7/6/2022 | By Terri L. Jones

If you’re considering reconnecting to your libido after years without a relationship, you may be anxious and self-conscious. To give your confidence a boost, we present suggestions for senior intimacy after a dry spell.

Maybe you’ve stumbled into a new relationship after a long period of being single. Perhaps your longtime partner has died after a difficult, lingering illness. Or maybe you’re considering dating again after years without a close relationship. Whatever the reason, intimacy with someone new, and all the unknowns that come with it, may be causing you a whole lot of anxiety.

Never fear! We have compiled some tips to help get you back in the saddle again. And just remember that not knowing exactly what might happen – while terrifying in the beginning – can also be pretty titillating!

Tips on senior intimacy after a dry spell

Make sure the timing is right

If your partner is respectful (and relationship worthy), they won’t expect you to jump into bed on the first, second, or even 10th date, if you’re not ready. To remove some of the anxiety from the situation, start slowly by just kissing and touching. Get to know each other’s bodies – and what turns the other person on – without the pressure of going further.

“By saving intercourse for another time, you relieve each other of anxiety and learn how to please each other,” writes Joan Price, expert on senior intimacy and author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex.

Always be open with your partner about your needs and let them know what pace is comfortable for you.

Know what excites you

senior couple kissing in bed - photo by Wavebreakmedia Ltd Dreamstime. If you've gone years without a sexual relationship, sex may seem intimidating. These tips for senior intimacy after a dry spell can help.

As you age, arousal doesn’t always just happen; it might take a little more effort than it used to, especially after a dry spell. You may need to use external stimulation, even sex aids, to help your partner achieve an erection or an orgasm, and vice versa. Sometimes these activities may feel more intimate than the intercourse itself, so don’t be shy about pumping the brakes if you’re not ready for that level of togetherness.

It’s also important to experiment on your own. Recall what worked for you in your younger years and discover what may be different for your personal senior intimacy hotspots. According to Dr. Joanna Whitcup, a clinical fellow of American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, “Learn what you enjoy and respond to.” And get in the habit of pleasuring yourself on a regular basis to get in touch with your body and what it takes to make your engine purr.

Communicate your turn-ons … and turn-offs

Everyone likes different things in bed, and sharing your sexual proclivities and discovering your new partner’s can be exciting but also a little intimidating.

Before you start canoodling, have a conversation with your partner about what you both like and don’t like. If a face-to-face chat about your preferences makes you uneasy, call them on the phone or send a text or email to get the conversation started. (Who knows? It may also start your engine!)

If you’re lucky, you and your partner will share a turn-on or two or your sexual preferences will at least pique one other’s interest. Bottom line, your partner needs to knows your green, yellow, and especially your red lights before you’re able to get on the road to good sex.

Share your relationship expectations

While you may be searching for a love connection, your partner may just want someone to warm their bed now and again. Before you share intimacy with that new person, it’s important to be as honest as possible about your expectations and intentions – without killing the romance or scaring the person off.

Approaching the situation with open eyes not only helps you avoid regret, disappointment, and maybe even a broken heart, but it also can lead to a healthier relationship in general.

Use protection – yes, even in senior intimacy

Says Price, “The scary truth is that cases of sexually transmitted diseases among 50- to 90-year-olds more than doubled between 2002 and 2012 – precisely because when we’re older, we think we think we’re safe having unprotected sex.”

However, just because you can’t get pregnant anymore doesn’t mean you can’t get or pass along a disease. Even if you’ve had sex with only one person for years or haven’t had sex at all for a long time, you still could have an STI and not know it, as some of these diseases are asymptomatic.

Price recommends that all new partners undergo STI testing before they pursue a sexual relationship. These tests include HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and Hepatitis C, but they can vary based on your sexual history (consult your physician for the tests that are right for you). And until the results come back, use condoms and other barrier protections such as dental dams or FC2s (female condoms) to remain completely safe. Knowing you’re protected also can help you relax and enjoy the sexual activity to the fullest!

Consensual sexual connection and the human touch that comes with it can bring joy to life, for all adults. Don’t let age or lack of recent experiences keep you from intimacy after a dry spell.

Other articles in our senior intimacy series:

Sex need not be a memory – intimacy as we age

Self-gratification to improve satisfaction

Sex and dementia

Coming out as gay as a senior

Nursing homes and senior intimacy

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones