This Is The Best Age For Sex For Men And Women

Age ain’t nothing but a number, especially when it comes to having truly satisfying sex. 

According to Match.com’s annual Singles in America report, it’s not Tinder- and Grindr-using millennials who are having the best sex of their lives. It’s their parents: On average, single women reported having their best sex at age 66. For single men, the sweet spot was 64.

The findings, based on a survey of 5,000 singles of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels across the U.S, come as no surprise to sex therapists. Sex tends to improve once you’ve learned that your sex appeal isn’t based entirely on your physical appearance. Unfortunately, that’s a lesson that takes most people years to learn, said Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and the creator of Finishing School, an online orgasm course for women.

“With my clients in their 20s and 30s, self-consciousness is a huge factor in why they aren’t able to enjoy sex: Younger people are too in their heads about what their bodies look like, how they’re performing and what their partner is thinking. Eventually, that wears off,” Marin told HuffPost. “Even between the 20s and the 30s, there’s already a significant decrease in self-consciousness.”

The survey finding is a welcome counterpoint to commonly held beliefs about sex in our 50s and beyond. Why do we worry it’s all downhill once we hit a certain age?

In part, it’s because our bodies do change as we age, and as a result, so does sex, said Celeste Hirschman, a sex therapist who co-authored the book Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion with her business partner Danielle Harel.

Come mid-life, our bodies may not be as taut as they once were. Sex itself may be full of new challenges: Women may grapple with pain or dryness brought on by menopause, and many older men have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. 

Still, there are workarounds that, in many cases, make sex just as enjoyable, if not more than, it was before, Hirschman said. 

“Yes, some kinds of sex become more difficult, but the plus is that these changes generally make communication and creativity much more essential,” Hirschman said. “When we’re young, sex is often a swift race to penetrative sex without much foreplay or fantasy added in. When penetrative sex is less of a goal, people can become more creative and sex can actually get a lot better.”

Realizing that an orgasm and penetration isn’t the be-all-end-all-of sex can be a game changer, regardless of age. In fact, Hirschman said a client once boasted that the best sex she’d ever had was with a partner with erectile dysfunction.

“They were together for a year and she said she had the best orgasms of her life, and he had great ones, too, just not from penetration.”

Another reason post-50 sex may be so fulfilling? The older you get, the less compelled you feel to put up with rigid sexual expectations and roles, said Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles.

That’s especially true of older women, many of whom spent their 20s and 30s searching for a partner to start a family with some day.

“That search often shapes what women in their 20s and 30s are willing to do and tolerate with their partners,” Resnick Anderson said. “As women age, they become more selfish, in a good way: No more worries about getting pregnant, no more worries about their kids barging in on them. Plus, many have an increased comfort with their bodies and a healthy sense of entitlement to sexual satisfaction.”

“Sex at 65 or 70 can feel carefree and easy because it is more about pleasure and connection and less about performance and ‘selling yourself.’” Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles

As Resnick Anderson explained, post-50 women (and men) are finally “taking ownership of their sexuality” and reaping the benefits. More modern and progressive views about sex allow women to celebrate their sexuality in a way that they couldn’t 30 or 40 years ago, the therapist added, pointing to one of her clients as an example. 

“After 40 years of faking orgasms, a 63-year-old client of mine actually got to know her body and what genuinely felt good to her,” Resnick Anderson said. “Sex at 65 or 70 can feel carefree and easy because it’s more about pleasure and connection and less about performance and ‘selling yourself.’”

Younger people would be wise to adopt the same sexual confidence, Hirshman added. 

“As a sex therapist, I hope people start to get to know themselves sexually at a younger age and feel comfortable asking for what they want from their partners,” Hirshman said. “Lowering shame and judgement around sex will mean more people having great sex at every age!”

The Real Trick To Aging May Just Be To Ignore It

Ann Brenoff’s “On The Fly” is a column about navigating growing older ― and a few other things.

I spent my 68th birthday on an exam table at the doctor’s office, squinting at my X-rays on the wall and listening to the man in the white jacket talk about why my left knee has betrayed me.

It buckles when I go up and down stairs, yelps loudly when I try to cross my legs, and jolts me awake from a deep sleep if I accidentally shift positions and bump it. The discomfort was enough for me to choose to spend my birthday in the company of the nice knee doctor.

