07/01/2014 07:45 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2014

Sex And Sensuality: It's Your Choice

Some time ago I wrote a blog concerning sex and menopause. Comments in response to that blog ran the gamut. Some women expressed frustration with their bodies. Some felt betrayed by their husbands or partners now that their physical appearance had changed. And still others were blissfully happy that they had ended (by choice) their own sexual chapter and were looking forward to using their energy in other areas such as work, family and friends. But, what was most interesting was the banter judging someone else's choice. The operative word is choice.

Just as we have exercised our right to make choices regarding; having children, pursuing a career, having a political affiliation, etc.; we owe it to ourselves to exercise our own, personal options whether it is in the area of our sexuality or in any other arena of life.

With all of that said, for those of us who are choosing to explore (and perhaps enrich) our own sexuality, there are considerations to ponder:

• Mess Around with the Way You Mess Around
The same old, same old makes anything boring---work, food, sex. If the time of day, position, and place where you have sex has become numbingly routine, change any of these, or all three. When you shift your timing, give thought not only to mid-morning or mid-afternoon instead of the customary evening coupling, but also to slowing down the act. Sometimes when sex seems less comfortable and not quite as exciting in midlife, we may tend to rush through it. Slow down, breathe, and prolong the moment. Create a new space to make love and take a break from the bedroom. If you both prefer the bedroom, change the sheets, literally. Try a completely different color and texture---new silk, caressing flannel, or the softest cotton. A small bouquet of flowers; a candle with a subtle scent of sandalwood or jasmine can also be a part that transforms a humdrum area into a heady love nest. And Shakespeare had it right when he said, "If music be the food of love, play on." Think about adding music as a background to intimate moments--something that reminds you of your early courtship, a new artist, or lush classical sounds.

• Invest in Intimacy
Think about investing in your intimate life with something new to wear. After all, most of us don't think twice about updating our shoes or purses, and our love life merits the same attention.

• I Like to Watch
Research shows that women who report low sex drive in menopause still experience a rush of blood flow to the genitals when watching erotic films. This gust of sexual feeling can help boost your interest in having sex, so make a plan to watch your favorite sexy movie. Watch together before making love, or on your own if you prefer, to help you feel amorous, the way you did in the old days. You may have your own favorite movies with sexy scenes, but here are some suggestions: Body Heat, The Bridges of Madison County, Ghost, Out of Africa. Here's something else to watch: your partner. Whether cuddling, massaging or making love, do it with your eyes wide open. Look deeply and steadily into your beloved's eyes. This increased eye contact is a principle of Tantric lovemaking, where lovers achieve heightened intimacy by focusing more intensely on each other's eyes and breath, and the rest follows naturally.

• Explore Other Ways to Be Intimate
Trade back, foot or hand massages with your mate. Wrap up in each other's arms and watch something funny on TV. Read a poem out loud. Feed each other bites of something delicious. Get in the hot tub or shower together. Let your partner know that you want to be sensuous, and remember that not every erotic encounter has to include traditional intercourse. Be nude together somewhere other than the shower or bedroom if you live in a place that allows you that privacy. Never mind if your partner says they'd rather not sit down to read while nude---you can do it anyway. You'll be surprised by how good, and how free it feels. Even if your partner doesn't join you, they'll notice, and chances are your experiment with new behavior will be seductive and sensual to both of you.

Sensual pleasure can evolve in midlife if you choose. But remember, it's a matter of personal choice. There is no right or wrong choice; it's simply your choice.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

5 Foods To Boost Libido