Here's the thing no one tells you about sex: It changes. The same moves and tricks that brought you and your partner pleasure in your 20s and 30s aren't necessarily going to work in your 50s and beyond. It's a truth that can be especially difficult for older men to accept, says certified sex and relationship expert Joe Kort.
"Men have been raised to think the only way and the final way to be sexual is through intercourse," Kort said. "So when they can't, they're devastated. Their masculinity is totally devastated."
Sex changes for men over 50 beyond the ability to maintain an erection, but because "the erection is their masterpiece" men have a harder time wrapping their minds around different ways to explore their sexuality.
But for older men looking to truly improve their sex lives, it's important to think of sex as more than just penetration. This can usher in a new period of sensuality in a relationship, Kort said.
"Women will say they love the fact [their husband is not as] penile focused," he said. "He starts to be introduced to things he didn't know he would enjoy. Touch becomes more important. [He] remembers he has fingers and a tongue and other things that would make her feel good, not just his penis. Seventy-five percent of women don't have vaginal orgasms anyway."
What are other new ways men should think about sex after 50?
"[Men] might find that he might have anal pleasure," Kort said. "It's a well-known secret. Women know it, but men don't like to admit it." Massaging the prostate, a walnut-sized gland located in front of the rectum, is known to intensify orgasms.
The idea of sexuality can expand to include toys and novelty, Kort added. "Mixing it up is very enjoyable, not just in positions, but in ways that don't involve genitals," he said.
By first acknowledging and accepting the new realities of getting and giving pleasure, older men may find that the next chapter of their sex lives is even more enjoyable.
Tell us how your concept of sexuality has changed in midlife in the comments or tweet us @HuffPost50.
"Medications that are prescribed for stroke issues and heart issues can have devastating effects on sexual functioning," explains Dr. Janice Epp of the Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. In addition, researchers have found that a family of <a href="http://www.springerlink.com/content/0483x4276q80417q/" target="_hplink">antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) can take the winds right out of your sails</a>. These drugs include brand names such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.
Fix: Talk To Your Doctor
Don't be shy -- talk to your doctor about how your prescriptions are affecting your sex drive. "There are a whole lot of new drugs that don't necessarily have those side effects, but it takes a lot of experimenting," says Dr. Epp. "Sometimes it takes three to four different tries to find the one that's best for you."
Culprit: Pain Or Discomfort
"People of both sexes can develop pain disorders as they get older, and that can have a big effect on sexuality," notes Patty Brisben, founder and chairwoman of Pure Romance, a company that specializes in selling sex toys and providing information on women's sexual health issues.
Fix: Mix It Up
Brisben suggests re-evaluating your definition of sex. "Being intimate does not necessarily mean having sex in the traditional sense," she says. Some solutions sensual touching and massages and mutual masturbation. Dr. Epp suggests looking into new positions. "Sit on a chair, try being in different positions," she says. "Side by side actually puts the least amount of stress on your joints."
Culprit: Lack Of Sleep
The <a href="http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need" target="_hplink">National Sleep Foundation</a> recommends getting seven to eight hours of shut eye a night. But with the stress of work, kids, bills and, oh yeah, your marriage, who can think about fitting in time to have sex, much less sleep?
Fix: Plan Sex Dates
For some couples the days of random romps may be behind them, and that's alright, says Dr. Epp. "Plan some sex dates around times that you know you feel more energetic -- it lets you look forward to it," she says. "Some people say, 'Sex should be spontaneous!' to which I say bullsh*t," she says, laughing. "You plan other things in your life and you don't complain about it. You can do the same with sex."
Waning libido and vaginal dryness are two unpleasant side effects of menopause. With increased longevity, "women can now expect to spend a third of their lives in post-menopausal years," Brisben said. "So understanding how you're being affected by those changing hormones is essential."
Fix: Creams And Lubricants
A dip in estrogen may lead to thinning vaginal walls and itchiness in the area. According to the Mayo Clinic, <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-dryness/DS00550/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs" target="_hplink">treatments can include </a>vaginal estrogen creams such as Estrace and Premarin; a flexible estrogen ring that is inserted; or estrogen pills, patches or gels.
Culprit: Avoiding Frank Conversations About Sex
"I think if you're just now embracing this subject at or around age 50, you've got some catching up to do!" Brisben tells <em>Huff/Post50</em>. But it's never too late to start having a frank and honest conversation with your partner about what you want in bed.
Fixes: Accessories, Letters, Books, Therapy
"I recommend having these conversations out of the bedroom and when you have some alone time," Brisben says. "Be open, be receptive and be ready to listen." Don't be afraid to bring some playfulness to the discussion. "Shop online for intimacy products together," Brisben suggests. Or write your partner a letter: "Tell them what you'd like to introduce into your intimate relationship." Another tact: Read sexy books together and share what interests you and what doesn't. "If you find these conversations are still hard to have ... a sex therapist or counselor is trained to help," Brisben adds.
Culprit: Not Addressing Problems Down There
It's the one part of aging and sexuality that gets the most attention: erectile dysfunction, which is <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/DS00162/DSECTION=causes" target="_hplink">often rooted in some larger physical problem, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity</a>, according to the Mayo Clinic. Medications and drug and alcohol use can also play a role.
Fix: Prescriptions, Pumps And More
Ubiquitous ads promote the popular little blue pill to cure impotence, but there are <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/DS00162/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs" target="_hplink">other treatments as well, including vacuum pumps, implants and surgery</a>, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Culprit: Thinking You Have To Be 'In The Mood'
According to the movies or steamy prime time television shows, passion goes from 0 to 69 with a mere glance, a bitten lip or a bad pun. But "as we age, our bodies slow down and we have less energy," Dr. Epp tells <em>Huff/Post50</em>. "That's naturally occurring, but it can have an affect on our sexuality."
Fix: Learn The Difference Between Arousal And Desire
Rethink the connection between arousal and desire. Tell your partner if you need more than the <a href="http://www.womansday.com/sex-relationships/sex-tips/sex-by-the-numbers-103274" target="_hplink">average 20 minutes spent on foreplay</a>.