Before my left knee started acting up, I spent a few weeks with my right thumb doing this weird snapping thing. Not really painful, more like a seriously major annoyance for someone who types for a living ― and yes, I still type for a living. And the snapping thumb came on the heels of my big toe joint aching in a way that WebMD was pretty sure could only be gout. It wasn’t. A few months before the non-gout episode, there was a flare-up of my plantar fasciitis ― a foot problem in which every step makes you wish you had a bullet stuffed in your mouth to bite. That one forced me to hang up my hiking boots until the prescription orthotics arrived. I may have proposed marriage to the physical therapist who saw me three times a week and rubbed my feet in all the right places. The man is gifted; I mean it.

So what does this all mean, all these aches and pains and weirdness affecting my body parts? It means that I am getting older. It also means that I might actually meet my medical plan’s deductible this year.

But mostly what it means is that if I want to avoid becoming someone who spends half her week seeing doctors and the other half waiting in line at the pharmacy, I need to get out in front of this. 

I understand that body parts wear out, and my superhero may be Bionic Woman, but that’s about as close as I’ll come to ever being one. I also know that pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. But I’ve come around to believe that the key to successful aging rests in your ability to ignore the creaks in the floorboards.

If you run to the doctor for every twitch or tingle, you will spend (the rest of) your life there. Me? I’d rather keep company with folks less focused on growing old together and more into staying young together. 

So this is my plan: I’m going to will myself to rise above what hurts. I’m putting my mind over my matter. I won’t ignore serious pain ― nor am I suggesting that you do, either ― but I will raise the bar on what constitutes “serious.” 

My first line of defense will be my ice pack and my heating pad. I will continue to walk my dogs, hike my trails, and park the car in the spot farthest from the door to get my daily steps in. I will sing a song in my head to distract myself from any body parts that don’t feel like going along for the ride. I will take stairs, not elevators; I will stand, not sit; I will follow the “use it or lose it” rule whenever and for whatever possible.

It’s not greater longevity that I’m seeking. Frankly, I would rather die than live to be 100, which I suppose is actually what would happen. What I want, though, is to live as fully as I can for as long as I can. But when doing so requires a visit to the nice knee doctor who proclaims it is “time for surgery,” I may just reserve the right to take my ice pack and walk away singing “Have A Little Faith In Me”  on behalf of my knee. 

A Stronger You at Every Age

stay-strong-tank

Josesph Montezinos

Unlike a sore throat or stomachache, which demand your attention, bones and muscles dont complain much unless something major—like a break or a pull—goes wrong. But these quiet, graceful supporters need regular TLC to help your body handle the load of daily life. Heres how to keep your bones and muscles strong and capable now and in the decades to come.

Your 20s and 30s: Bone Up.
Your bones have reached 90% of their peak mass by the time you reach your 20s; after age 30 or so, the best you can do is maintain the amount youve built up. So consider this your last chance for growth! Make sure your daily diet includes 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption. If you cant get the full dose from food, bridge the gap with a supplement, but realize that with calcium, more is not better. “New data shows that excessive calcium in supplement form increases the risk of kidney stones and possibly vascular diseases,” says Felicia Cosman, MD, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. So consume no more than 2,500 milligrams a day, she says.

Build those biceps.
Your ability to build muscle also peaks in your 20s. And if you dont do any strength training, your muscle mass will start to decline—over the next 20 years, you could lose as much as half a pound of muscle per year. If youre pressed for time, you only really need to target eight major muscle groups: biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, core (including lower back), and shoulders. You dont even have to hit them separately—just do a basic sequence of squats, lunges, push-ups, biceps curls, and triceps dips (two sets of 15 reps, three times a week).

Kick butts.
Besides the myriad other reasons why you shouldnt smoke—hello, cancer!—add bone health to the list. “Smoking reduces the efficiency of the bone-building cells,” Dr. Cosman says. “Plus, it lowers your bodys production of estrogen, which could cause you to go through menopause at a younger age and put you at risk for osteoporosis.”
 

