Staying attracted to a partner as they age can be a real challenge.
It’s not easy to get into the mood when all you see are your loved one’s expanding waistline, graying or thinning hair, sagging body parts, and more.
Let’s also remember (gasp!) that you don’t look the same as you used to, either.
So how can you keep things passionate and sexy in the bedroom when you’re both aging?
Here are 3 ways you can keep having passionate sex as you get older.
Search for memory “triggers.”
As you begin any intimate activity, give yourself permission to be carried away by positive triggers that come up. For example, your honey’s smile.
When you see it, let it take you back to the romantic trip the two of you took to Cancun. Your loved one’s body may have changed, but their million-dollar grin can still set your heart a’beatin.
Let the sight of their smile carry you back to the hot afternoon you spent together in your sunbaked, beachside hotel.
Other possible triggers include a loving hug, the scent of their cologne, even the texture of their hair. Let these transport your mind to a time when you were both physically younger and more attractive. Then, enjoy the present together.
Use your imagination.
Introduce role play into your bedroom. You can play doctor, French maid, a driver whose car broke down and needs shelter in a storm, and on and on.
Your bedroom can be your adult sandbox. Dress up or don’t dress at all. Focus on the fun stories and adventures you create together.
Change your expectations.
Be open to a different way to measure sexual success.
For decades, Masters and Johnson told everyone that in order to achieve sexual satisfaction, you have to go through certain steps in a specific order: Excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
First, you challenge yourself to get sexually turned on. After that, you try to encourage your excitement to grow until you achieve orgasm, then complete the experience by rolling over to smoke the proverbial cigarette (like in the movies) or by cuddling or relaxing near each other until you fall asleep.
If you don’t “hit” all of the steps, you may get left feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.
Many experts still use the Masters and Johnson model to explain how most men experience sex, but now there is a new way to understand the female experience.
Dr. Rosemary Basson suggested in 2000 that female sexual desire is a “circle” women enter through numerous possible doorways.
For example, if you are a woman, you don’t always have to be turned on before you initiate or participate in intimate activity.
You can hop into bed because you love your partner and want to meet their needs, because you just want to cuddle, because you are bored, and more.
Once the fun begins, you may start to get turned on. The best news of all is that your time together is still a success, even if you don’t end up having an orgasm.
If you are a man, don’t judge the evening with an orgasm scorecard — if you both had a good time, you win!
So, change your expectations. If you don’t feel turned on by your partner’s beer belly, jump into bed for some yummy hugging. Or get under the covers to give your partner a loving gift, or just have sex to spend some quality time together.
Each of these approaches may also slowly light a fire under your libido. And if you don’t get turned on or achieve an orgasm, you can still call the night a success and take care of your own needs later.
This article was originally published on Your Tango at this link.
Janis Roszler, LMFT, RD, LD/N, CDE, FAND is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Sex Therapist, Registered Dietitian, and award-winning Certified Diabetes Educator. Her books include Intimacy and Diabetes (2019), Approaches to Behaviors (2014), Sex and Diabetes For Him and For Her (2007), Diabetes On Your OWN Terms (2007), and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (2004). Her website is dearjanis.com.