When you're in your 50s and back on the dating scene, you quickly realize that the rules of lovemaking aren't exactly the same as they were when you were first dating. While you may fear that the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be, you might be surprised to find out that there can be some incredible in-bed benefits to being a bit more seasoned. Below, men and women share their revelations of how sex can be an entirely new experience over 50.
Slowing down is sensual
''When I was younger, I hated hearing about how it takes you longer to respond sexually as you get older... but now that I am older, I realize it's a blessing. I think it's especially true that men feel this slowing down more than women... but that just gives them more time for foreplay, and I for one am not complaining about that!''
-- Deborah, 52, Great Neck, N.Y.
''When you hit 50, gravity's begun to work on your body. I think that as a result of this, some of us are a little less inclined to feel comfortable with their bodies, or at least to the same degree that we were in our younger years. Because of this, I found that a dimmer switch is a really great thing to have until you and your partner get comfortable with one another. 'Mood lighting' just helps take the edge off things!''
-- Mark, 57, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
More experience means everyone's happy!
''I actually enjoy sex a lot more than I did back when I was younger. Because I'm more experienced now than I was then, I am more attuned to what it is that I like. I'm also definitely more skilled than I was when I was less experienced, so I guess my partners are more thankful than they were back then, which also makes it a more enjoyable experience for me.''
-- Sharon, 55, Waco, Texas
The butterflies don't go away
''I've learned that even though I am much older than I was when I was first sexually active, I still have all of those nervous feelings before getting into bed with someone, and I still wonder about the same things: will I be good, will he be good, will the sex be good? It's funny how that giddy nervousness still crops up, but that's part of the thrill, I guess!''
-- Carole, 56, New York
''You know the phrase, 'There's more than one way to cook a chicken'? Well, when you're in your 50s and have been having sex for quite some time, you've kind of gone through all of the recipes, if you catch my drift. Therefore, you kind of have to get inventive or it can get old. I've been pleasantly surprised to find out that the women I date are as into trying new 'recipes' as I am. I guess you sort of have to or sex can get really predictable.''
-- Robbie, 52, Coral Springs, Fla.
Buh-bye, birth control
''As most of the women I date have gone through menopause, the issue of getting one of them pregnant isn't there, which is a huge relief! I used to be so consumed with worrying about that when I was sexually active in my 20s and 30s. Not having to be concerned with it now is great; being able to have sex without that cloud of worry hanging over your head makes sex a lot more enjoyable, I think.''
-- Bart, 59, Henderson, Nev.
You can be Mrs. (or Mr.) Robinson
''This may sound silly, but I have been dating some younger men over the last couple of years, and it is very exciting to know that they are interested in being with an older, more 'experienced' woman... that I can teach them a thing or two in the bedroom. I have spoken to some of my guy friends and they have had the same sentiments about dating younger women. Maybe it's all the Hollywood imagery we've been exposed to, but there is something that's a real turn-on about that situation. It's made me feel very strong and sensual and in control. I highly recommend it!''
-- Juliana, 58, St. Louis