There is an old joke that says, "Sex after 60 is better than ever, but the mounting and dismounting aren't so pretty." If you're laughing, you know what I'm talking about. If not, you're still young enough to have something to look forward to. I attended a conference recently featuring Steve Pavlina, the number one blogger on personal development. The topic was about expanding traffic to your blog and one of his ideas was to write about something 'timeless,' something that lots of people have in common and that breaks the mold of everyone's expectations. Well, my writing has been about transforming our notions of growing older and to encourage intergenerational dialogue, so what better topic to muse on than SEX.
I know it's kind of weird to think about our parents and grandparents 'doing it,' but the fact is that they do. We just tend to avoid discussing that it happens among our Elders. While Elders are usually older than we are, that's not always the case. In some cultures, the young are the Elders, since they are more connected to what is important to the community than the old. As I have been saying on Serene Ambition for the last few years, we need to get real and be open across the generational divide. So these observations about sex after 60 aren't limited to 'older folks.'
If you believe the research, there is a LOT of sex going on after 60--and a lot of satisfied Elders. According to the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project of the University of Chicago (presented in the August 2007 New England Journal of Medicine), many people remain sexually active well into their 70s and 80s. The following year, ABC News reported on a Swedish study that found sexual satisfaction rising in the over 65 set. Perhaps that's why all the Boomers seem so happy in all those Viagra and Cialis commercials!
But I think it's more than just the pills and the lubricants that make sex in our second half such a wonderful activity. Our Elders have finally figured it out--and they're having the best sex of their lives. Here are the top seven reasons why:
1. Elders have patience. You'd think that, as the years pass and the time we have left grows shorter, we'd be in a hurry. Elders have learned that sometimes you have to slow down and relax to expand the quality of an experience and get more of what you want . Nowhere is this rule more important than when approaching sex. Our imaginations are often the source of our most erogenous experiences. If you are in a hurry, then your attention is on the action (rather than the possibilities). In addition, when you exhibit patience, your partner doesn't feel they're under any pressure to perform and can then respond in their own way and in their own time. This has a multiplier affect: it's a lot more fun when you're both committed to playing than when someone is playing just because the other wants them to.
2. Elders give all they've got while receiving all the other has to give. This may sound strange, since most of our lives we are torn between giving or taking. It is a kind of 'off/on' mindset where we are either giving OR receiving (or sometimes we're taking turns). At some point, we outgrow this conventional wisdom and discover that it's possible to have BOTH by surrendering our ego and focusing on giving pleasure without any expectation. The surprise bonus: the more we give, the more we receive.
3. Elders have better conversations--before, during and after. Except in a few porn films, no normal human being can keep sex going all the time. Consequently, it becomes necessary to make conversation between 'close encounters.' Older folks typically have more life experience to draw on and can be more interesting conversationalists. In more or less 'same-age' relationships, these conversations can involve exchanging shared memories. In more modern cross-generational encounters, this can also include sharing new insights and unique life experiences, mutual learning or coaching. When we need to take a break from talking, Elders excel at 'silent' conversations focused on enjoying quiet intimacy.
4. Elders are less judgmental in the bedroom. Although some Elders are still working on letting go of their judgments, as a general rule, most have grown wise enough to really appreciate that who people are is more important than their physical appearance, their age, their idiosyncrasies or other distinguishing features. Many Elders appreciate that availability and proximity are the most important virtues when it comes to having sex. Beyond this, liking the other person and enjoying their company may be sufficient for a stimulating and satisfying 'embracing of the flesh'.
5. Elders can be present in the moment. If there is one thing that is almost universally true of Elders it is that they don't have a lot of hang-ups about what sex means in terms of the future. Sex is pretty much a 'now' experience: it is difficult to do if you're thinking about the past or what it might mean in the future. One of the maxims I have lived by for years and which I find to be particularly useful is the idea of "coming from where you want to go". It is only possible to have this relationship with life when we are 100 percent 'present'. Being present in the 'Here' and 'Now' opens us up to fully experience merging our essence with another human being. This is the pathway to 'ecstasy.'
6. Elders are all about the journey, not the destination. When we were younger, sex was often about "Did you?" or "How many times did you?" It was more about having a fireworks climax and less about the process. Now don't get me wrong, Elders do have those experiences also, but the concerns about whether and when are usually absent. This means that making love with or between Elders can take a long time--sometimes hours. Lovers' energy can ebb and flow, like a ship drifting on a rolling sea interrupted by an occasional tempest fraught with lightening and thunder and a downpour of unbridled emotion.
7. Elders understand Love. One of the things that distinguishes an Elder from a younger person is that they are committed to others, to being of service and to giving themselves to a 'higher' purpose. For Elders, Love is more a 'way of being' than a feeling--a way of being in relationship based in seeing others as "Okay" the way they are and allowing them the space to make their own choices. In other words, Elders have learned to relate to others without needing to control: they have mastered a healthy relationship with their egos and are living their lives full out with nothing held back. For an Elder, sex may be fun and recreational. But it is also something that they've grown to appreciate as a kind of sacred gift that we can give each other--the gift of ourselves being fully expressed, fully open and vulnerable, fully alive. For Elders, sex is a celebration of who we are. A celebration of Love.
If you think of other reasons why Elders make better lovers, please share them by posting a comment to this blog or email me.
Copyright 2010 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.