As a child, we used to call grandmas OAPs meaning Old Age Pensioners.In elementary school, our teacher taught us that women’s sexual functioning declines after midlife, manifested by reductions in arousal and orgasm, and increases in sexual pain. According to that erotic topic, our teacher explained that old age is linked to educed sexual activity and satisfaction, which was a confirmation of the long held the myth that sex is only for the young.That was why it wasn’t shocking to me when few days ago i saw on twitter how grandmas in dire need of sexual satisfaction are courting gigolos.The young generation is rewriting sex traditions because in our youths, it was hardly possible to hear of gigolos.Thanks to social media and other online platforms, grannies are feeling like sweet sixteen all over again.Most of them are baby boomers generation who made divorce look like child play by separating with their partners unapologetically and getting on with their lives afterwards.However as I keep growing old myself, I think various factors makes it possible to challenges the idea that sex is only for young people, as well as raising questions about the biomedical model that underpins the idea.We all know about cougars who even at their 70s are still sexually active.In India, women have in recent months defied science and are having children at the age of 60s and 70s wondering whether its healthy for both the kids and the grannies.No doubt majority of old women are still sexually active.The strongest predictor of sexual activity is the belief that sex was important. Physical levels of sexual functioning are irrelevant.Does this suggest that sex for women who are past midlife crisis which normally ends at the age of 40 is all in the mind or it is true that the mind can certainly affect the body? Sex therapists have long argued that believing sex is important has been been found to be the strongest predictor of embodied sexual desire in older women.Conversely, even when mid life women report lowered sexual response or vaginal dryness, the majority still report sexual satisfaction. So making assumptions about women’s sexuality based on clinical measures of sexual functioning is clearly problematic. Attitudes to sex are more important than biomedical changes.It is also common to see chronic illness affect older women’s sexual functioning. Online conversations both on web and social media, it is clear old women still want to engage in sex and they always derive new ways of being intimate included but not limited to kissing, touching, masturbation and hugging, as well as use of sex toys and lubrication.
Sex toys are common in Europe while in North America lubricants are most preferred.Indeed, many couples reported that their sex life was better as a result. They spend more time having sex and enjoy a sense of increased intimacy.Many older people engage in masturbation for sexual pleasure, countering the notion that it is a sexual act pursued only by the young. But there is also evidence in their online activities that ideas about what activities count as sexual become broader as age progresses.The sexual well being of older people is growing, there are gaps that wait to be filled, particularly the ways that ageing intersects with gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, disability and ethnic group. Studies have shown that a fifth of women at midlife have reported to have a desire for non-penetrative sex.The foreplay reminiscent of youth can bring a lot of pleasure, often lasting longer than sex focused on intercourse. It also helps avoid the sexual pain caused by vaginal dryness following menopause.In heterosexual relationships where older men experience erectile problems, sex can stop altogether. This can leave women feeling sexually frustrated and men depressed.Medical interventions can provide a solution for some, but the other option is non-penetrative sex. Perhaps this is why women in lesbian relationships are less likely to report sexual changes as they age. They were never tied to narrow notions of sex as intercourse in the first place.Being willing to change sexual activities, talking about sex and having a good relationship are major predictors of continued sexual activity at midlife and beyond. Finding a new partner, feeling more positive towards your current partner, or adult children leaving home can rekindle a couple’s sex life.The increasing number of older women being treated for sexually transmitted infections reflects a surge in the sex lives of those separated. Absence of safe sex knowledge, combined with increased risk of sexual infections because of vulva and vaginal mucosa thinning, are the downside to this rekindled sex drive.Good sex is not the preserve of the young. Many women experience increased sexual pleasure and desire at midlife and into their older years.The absence of a partner is the biggest predictor of older women having no sex life at all.Improved sex after midlife crisis can be as a result of increased self-confidence, being less worried about the petty issues and having more time to focus on pleasure. Women who feel great in their bodies, and who have a lower BMI, are known to have higher sexual activity.Not having to worry about pregnancy after menopause is also a big benefit. Women’s mental health and well being generally improves with age. This can also influence sexual activity and satisfaction.Sexual body may change as women age, but pleasure and satisfaction doesn’t change as much.