experienced with male menopause (and doesn't pooh-pooh it), talk to him about your worries
Whatever you do don't keep your worries to yourself. That will just lead to more worry, and more erection problems.
If you would like some specific information about erectile dysfunction,
We usually think of sex as being a mainly physical activity, but it is really mostly in our minds.
Think of any time you have been aroused by the thoughts of making love with a woman you desire... you don't even need to touch her, or be in the same room with her, to get turned on. And we can lose our arousal just as fast, especially if we are worried about our performance, or worried about either not getting, or losing, an erection.
If your doctor can't help you with your concerns, talk to a psychologist. Their business is helping people deal with life's worries.
Less Obsession with Sex
When we were teenagers we got erections so often, especially when good looking young babes were around, it was embarassing! When we became men, we had no trouble getting sexually aroused whenever an occasion presented itself.
But everything in life changes, including sex.
When I was in my late forties, and more so in my early fifties, I began to notice a decrease in my 'sexual ability'. It took me longer to get an erection again after making love, and my orgasms weren't quite as powerful as in the past.
Eventually, I began to notice I was less interested in sex than I used to be. Not that I lost all interest, but sexual thoughts didn't preoccupy me as much.
I began talking to other men, and found the same things. A fifty-three-year old friend even told me sex was starting to feel like a chore, even though he had recently married an attractive woman in her forties.
Starting at about age 30, testosterone levels drop by about 10 percent every decade. At the same time, another factor in the body called Sex Binding Hormone Globulin, or SHBG, is increasing. SHBG traps much of the testosterone that is still circulating and makes it unavailable to exert its effects in the body's tissues. What's left over does the beneficial work and is known as 'bioavailable' testosterone.
Sometime in our forties we begin to produce fewer 'androgens' - male hormones - the major one is testosterone.
For more information on Testosterone, click here
We actually start producing less testosterone earlier than that, but the effects aren't really all that noticeable until sometime in our forties and especially in our fifties.
Usually, we notice the physical changes in our sexuality first.
When it comes to sex, we might think we are feeling less interest in sex because we have had the same partner for a long time, and its just getting kind of boring. We fantasize about having sex with other women.
Anyone who has had sex with a new partner, whether through an affair, or being single and starting to date again, can tell you a new sex partner definitely makes things more exciting. At least for a while.
But men who have had new partners tell me it doesn't last. The fact is, we are simply less interested in sex than we used to be. Our life is moving on. Sex is still satisfying, but it no longer holds such a central place in our consciousness.
There is nothing wrong with feeling less sexual.
Men worry about whether they will still be able to have a full sex life when they are older.
The answer is usually 'Yes!', but it will be different than when they were younger. Different... not less satisfying. In fact it can be more satisfying, because another thing that happens to us at midlife is we become more tuned in to our emotions, and sex is largely an emotional experience. We can feel more. Some men find themselves bursting into tears occasionally with only the slightest provocation.
If that happens to you, don't worry about it. It will pass. But pay attention to it. Maybe its your feelings finally coming to the surface after being 'overruled' for many years.
We also become more tender and compassionate at midlife. All this is good news for sex. Women often complain that their men are too 'physical' about sex. The old 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' approach. We get horny, do a quick bit of foreplay, and get to the 'main act' as quickly as possible. Get on, go at it, go off, climb off, and go to sleep. The woman may be left still aroused. It can be difficult for a woman to have an orgasm from intercourse alone, because the clitoris is far enough removed from the vagina that it doesn't get much stimulation during penetration.
There are some remedies for this. More foreplay, including gentle caressing, taking more time in general, and especially using your tongue, can be a big help. Using a vibrator to stimulate her can be useful too. The kind you strap on your hand, that vibrates your fingers, so you can vibrate her clitoris, works well, because you can use it during intercourse.
Many sex surveys have been done with women (Ann Landers did a big one a few years ago), and what consistently shows up is that women want tenderness, cuddling, intimate talk, and a slow approach to sex. As a man hits midlife, he is more able to provide these things.
They also want to be told they are loved and appreciated. And why you love and appreciate them. Men seem to be able to go longer without receiving a lot of positive feedback (maybe because we are more 'hardened' to not receiving it), but I do not know a single man who does not respond to positive feedback, either at work or at home. Women respond even more.
I remember a couple I was coaching. They ran a small business, and we worked on both their business and their relationship. At one point in the coaching, I asked the man to simply tell his wife what he appreciated about her. He had never done that in 20 years of marriage. He almost choked telling her, as it was so foreign to him (his dad never expressed appreciation for him), but he managed to do it. After that I asked gently that he might tell her that he loved her. Again he struggled, but to his credit, he managed to do it. His wife was in tears, as although she was pretty sure he loved her, she longed to be told those things. I have no doubt that their sex life got quite a bit hotter for a while after that. If he broke down and told her he loved and appreciated her on a regular basis, it would add immensely to the intimacy between them.
If you have trouble expressing your feelings of love and appreciation, get over it. Do whatever you have to in order to screw up your courage and tell your partner what you love and appreciate about them. I learned to do that about 30 years ago, after my first wife died in a car accident, and I realized what I had lost, and how I had not told her I loved her as often as I could have.
I have found that I am more interested in a slow approach these days. I enjoy the smooth feel of my wife's skin as I caress her. I like slow kissing, caressing, maybe some massage at the beginning, and of course the tongue is a wonderful device for bringing her to orgasm a time or two before the 'main event'.
If you are not sure what your wife/partner likes when you make love, ask her. If you do, two things will happen:
- she will be very pleasantly surprised, and appreciate you very much
- she will tell you
It can take courage to ask her about sex. It is so often a taboo subject, loaded with all kinds of emotional baggage and misapprehensions. But asking can make a big difference in your sexual relationship.
The only caveat, or course, is that when she tells you, pay attention, and do what she says to the best of your ability. However, don't do anything that goes against your values.
Check with your gut feeling. If it feels good and maybe a little exciting to try something new, try it.
If you get a negative feeling in your gut, outside of maybe a bit of anxiety because it's something new and you don't know how 'well you'll do', either decline, or talk with your partner to be sure you understand exactly what she is asking for. If you still don't feel good about it, gently decline, and ask if maybe there is something else you can do.
TESTOSTERONE AND YOU