Whether you've been single for a while or are just getting back into the dating scene, you probably have a few ideas about what your love life should be like at this age. Maybe you've even joked to yourself, "What love life? Aren't I too old to act like a hormonal teenager?" But the truth is, these years can bring on your very best sexual experiences. To show you how, I've laid out some of the most common misconceptions about sex at this age, and explained where faulty logic may lead you astray. Keep these reality checks in mind and plenty of satisfying experiences await.
Myth #1: If you're having sex with someone, you can assume it's serious
You may remember back in high school when, after three dates, you were officially a committed couple. But times have changed. Today, even if you've been dating and/or sleeping with someone for months, you can never assume you're exclusive -- or, for that matter, that your one-and-only is dying to find a life partner and settle down. Many 50-somethings want to date around, especially if they're divorced and experiencing single life again for the first time in years. So, don't get so caught up in the excitement of your new romance that you let this crucial detail slide. Many people find that the best time to pop the question is once it becomes clear that you may soon start having sex. If that's your case, consider saying it this way: "Before we sleep together, I need to know this relationship is exclusive." Or if you've already crossed that line, it's completely fine to pull back and say, "I'm not comfortable continuing to sleep with you unless we're in a committed relationship." That way, you're both clear on your expectations and won't be blindsided by surprises.
Myth #2: You're too old to worry about STDs
Just because the risk of pregnancy is gone after menopause doesn't mean you're in the clear when it comes to having unprotected sex. Sexually transmitted diseases can be passed from partner to partner at any age and aren't merely something younger generations need to worry about. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 percent of the total diagnoses of HIV in the past year were in men and women who were 45 or older. Overall, about 10 percent of all people with AIDS in the U.S. are age 50 and older. And that's not all there is to watch out for -- herpes, HPV, Chlamydia, and other ailments are all surprisingly common in this age group. So make sure to use condoms and consider both getting tested before you jump into action.
Myth #3: Your aging body is no longer as attractive as it once was
Sure, many of today's most prevalent sex symbols -- Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and Justin Timberlake -- are young. Still, there are plenty of celebrities over 50 -- Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon, and Sean Connery, to name a few -- who prove that people can be hot at any age. So stop worrying about your wrinkles, gray hair and less-than-youthful assets and revel in the ways age has made you even more seductive: Now, more than ever, you're in touch with your turn-ons, turn-offs, and what makes you tick. And that's very attractive! Plus, take a cue from some of those older hotties I mentioned by staying fit, getting a new hairstyle, or splurging on a new outfit or two to feel fabulous and up-to-date. Also, if you are meeting someone, forgo the sedentary dinner date and ask this person to go on a walk or dancing instead. Revving your energy like this can boost your body image and pave the way to a lustier post-date encounter.
Myth #4: Sex should feel the same as it did when you were younger
It's a fact of life: Sex is going to feel different as you age. Post-menopausal women lubricate less, which can make sex uncomfortable. Men over 50 may find that their erections are not as firm or frequent as they were when they were younger. This is all normal, and in no way means you can't enjoy yourself by making some adjustments. Consider getting a water-based lubricant (many are available at drugstores) to help out where nature has left off. Men, see a doctor to find out if Viagra or a similar medication will give you the boost you may need. But products and prescriptions are not the only solutions. When the action's lagging, consider switching from intercourse to oral sex or asking each other, "What can I do to make you feel good?" Keep the lines of communication open, and you'll easily adapt to your body's changes and those of your partner.
Myth #5: By this point, you know what you like -- and should stick to it
Think you've been there, done that with all things sexual and have a good handle on what floats your boat in bed? Guess again: People's tastes and turn-ons change through the years, and sometimes, the only way to figure out what works is to try it -- or, if you already did decades ago, give it a second chance. Maybe sex toys seemed silly or embarrassing to you during your younger years. Now, however, they are an array of cute, non-threatening products available in non-sleazy stores and online sites (like Goodvibes.com). Or, maybe you were never a fan of a certain sex position (like woman on top) or activity (like talking dirty). Well, now's the time to reconsider. It sure beats doing the same old, same old for the next few decades. Treat sex like the ongoing adventure it should be, and the fun will never end!