Several recent studies have made the surprising (to them, not to me) discovery that many women over 50 are having good, even great, sex and that some claim they are having the best sex of their lives. One analyzed “sexual activity, desire and satisfaction” in a group of women over 40 (with a median age of 67) and found that the majority of them were satisfied with their sex lives and that the proportion actually increased with age.
Because I have talked to literally hundreds of those happy folks as research for my books, including How We Love Now: Women Talk About Intimacy After 50, I can boil the reasons for that uptick down to eight.
- You can separate sex from reproduction. In fact, you have to. Not being able to get pregnant removes the calamitous risk/life-changing blessing that has accompanied sex since puberty. Now the sex act is simply that, an act. Emotions may be as fraught as ever, but the act itself has become just another fun activity, like a game of tennis.
- You can separate sex from love. Of course you always could have sex with someone you didn’t love, but since women who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s spent so many years invested in romantic myths — which linked sex, marriage and love — a purely sexual hook-up had a very bad image. Today, many women are on their own (whether through widowhood, divorce or never having married), and while they may occasionally get lonely, they are looking for a good time as often as they are looking for a long-term relationship. Relying on the initiative, smarts and independence that come with “second adulthood,” more than a few of them have no intention of making a major commitment. The fact that for many women sex doesn’t have to be burdened with commitment makes it possible for them to take an encounter on its own terms, whether it's “the real thing,” a friendship “with benefits,” or simply great sex.
- Click here for the other 6 reasons on Next Avenue
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