 

[ pagebreak ]
Your 40s:Pack in protein.
If youve been forgoing iron (the dumbbell kind), muscle continues to disappear in this decade—at twice the rate it did in the previous two. “Your muscles start to become infiltrated with fat—you turn from flank steak to rump roast,” says Vonda Wright, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The good news: Strength can be significantly improved in as little as three months. To maximize the benefits of weight-lifting, up your protein intake: “You cant build muscle without it,” says Dr. Wright, author of Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age. Aim to eat 0.36 grams per pound of body weight daily; a 150-pound woman would need about 54 grams. Good sources include lean meats (30 grams of protein in a 3 1/2-ounce chicken breast), low-fat dairy products (15 grams in 1/2 cup of cottage cheese), and beans (7–10 grams in 1/2 cup of cooked beans).

Jump to it. Building hip and back strength now will help you fend off osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass or density most prevalent in women over 50. Several times a week for a few minutes at a time, in addition to your regular workouts, jump rope, perform jumping jacks, do small side-to-side jumps in the driveway. Or simply do any kind of exercise in which youre on your feet, moving your bodys own weight—like racket sports, dance classes, or power-walking—for at least 30 minutes, three or four times weekly.
 

 

[ pagebreak ]

stretch-to-floor

Milena Boniek/Getty Images

Your 50s:Take it up a notch.
Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the five to seven years after menopause. Counteract the drain by upping your calcium to 1,200 milligrams (and continue getting 600 IU of vitamin D) daily. If youre drinking fortified juices or other beverages, be sure to shake them well before pouring, as the calcium often sinks to the bottom.

Because some recent studies suggest that calcium supplements in postmenopausal women could lead to a higher risk of heart attacks, Dr. Cosman recommends getting as much calcium from food as possible, and supplementing minimally. And stick with those weights: Numerous studies show that consistent strength training not only makes muscles stronger but also increases bone density 1 to 3% in the spine and hip—the two areas most prone to fractures in women.

Plan ahead.
All women should have had a DEXA (bone-density) scan by age 65—unless youre at risk for osteoporosis, in which case you may need one earlier. Risk factors include family history; ethnicity (Caucasian and Asian women are most at risk); low body weight (a body-mass index of 19 or under); and early menopause (before age 45), either naturally or due to a hysterectomy or removal of ovaries. Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors now so you can minimize their impact—and maximize your strength in the future.

Health24.com | Cardio sessions may literally make your brain bigger

When you hit the gym, chances are you’re thinking more about how your body will benefit rather than how your brain will.

But as it turns out, all that time spent on the treadmill is doing your noggin a serious favour.

Read more: How eating avocados may help slow down your brain’s ageing

New research from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) at Western Sydney University and the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK shows that aerobic activity can improve your memory and overall brain health as you age.

The study, published in NeuroImage, looked at brain scans of 737 people who were either totally healthy, had mild brain deterioration (like Alzheimer’s) or had a diagnosed mental illness like depression or schizophrenia. Their ages ranged from 24 to 76 years old (the average being 66).

Read more: The treat that raises your Alzheimer’s risk

Participants in the study did all types of cardio – the stationary bike, walking and running – two to five times a week for anywhere between three months and two years.

By the end of the 14 clinical trials, researchers found that even though exercise didn’t have an impact on the overall size of the hippocampus (the part of your brain that controls memory), the left region of it actually did get bigger.

“Our data showed that, rather than actually increasing the size of the hippocampus per se, the main ‘brain benefits’ are due to aerobic exercise slowing down the deterioration in brain size,” Dr Joseph Firth, research fellow at NICM, said in a statement.

“In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance program for the brain.”

Read more: 8 cardio exercises that burn more calories than running

This is all due to a chemical your brain creates when you do any type of aerobic exercise called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), Dr Firth says.

As we’ve reported in the past, adding 30 to 45 minutes of cardio into your weekly workout routine can also help you build muscle and burn fat.

“There is also evidence that at the right intensity and duration, cardio can build the aerobic capacity of your fast-twitch muscle cells, the ones needed to produce raw strength and power,” Dr Chris Frankel, exercise physiologist and Director of Human Performance at TRX, told Men’s Health in 2015. “That can potentially improve your lifting performance.”

So the next time you’re heading to the gym, think about how much cardio you’ve gotten in lately. Your brain will thank you.

