man and woman in bed

When you were younger, you probably didn’t even want to think about older couples having sex. But now that you yourself have entered this stage of life, the thought of sex should be natural. Sex doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have an expiration date.

Keep reading to get answers to seven of your top questions about having sex in your 50s and 60s.  

1. What’s going on down there?

You may have already noticed some emotional changes that have accompanied menopause, but did you know your vagina and vulva are physically changing as well? As your estrogen changes during menopause, these tissues are thinning and becoming less flexible. You’re also probably experiencing vaginal dryness.

All of these changes can affect the way you experience sex, but they can also be addressed with fairly simple solutions. Changing sexual positions and using over-the-counter lubrication or vaginal moisturizers, for example, may help you maintain sexual enjoyment.

2. I’m no longer interested in sex. Is this normal?

A dip in libido is a common complaint made by many women of menopausal age. But this dip doesn’t have to be permanent. Continuing to engage in sexual activity, either with your partner or through self-stimulation, may help you push past this period of lessened desire. Talking to your healthcare provider may also provide further insight into possible solutions.

3. Is it safe to resume sex if it’s been a while?

You can still safely resume sexual activity after a long period of abstinence. However, going long periods of time without having sex after menopause can actually cause your vagina to shorten and narrow. By abstaining, you may be setting yourself up for more painful encounters in the future.

Depending on how long it has been, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about a vaginal dilator. This tool may help stretch your vaginal tissues back to a place that will improve sexual function and enjoyment.

4. What if sex is too painful?

Even without a long period of abstinence, sex after menopause is sometimes just more painful. If you’re experiencing increased pain with intercourse, particularly to the point that your desire has been greatly limited as a result, try experimenting with:

  • lubrication
  • vaginal moisturizers
  • foreplay
  • different sexual positions

You may also want to consider seeing your healthcare provider. Sometimes pain can be caused by infections or other treatable conditions. Seeing your healthcare provider can allow you to get the proper treatment as well as gain additional advice for your specific concerns.

5. What positions work best?

As we get older, our bodies start to change in ways that can sometimes make certain sexual positions painful. A position that was comfortable before may seem physically unbearable now.

Using a pillow under your back for the missionary position can add comfort. Also, positions where you’re on top will allow you to control penetration, which may be beneficial if you’re experiencing increased pain during intercourse. You may find that standing positions are more comfortable for both you and your partner, compared to positions that involve either partner being on their hands and knees.  

6. What if my partner is the one who is disinterested?

Women aren’t the only ones who experience shifts in sexuality and how they achieve sexual pleasure. Men are also going through some shifts in their 50s and 60s.

Some men begin to experience issues with maintaining an erection and ejaculation at this age. Don’t think of these issues as setbacks, but as a time for exploration. Both of you can work together to relearn what’s sexually satisfying to you now. Also, don’t place too much pressure on every encounter ending in an orgasm. Instead, focus on increasing intimacy through sexual touch and foreplay, and then follow those desires where they may lead you.

7. Are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) still a concern?

Being of menopausal age doesn’t protect you from STDs. When beginning a sexual relationship with a new partner, you should still use safe sex practices. Using condoms or some other form of protection, as well as discussing STD testing and your expectations of monogamy are important features of beginning a new sexual relationship.