Suggestions for Your Sexual Self — This Could Be Fun!

If you lead a hectic life, filled with the responsibilities of work, home, and family, there's little time to think about yourself — your body, your mind, your pleasure. As your body begins to change with age, you may begin to think of it as an adversary instead of an ally. Something you've always depended on (though you may not have lavished much attention on it) that's letting you down just when you need it most. Many women simply lose touch with their physicality, choosing to ignore their physical condition and respond in the out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach we all know so well.

Enjoying Your Body

The truth is that your body matters. All of this book's recommendations for exercise, health care, regular checkups, relaxation techniques, hair and skin treatments, and good diet are aimed at the important goal of taking care of your body so you can enjoy it. By feeling confident and at ease about your body, you're more likely to enjoy the pleasures of its sexual response. Learn to include your sexuality in your identity; humans are sexual beings, and sexual enjoyment is good for the body, mind, and spirit.

Explore your sexual interests and fantasies. Your sexual orientation, desires, and needs are assets, not liabilities. Many doctors and sex therapists encourage their patients to masturbate to increase their ability to respond to sexual stimulation and to combat stress and anxiety.

Reach out for more information on sexual response. Visit your local bookstore, where you can find many self-help books on improving your sexual response. Even reading a steamy novel can help you to become aroused. Or rent a film with some love scenes featuring a favorite movie star. You don't have to turn to pornography, just allow yourself to explore and enjoy the sexual arousal you might normally hold back.

Fact

Exercise offers a number of benefits for women at any age, but did you know that it could give you a real sexual boost? Some studies have shown that people who practice some form of regular exercise achieve orgasm more easily than do people who don't exercise at all.

Be Creative

Many women expect spontaneous bursts of admiration from their partners, even if they haven't been demonstrating much interest in their body or their sexuality lately. Take some time to do the things that will make you look and feel more beautiful. Get a new haircut or have a facial. Stop by the cosmetics counter at your local department store and ask for some ideas for revitalizing your appearance. When you look better, you feel more sexually appealing.

Would a new nightgown make you feel sexier? If you've grown self-conscious about your midlife physique, wearing a flattering negligee during lovemaking can help you feel more confident and relaxed. Silky, flattering lingerie comes in a variety of styles and sizes, so visit a lingerie store to check out your options. And while you're there, try some of the new bust-shaping brassieres. Many women in midlife have cleavage for the first time, so why not take advantage of it?

Essential

As he ages, your male partner may need more stimulation in order to achieve an erection. As you're learning to enjoy your sexuality more, don't forget to pay attention to your partner's needs. Many couples find that as their sexual relationship matures they draw increasing pleasure from the non-intercourse parts of their lovemaking, and use their hands and mouths more frequently during sex.

Setting the mood is all-important for revitalizing your lovemaking. Lower the lights, burn some aromatic candles, and play some soft, sensual music. Now is the time to relax and explore sensual pleasures. Put away the sweatpants and dress for dinner — if you're dining at home, why not try a “French maid” costume? Use your imagination and have fun with sex. Be creative, experiment, and be open with your partner about your feelings and responses to whatever you experience together.

Don't Forget about Birth Control

There's an old joke: What's the best birth control for people over fifty? Answer: Nudity. Not only is this obviously a bit psychologically discouraging, it's also false. Remember, until you have gone for twelve months without a period or until your doctor or health care provider has run appropriate blood tests to determine the levels of hormones your body is producing, you could ovulate and, therefore, become pregnant after sexual activity. Many women stop using birth control after they've missed four or five periods and feel that they're no longer fertile. That's a mistake; a surprise pregnancy in your mid-forties can be a tremendous problem for both you and your partner. Again, be smart, and use contraceptives for a year after your last period.

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