This article was originally featured on www.mh.co.za

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X

The Difference Between Being 53 And 23 In A List So Exhausting I Need To Take A Nap

I go to bed at 10 and get up at 5; not the reverse. Seems like every time I visit the doctor he finds a potentially life-threatening disease—then tells me not to worry. I worry a lot more. When I do high-impact cardio my back achieves complete failure before I do. I’m at my happiest in bed, alone. I jest, of course: My dog takes up half the space. My biggest fear when flying is not crashing; it’s being seated next to the window without easy access to the bathroom.

When I look at my mother I often see someone else—me. I can’t remember what appointments I have this week, but they probably have something to do with that life-threatening disease. Please don’t ask me what I did yesterday: I panic under pressure. I’m furious when friends cancel last-minute, until I remember it means I don’t have to deal with the hassle of trains and figuring out what to wear and—Damn, Heather just soared past me on Words with Friends! My night has purpose.

I have friends who are getting sick, but this time it’s from illnesses I’d heard about growing up. Unless it’s free I have no patience for crowds or bad seats—sorry, Barbra. Binge-watching is the new binge-drinking, and unless you mean “Popcorn and Pixar” I don’t PNP. I’m still attracted to older men, except that most of them are now younger than I am. I’ve seen more dicks on my phone than I have in real life.

I shave my back as often as I shave my beard, but at least I don’t have much gray hair. What there is I refer to as the “silver lining.” I’ve learned that “You have a lovely shaped head” is meant as a compliment. And that only thick-haired people say it. And that I’m sure they have grotesque-shaped heads. I like muffins and tops but not my muffin top. My favorite foods are fattening; so are my least favorite. I don’t care if you’re the cutest go-go boy on the planet; if you don’t know who the Go-Go’s are I just can’t even.

Even though I don’t have children, I can be a Daddy, a DILF, or, if I gain ten pounds, a Dad Bod example. And that if I stopped working out to actually raise kids, something different altogether: Discarded. I’ve learned that we never learn, and that accepting this is unacceptable.

When I run into longtime neighbors on the street, we discuss arthritis, pinched nerves, hip problems, food allergies, skin rashes, cataracts, and which remedies work best. And we are referring to our pets. No matter how simple the instructions, I will always return from the store with the wrong item. Would it have killed you to use FreshDirect? I don’t care if you’re the cutest go-go boy on the planet; if you make me wrap it up first, it’s probably not going to wake up before I go-go.

I’ve learned that the people who make restaurant menus are in cahoots with the eyeglass people…and are Nazis. When I go on a date, I’m now judged, not on my looks and personality, but on my ability to fit in with their furniture, which has an enormously large collection of brand-name baggage. And that traveling isn’t the only time men search for an upgrade.

I no longer max-out my credit cards but one trip to TJ Maxx means I might have to cut my closet space in half. I can no longer bear to lie in the sun and I survive winter about as well as the night watch. I’ve learned that our country has hit bottom so many times it’s like two-for-one night at the Eagle. And that I’ll never learn to take it. I’ve learned that my political views have changed a lot of people’s minds. And that I still have a sense of humor.

I’ve learned that friends come and go, lovers come and go, family comes and (hopefully) goes home, but the planet just goes. And that sadness is in the bloodstream.

Oh, one more thing: I’ve learned that, despite the above, I’m a fuck of a lot happier at 53 than I was at 23. Membership has its privileges.

Follow David Toussaint on Twitter and Facebook.

David Toussaint writes about subjects affecting older gay men. If you’ve got a “Daddy Issue,” let him know.-DRT

6 Nighttime Habits That Make You Look Older

Sleeping This Way on These Types of Sheets

Why it’s making you look older: Sleeping on your stomach or side can lead to wrinkles, says Lauren Ploch, MD, an Augusta, Georgia-based board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, which is why she and pretty much any dermatologist will tell you it’s best to sleep on your back. If you’re a stomach/side sleeper with cotton or flannel pillowcases though, you could be making matters even worse, as those two fabrics tend to cling and pull on the skin, says Rachel Nazarian, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. 

The fix: Becoming a back sleeper isn’t easy; plus, you can’t control whether you move and turn over in your sleep. A do-able first move is to switch to silk or satin pillowcases.

Using a Gentle Cleanser to Remove Your Makeup

Why it’s making you look older: Thanks to today’s long-wear, budge-proof makeup formulas, “which require more than water and a gentle cleanser to remove,” says Nazarian, you’re probably going to bed with some makeup still on your face. That can lead to clogged pores, dull skin and accelerated skin aging, says Nazarian. 

