Why it’s super sexy to let old age get on top of you
Women over 50 are having better sex than millennials, according to a new survey
It’s easy to believe millennials exist in a world of constant erotic possibility, replete with Tinder dates, smart sex-toys and polyamorous relationships. If that’s really the case my late mother’s favourite maxim rings true: too much choice makes people unhappy. For, according to a new sex survey, women aged 24-35 are the least satisfied with their sex lives with 49% reporting disappointment, while those aged 55-64 are the most sexually contented – a mere 29% felt short-changed. The report from a public health service interviewed 7,367 women and found that across all age groups a sizeable 42% of women didn’t feel their sexual needs were being met.
This data comes hard on the heels of another wide-ranging report which found millennials were losing their virginity later than their parents, while one in eight had not had sex by the age of 26. Meanwhile, the dating site Match.com reported in March that the age at which women experienced the best sex of their lives was 66.
In my research on sex it has become clear that the most confident, truthful writing about sex was coming from post-menopausal women, who’d discovered that men of all ages make passes at women who wear reading glasses. The sexual serenity of older women isn’t news to anyone who’s been covering the dating and mating rituals of the wider populace for years. My generation (by which I mean women born in the 1950s and 1960s) have largely resisted the notion of acting our age, or swapping sex for jigsaw puzzles and gin. We’re the consumer-savvy shoppers with disposable income and excitement about life.We are better informed than previous generations on the libido-boosting benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Many mid-life women do yoga and pilates, which help tone pelvic floors and keep us limber in bed. We’re aware regular aerobic exercise also keeps us fit, lithe and interested in sex, so we play tennis, run, swim or go to boot camps. Middle-aged women are also more aware of the impact of diet on our desires. We eat complex grains, fish and lots of vegetables and take vitamins to boost our joints. As one 59-year-old friend says: “You won’t have a great sex if you’re feeling arthritic.”
Above all else confidence and self-knowledge are the key components in older women’s erotic equilibrium. Women take far longer than men to discover their true sexual selves. Our 20s and early 30s are often consumed by the conundrum of how to respond to male desire and make our partners happy. We’re too insecure in our bodies to enjoy them and often ignorant of our personal geography. Many females remain unaware that the clitoris is actually like a bulb with two long elongated masses (or roots) of erectile tissue that extend down along the vagina walls .
The G-spot, meanwhile, is a bit like Shangri-La: you’ve heard rumours it offers heaven on earth but aren’t sure it exists (I’ve been assured by Dr Beverley Whipple, who re-mapped the G-spot in the 1980s, that almost all women, given sufficient guidance, should be able to track it down). It can be the work of half a lifetime to undo the social conditioning that tells us we should like the sort of sex which has been group-approved by consumer culture: fast, frantic, with Brazilian waxes and black, lacy lingerie.
Today’s young women also face the prevalence of porn culture, where too many male peers get their sex education from videos featuring wham-bam intercourse. You would never guess the fact that 70% of women do not reach orgasm by penetrative sex alone from the moaning groaning cacophony of online porn, or that 5% of all women have never experienced an orgasm at all.No wonder so many women take until 55 to feel true ownership of their bodies. This is a time of life when couples are past the hurdles of establishing careers and raising young children. And by mid-life you suddenly have some leisure time to explore each other’s capacity for pleasure. As one 60-something friend says: “It’s a time of slow, sensual exploration, when you finally feel good in your skin.”
Quite a few women in the 55-65 age bracket are in second marriages or new relationships feeling as giddy as any 20-something, but with the sexual experience of half a lifetime to draw on. 65-year-old Rose Rouse and 57-year-old Suzanne Noble set up the Advantages of Age website and Facebook page to celebrate this mid-life renaissance, highlighting all the upsides of tipping into the 55-plus age bracket with grace and joie de vivre.They both point out some women in this age bracket live perfectly happy sexless lives by choice; the main issue at this stage of life is having the self-assurance not to feel pressured into doing anything that feels uncomfortable. Rouse said: “As women get older they’re more relaxed in who they are and know more about what they want. This includes the terrain of desire and sexuality. They are more willing to point out to their partners what little rituals they enjoy. They’re no longer passive, but active co-creators, and that creates pleasure in itself.”
Every woman I spoke to while writing this article agreed that sex in your 50s and 60s is all about quality, not quantity. One 65-year-old writer pointed out: “Exhaustion is the true libido killer, so libido returns when you step off the career treadmill and into a space where your have more leisure time.”It’s also about enjoying a less frenzied pace of lovemaking. A former colleague who’s recently been on a Tantra course said: “I once mocked Sting and Trudie [Styler] for boring on about Tantra. But now I’m 56 I know you can feel huge pleasure in reaching a sexual plateau and not tipping over into instant orgasm. Tantra’s really about sensuality and stopping being so goal-orientated when it comes to sex.” Life in the slow sex lane has never sounded so tempting.
- © The Daily Telegraph