London - Have you stopped peering in the mirror because the crow’s feet you used to have to search for are firmly there to stay?
Maybe you suck in your sagging tummy every time you pass a shop window. And as for sex… have you convinced yourself that it’s all downhill?
Well,you can stop worrying and instead start looking forward to the best sex of your life. According to new research carried out on 26 000 people over 50 in 29 countries, lovemaking does get better with age.
In the study, 88 percent of UK men and women said their relationship was very or extremely physically pleasurable. At least 94 percent agreed they were emotionally satisfied by their partner.
Sex therapist and relationship counsellor Julia Cole says a great sex life is one of the best kept secrets among older couples.
“When we’re younger, all we tend to think about is intercourse, with orgasm as the goal. But as we get older, we find we enjoy the sensations along the way just as much: the view on the journey, if you like, not just the arrival.
Cole says older people also tend to be in their relationships for longer, which creates an intensity between them that improves the sex.”
Other goodies about older sex include:
Particularly after having children together, couples gain what Cole calls “body wisdom”. “It’s a greater acceptance of how you look and an understanding that there’s so much more to us than our appearance.
“In our twenties, we are so concerned with our body image and comparing ourselves to our friends… When we get older, we are more into what pleases us and our partner and don’t care so much about what our friends are doing. This makes our capacity for enjoyment greater.”
Cole says research into the sexual responses of women in their forties has shown that they tend to have more intense orgasms than younger women.
“Through experience, they have learnt that the longer foreplay goes on, the better their orgasm will be. Younger women tend to rush into intercourse more quickly.”
Older couples are better at expressing their needs and wants to each other, says Cole. “Good communication requires subtlety and practice,and many people don’t achieve this until they are in a long-term relationship.’
When we’re younger, the thought of settling down with the same person for the rest of our life may be terrifying. We fret: How will we stave off boredom?
In fact, those in long-term relationships in their forties and beyond are likely to be anything but bored, as Cole explains:
“The mid-life crisis everyone talks about actually happens much earlier. It’s the thirties that are the killer period for sex and relationship problems.
“This is when we worry most about getting older and start questioning everything in our life. At this age we’re close enough to our twenties to remember what we looked like then and to keep comparing the way we look now; we’re likely to have a young family so we’re often tired, bored or resentful.”
Cole says the romantic phase of our relationship has passed, and it’s likely we’ll look at our life and think: “Is this what I really wanted?”
“It’s no coincidence that this is the age at which most couples fall prey to affairs, break up or go for counselling.”
If you’ve been through a soul-searching thirties and your relationship has survived, you could have had your mid-life crisis and not even noticed it. It’s time to have some fun – Daily Mail