The fix: If you use long-lasting makeup formulas, start your cleansing process with a makeup-removing wipe or cloth (which will have ingredients that break down long-wear formulas better than a regular cleanser can. Look for ones that say “makeup-removing” on the packaging); then use your gentle cleanser to catch any traces the wipe left behind. The two-step combination is much more likely to get all of your makeup off before you hit the hay.

Turning the Thermostat Up to Toasty

Why it’s making you look older: You know that heat can dry out your skin, and that exacerbates wrinkles. It can also lead to eczema and atopic dermatitis flare-ups, and is a known trigger for rosacea, an inflammatory condition that accelerates the aging process, says Nazarian. 

The fix: Everyone’s ideal sleeping temperature is different, but a good rule of thumb is to find a temperature where you’re just a little bit cool without a blanket, not straight-up cold. (You could also try using a humidifier in the bedroom to keep the air moist.)

Applying Retinol Immediately After You Wash Your Face

Why it’s making you look older: Retinol (the gold standard among anti-aging ingredients) can be irritating. Because it penetrates even deeper into damp skin, you may experience increased tenderness or feel it more sharply, says Nazarian. You’re less likely to use it consistently if you can’t stand the way it makes your skin feel; and, if you don’t apply it regularly, you won’t see the benefits. 

The fix: If you’re new (or even new-ish) to retinol, make sure your skin is dry before you apply it. Only seasoned retinol users should consider using it on damp skin.

Not Including Hand Cream in Your Nightly Routine

Why it’s making you look older: Along with your chest/neck area (and your face, of course) your hands are one of the first areas to show the signs of aging. Using a rich, hydrating hand cream is a great way to combat dryness and crepey skin; but, if you put it on in the morning, you’ll likely wash and rinse it off over the course of the day, says Nazarian. 

The fix: Make hand cream part of your nightly anti-aging routine, applying it just before bed.

Putting Your Anti-Agers on Haphazardly

Why it’s making you look older: First, kudos for using anti-agers at night, when your skin makes the best use of them. But they need to be applied in the right order to make sure all of the ingredients can actually reach your skin. Generally speaking, products should be put on in order of heaviness—gel, lotion, cream, serum, ointment, etc.—to prevent thicker products from blocking the lighter ones. 

The fix: Start with serums or gels, then lotions, then creams, then ointments, says Nazarian. Don’t go overboard with products, though. Ploch recommends using no more than three or four per night, to minimize skin irritation. If you’ve got a long nightly routine full of products that only do one thing each, consider switching to multitasking products instead.

Health24.com | The unexpected way your age might affect your sex life

The story goes that as you get older, your sex life gets less satisfying, right? Well according to a new study, that’s totally dependent on how you approach it.

The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, actually found that older people had a higher sexual quality of life than their younger, friskier counterparts – with a few caveats.

For the study, the researchers looked at how sexual satisfaction changed over time using data from a national survey of more than 6 000 adults between the ages of 20 and 93, collected between 1995 and 2014.

To analyse the survey data, researchers created multiple models (or charts) to see the association between participants’ age and the quality of their sex lives.

The first model, which compared the age of the participants and which wave they took the survey in to how they ranked their sex lives over time suggested that the quality of their sex lives declined with age.

The second model found that both men’s and women’s sex lives take a dip as they get older.

Read more: 12 things we wish guys knew about blow jobs

However, when the researchers recalculated their model to take frequency of sex, perceived control of their sex life, thought and effort invested in sex, and number of sexual partners into account (in addition to their age and when they took the survey), they found that participants who reported high levels of comfort and control, thought and effort, and frequency of sex were actually more satisfied with their sex lives even as they got older.

And those who had only one partner (indicating they were in a committed relationship) were also more satisfied than those with two or more.

In fact, when these factors were favourable, their sexual quality of life increased by about 1.4% over each decade.

The researchers also found that as you get older, how often you have sex and control over your sex life becomes less important to your overall sexual satisfaction. But at the same time, the amount of thought and effort put into each encounter is even more vital to a happy sex life. In other words, the quality of your sex sessions trumps the quantity as you get older.

The future is definitely looking hot.

Looking for more? Here are six important times in your life when sex feels totally different.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X