With age comes wisdom, and that’s especially true when it comes to knowledge in the bedroom.
People might assume they’ve hit their sexual peak by the time they’re in their 20s, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, according to a Match.com report from this year, single women reported having the best sex of their lives at age 66; for men, that age was 64.
We asked men and women in their 60s and above what they wish they had known about sex when they were in their 20s. Below, they share the most enlightening bits of sex-related wisdom they’ve picked up over the years.
1. It’s a waste of time to compare your sex life to anyone else’s.
“The internet makes it easy for people to peep into others’ sexuality, and while there are many benefits to this openness, it can also create a lot of unnecessary pressure to try the newest, edgiest, sexiest things. This pressure can make people feel self-critical, uncertain and even judgmental toward people who are into different things — and what’s more, all of those negative emotions just reinforce the idea that sexual expression is bad and should be taboo. Instead of giving into the impulse to compare your sex life to others’, remember that every relationship is different and that everyone’s sexual interests change at a different pace. Take people’s advice with a grain of salt.” ― Sandra LaMorgese, 61
2. Figure out what makes you feel sexy and run with it.
“Find something that’s your secret and makes you feel sexy. Mine is my gold waist chain and no panties. Oops, guess the secret is out.” ― Brenda Braxton, 61
3. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Figure out what you want in bed and ask for it.
“We are entitled to sexual pleasure ― not just pleasing a partner, but also pleasing ourselves (solo sex is real sex!) and teaching our partners what works to get us aroused. As a young woman, I thought that a partner would ‘just know’ how to pleasure me. I wasn’t experienced enough or confident enough to realize that I was in charge of communicating what I wanted. Mindreading is vastly overrated!” ― Joan Price, 74, senior sex educator and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50
4. Take the pressure off by remembering that every sexual encounter doesn’t need to be mind-blowingly awesome.
“As long as there’s trust within the relationship, it doesn’t matter what you do in bed as long as you’re both enjoying it. The point is that you’re connecting as bodies as well as souls; without that, it’s hard, if not impossible, to maintain a romantic bond. When I was in my 20s, I thought that sex-as-sex mattered more than it does; that the health of a love relationship rose and fell with the intensity (quality) of each erotic encounter. That’s way too much pressure to put on sex. You just need to show up, have fun and let your partner know they’re desired.” ― Mark Matousek, 61, author of Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story
5. The right partner will be invested in satisfying your needs.
“In my 20s, it was all about pleasing the other person, which implied my needs didn’t matter. In my 60s I know that is absolutely backward thinking. You are not with the right partner if they are not equally invested in satisfying your physical, emotional and spiritual needs.” ― Mary Ann Holand, 61
6. Get out of your head so you can get into your body.
“As a single (kinky) woman, I have learned to delight in the suspense of the touch and tease, enjoy the mind-body connection of tantric sex and dabble in open-minded experimentation with mutual satisfaction; not just following what your partner wants, but to melt into each other reciprocally and get lost in the pleasure of the moment.” ― Anne Rosenberg, 61
7. Know that your sexuality will evolve over time.
“What turns us on and gets us off in our 20s may change slightly or radically as we age. The best insurance for great sex later in life is opening our minds and expanding our notion of what great sex is. Explore, experiment, keep an open mind, try to express yourself sexually with a defined end goal. Enjoy the journey!” ― Price
8. Good sex is less about your appearance and more about the energy and confidence you bring to the bedroom.
“While looking a certain way may be a nice confidence-booster in the bedroom, your energy is way more important than what your body looks like when it comes to creating an exciting experience in the bedroom. Everyone, including your partner, has things they’d like to change about their appearance, but there’s no faster way to kill the mood than to fixate on those physical insecurities. Instead, focus on how things feel and what you want to feel. Give in to feeling sensations and desire, and let your energy take over. Once you master this, sex will never be the same.” ― LaMorgese
9. Stop playing the shame game so you can embrace your desires.
“Shame is the No. 1 killer of sexual desire. The older you get, the more you realize just how much shame you carry within you and how much self-consciousness, prudishness and judgment limit your ability to enjoy sex. It’s impossible to be free, creative and relaxed in bed with a chorus of dos and don’ts in your head.
In my 20s, I was so caught up with trying to be ‘good’ and spiritually correct that I couldn’t completely enjoy myself ― or the other person. Now that I’m in my 60s, and actually trust myself, those worries are gone. You can be both a devil and angel in bed, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because you finally know who you are and aren’t as threatened by your wayward parts.” ― Matousek
10. Casual sex can be fun, but a shared emotional connection can really take things up a notch.
“Being in love with your partner is everything. Without that deeper, spiritual connection, it’s just physical gratification. When you are in love and making love, it transcends the physical connection into a soul connection. Powerful beyond words.” ― Holand