Sorry for the click bait title, but it got you here. Now for some actual substance.
I have been talking to a lot of folks over 40 about sex. This is partly due to the fact that I am over 40 and I have a lot of friends over 40 and we talk about sex. The other part is, there is next to no good info out there about sex for folks between 40 and 65. Those of us in this age group disappear from the media. Sex over 40 is seen as such a turnoff that several major magazines have accepted pitched pieces and then when they ask for a bio and see I am over 40 reject it explicitly stating their readers are only interested in sex info from folks between 25 and 39. Blick!
In my conversations with older folks one thing that arises pretty consistently is how much better sex is after 40. There are lots of reasons for this, of course. But one overarching factor that predicts individuals reporting better sex after 40 is more comfort with their own bodies. This actually kind of surprised me.
Why am I surprised? Because aging bodies can be harder to love! For me, my joints ache more. I have a ton of gray hair- everywhere. I am fatter, saggier, and less bendy than I was in my 20s. I miss those days where I could crash on a friend’s floor for a night and not feel like I was hit by a train the next morning. I miss being able to go out drinking and not have to plan a three-day recovery session. I miss not dealing with boob sweat. But… here I am.
Despite all of this sex now is so much better than it was even five or ten years ago. I find this is true for a lot of peeps over 40. A huge part of sex leveling up is the fact that even as our knees crack and balls sag a bit more and we get salt and pepper pubes, we are cool with it.
Get Comfortable with Your Body
Getting comfortable with your own body and whatever flaws it may have doesn’t just come with the aging process. The people I know who got comfortable with their own bodies did a lot of work. Here are the steps a lot of us take.
The first part is unlearning the culturally dictated rules of beauty. This gets easier as you age. Magazines, television, and pretty much all media including social media, holds young, ridiculously skinny, white, folks with perfect teeth, skin and hair as the pinnacle of beauty. Even as corporations find it profitable to jump on the body positive bandwagon, they still stick to the typically “acceptable” bodies.
For example, there is a legging company that touts in all its ads that they make leggings and bras for “all sizes.” There is not a single model in any of their ads over size 2 or a bust size of a B cup. Shout that you make appeal for “all sizes” but you xxl is a 16 and your biggest bra accommodates a 38D and you are only fooling your ad team about being “inclusive.”
As we age, we see fewer and fewer folks that look like we do. So the ability to see the absurdity of the American/Western beauty standard becomes easier. If you start to seek out images of people who look more like you (and there are plenty of folks on Instagram, Tumbler, and blogs) who cover all body types, sizes, races, abilities, hair styles, and ages it makes it easier to start seeing yourself as acceptable. I strongly suggest seeking out folks on Instagram and bloggers who look like you! There is something really empowering about seeing yourself reflected as beautiful and fashionable outside of your own home.
Your Changing Body
Second, folks who get comfortable with themselves accept that their bodies will change. Longing for the thigh gap you had at 20 or the flexibility and strength you had in high school, or the hair you had in your 30s will only make you miserable. Its not coming back. That is simple physiology.
This doesn’t mean you cannot be strong, or flexible, or healthy or fit. I know plenty of runners and crossfit enthusiasts and yoga practitioners over 40 who have incredible physical skills. Some of them are even stronger or more flexible or have better mile times than they did in their 20s, but none of them have the bodies they had two decades ago. Accepting this as a fact of life makes it easier to love your own body.
Start trying to accept small changes. Instead of violently plucking out the gray hairs lamenting that you are aging, either decide you want to dye it away or embrace the gray. You don’t have to sport a mane of ivory locks to prove you accept yourself. Its perfectly fine to dye the gray away and love your look. Accepting yourself does not have to mean going au natural! You can love yourself and still embrace make-up, hair dye, lifts, tucks, and pretty much anything that helps you feel beautiful. Its about what drives the desire to do the “upkeep.”
How can I say love yourself and be cool with a facelift? Because sometimes we need a little extra help to feel good. Its your emotional state and what drives the decision which will determine if you love yourself post facelift. If you are getting one because you believe it will fix your flaws and will be the thing to make you happy I have disappointing news. No matter how talented your surgeon, when the swelling goes down, you will still hate yourself and see your flaws. If you go in liking yourself and happy with yourself but want a bit of sprucing up, you will most likely be happy with the results.
For example, I am comfortable that my face is aging. I have laugh lines and crows feet and I am cool with that. Overall, I am pretty comfortable with my own body. However, a good facial or dermabrassion that helps buff away a bit of the dead skin and gives me a glow makes me feel fantastic! I don’t need the facial to like myself, but I do enjoy the extra kick it gives me.
Learn to Live with Imperfections
Finally accept that you have imperfections. This can be hard. There are always going to be things about our bodies we don’t like. Look, you don’t have to like everything about your body, but you do have to be able to live with it. Think of your imperfections like a roommate. You don’t have to go to the bar and hang out every week, you don’t have to chill every night and have dinner with them. But life is a lot better if you don’t mind that they are in your space.
For me, one of the things I used to HATE about myself is my facial hair. I am very pale but I got my dad’s hair, which means it is very dark (we are both typically “Black Irish”). I get a little mustache and pointy-ass chin hairs. If I just let it be, I’d probably look like a 13 year old Irish kid trying to grow out a mustache and beard. Not cute. I pluck and wax regularly to keep the hair at bay. It used to make me really hate my face.
Now… its there. I have to do a bit of maintenance to keep it at bay. Its just part of me and my routine.
But How Does This Make Sex Better?
How does any of this make sex better? The more comfortable you are with yourself the more honest and intimate you can be with your partner. If you are not worried about hiding your flaws and trying to keep some mask on during sex, you can be more fully who you are. You can relax. You can start to enjoy the deeper connections and intimacy that come with good sex.
When I was younger it was really important to me that my partners find me sexy. I worried about what my face and tits and butt looked like during sex. I wanted to get into poses I saw in magazines and in porn. I wanted to sound “right” during sex. I wanted to do the sexy hair flip thingy when I was in cowgirl. My lawd was that exhausting and distracting!
Worrying about if my breasts looked perky enough when I was on my back or about a pimple on my buns during doggy meant I wasn’t concentrating on my partner or my own pleasure. Seriously. If you are there getting railed from behind and your thoughts are, “OMG! What if she notices the big pimple on my left butt check?” you are not actually experiencing most of what is going on in the moment. You are caught up in worrying about that stupid pimple.
Being able to let that worry go and concentrate instead on what you are feeling, what your partner is feeling, and just becoming present allows for a deeper connection and intimacy. You begin to notice your partner’s breathing, the way your bits are contracting or expanding, what your partner is saying or not saying comes to the forefront instead of your brain going, “OMG! What if that pimple pops while I am getting reamed?!?”
True story. Last weekend I was with my partner. I trimmed up his beard and mustache for an event we had that night. Whenever I do this, his beard hair gets everywhere. The stuff has launching power when its cut that makes me question what I know about physics.
Anyway, after I finished trimming him up and we cleaned up we started making out. He was on top of me kissing me. When he pulled up to look at me he noticed a hair on my upper lip and went to brush it away. It didn’t brush away at first so he tried again. It was still there so he said, “Oh! I thought that was mine. Its attached.”
I was able to bust out laughing. Fifteen years ago I would have been mortified by this statement. I would have got into my head and started the self-abuse I do about not being perfect, how gross facial hair is on women and regardless of his touches and such, I would only be experiencing my own hate of my body.
Instead, now that I did the work to accept this flaw, I was able to laugh. Which then turned into some really satisfying sex and a midday nap. And that is way better than worrying about some random lip hair.