One of my favorite authors on sex, David Schnarch, says what determines our response during sex is a composite of three things – physical sensations, emotional connection, and our feelings about sex. Once you understand what this means, you will realize that as we age, we have many choices in determining whether sex gets better every year, or it completely falls off the map.
Physical sensations are simply the result of physical stimulation that is received through your senses, transmitted through your spinal chord, received in your brain and translated back to your erogenous zones as arousal. Physical sensations can be affected by health issues that affect transmission of information or vascular flow, our bodies response to that information. Our general health has an effect on our physical sensations and simple things like exercise, healthy diets, and continued sexual activity play an important role. Don’t discount the role that the mind plays in physical sensations. People that are paralyzed can create new erogenous zones in an area still functioning. We too can become more in tune to areas of our body that feel pleasurable when we harness the power of the mind.
Our emotional connection to our spouse also affects how we respond during sex. Many times I hear from women in class, “what gets me in the mood is if my husband talks to me and shares his feelings”. Men that feel completely disrespected by their wives can become completely disinterested in sex. Couples that rarely spend time together building their relationship, but become immersed in their kids lives, are often lost when college takes away the only thing they have in common. Whether or not we feel seen, heard and loved by our spouse plays a huge role in whether or not we enjoy sex, and as we will see later, a more substantial role as we age.
The last component of whether or not we enjoy sex are our feelings about sex. If sex feels new and taboo, than adrenaline can boost our response. If sex feels dirty or wrong, we can suppress our enjoyment. If sex feels holy, right and ordained by God, than we can experience a freedom to enjoy all that God gives us. How we feel about sex makes a huge difference. I see over and over in women that take my Awaken Love class, a huge transformation in their sex life simply because they understand that God blesses their marriage bed.
As we age, our physical responsiveness will most likely decrease. Older bodies, means less blood flow which simply means arousal takes longer. Thankfully age usually means we also have the luxury of more time to play. Years of marriage, should mean years of talking about what feels good and expanding our repertoire of what we enjoy. If you have simply relied on what worked when your body was young, you may feel confused when it no longer does the job. Don’t believe the lie that mature bodies don’t need and enjoy sex. Challenge each other to learn new things and be willing to stretch.
In marriage, emotional connection must be nurtured or it will simply fade away. Emotional connection happens when we do all those intentional things that every marriage book says. We must date, spend time talking, work or play side by side, share our hopes and dreams and be vulnerable with each other. Years of building trust and loving each other will lead to greater emotional connection, and greater and greater sex as we age. Years of neglect will lead a couple that simply relied on their physical responsiveness to wonder why the bottom dropped out of their sex life.
For me, it was not until I was in my late forties that I took the time to figure out my feelings about sex. Searching good Christian sources and studying the bible has transformed sex from a physical experience that was pleasurable to a Holy experience that I crave. I experience a new freedom because of getting rid of my baggage through prayer with my husband. I am constantly on guard against lies about sex and God is very much a part of my marriage bed. My feelings about sex changed sex.
If you believe that sex within marriage is supposed to be boring, than it will be boring. If you believe that sex is for young people, than when you age, you will stop enjoying sex. If you believe sex is just physical, then when your body ages and becomes a little less responsive, you may just give up. What you believe about sex matters, and if you are a Christian, you need to go right to the source to find the answers. Study Song of Songs, read Genesis, or read about Sarah and Abraham that were still having sex at the age of 90.
Sex as we age can get better and better if we are truly getting to know each other. Be willing to learn and adapt physically, taking advantage of more time and discovering new ways to pleasure each other. Enjoy the emotional connection that results from years of building trust and being vulnerable. Understand that sex is a gift from God to make you into one and that He blesses all that you enjoy. Sex for me just gets better and better.
Has sex gotten better for you and why?