| March 15, 2013

It’s nearly impossible to watch television these days without stumbling across a commercial for Viagra or Cialis. The formulas are similar: an attractive, fit, middle-aged couple taking a brisk stroll with a clip in their step and a sparkle in their eye.

The message is simple —great sex is possible at any age—with a little help from your friends.

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People regularly ask me if it actually possible to maintain an active sex life from your fifties and beyond. My answer is always yes. If you are in a relationship with someone you care for and are attracted to, and if you want to continue having sex into your golden years — yes you can!

Luckily, stereotypes are finally changing. Today, people strive to live longer, healthy and more active lives. Many of us want and need to be close our partners as we grow older. Plus, research shows that that elder folks who have a partner do attribute some importance to sex, and many actually rate it very or extremely important.

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Yet many older people are concerned about sex as they age. Invariably there will be physical, medical or emotional changes, and this can impede one’s ability to have and enjoy sex. Some medications or conditions may hinder your sex drive, and a person who is unhappy with weight gain, or how their looks are changing may fear that their partner no longer finds them attractive. These common obstacles are important to understand so you don’t feel alienated if you are experiencing them. Please consider that most problems can be overcome with tenacity, education and communication. 

There are many things a couple can do to create an active sex life. Consider the following:

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Make your partner a priority. Take some time to assess your entire relationship. Are you getting along with each other? Finding time for each other? Are you being loving, kind, and complimentary?

Communication is king. If it’s been awhile since you’ve made love to your partner, a great way to begin is with a simple talk. Tell your partner that you love them and find them attractive, and you are interested in rekindling your sex life. Share your thoughts, feelings and expectations.

Discuss what sex means to each of you. There are many ways to experience intimacy, and intercourse is only one path. Create a sex plan that is comfortable and feasible for both of you.

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Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take it slow and steady. Be patient with yourself and with your partner.

Set the tone. A relaxing and calm atmosphere is a good way to relieve anxiety and stress. You may wish to create a serene mood with relaxing music and dimmed light.

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If you try the above suggestions and are having trouble getting your plan off the ground, don’t get frustrated of capitulate. Depending on your particular issue, you may want to consult a medical professional or a couples counselor or sex therapist. There are many valuable resources available to help you create and maintain an active sex life. You just need to have the will to make it happen and the ability to see it through.