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Great Sex Without Intercourse

Older couples can look forward to trying out these creative alternatives

Most Americans define sex as intercourse. The old in-and-out can be great fun, sure, but it also tends to frustrate many older couples. Even when aided by erection medication, older men may have difficulty accomplishing it. And even with the help of a lubricant, older women may experience pain during it.

couple smiling in bed. love, marriage, and sex.

Sex without intercourse can allow older couples to enjoy more fulfilling lovemaking. — Getty Images

So what's a loving couple to do? Fortunately, there's a satisfying alternative: sex without intercourse. This strategy requires some tactical adjustments, but it allows older lovers to enjoy fulfilling lovemaking for the rest of their lives.

Great sex minus intercourse involves the same leisurely, playful, whole-body caressing that sexuality authorities recommend to lovers of all ages. But with intercourse off the menu, it focuses instead on the many other ways couples can make love: hand massage, oral sex and toys — specifically dildos and vibrators for women, and penis sleeves for men.

Sex without intercourse means taking new paths to mutual pleasure. The footing may be unfamiliar at first, but hasn't novelty always been the key to sexual zing? If you embrace new moves you both enjoy with love and laughter, sex sans intercourse might even become the best you ever had. Here are a few pointers to help you scout out this new terrain:

Age-Related Sexual Changes
The biggest sexual issues women encounter after menopause are vaginal dryness and a decline in libido. A lubricant can minimize dryness, and even if desire fades in the early years of menopause, it may rebound later. Most postmenopausal women still enjoy partner sex and don't want to see it end.

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Meanwhile, men past 50 typically lose the ability to get aroused from fantasies alone; physical stimulation becomes a prerequisite to an erection. (Erections may also be less firm and more, uh, precarious.) These changes are unnerving when you first notice them — which is the same time when some men conclude, erroneously, that they've reached the twilight of their sexual careers.

Even when these mechanics and dynamics make intercourse impossible, however, sex can remain remarkably fulfilling. Despite the changes that aging invariably brings, couples open to erotic alternatives will discover that they can still attain sexual satisfaction together.

Alternatives for Men
Hand massage of the penis is key to sex without intercourse. Many men over 50 often get a firm erection during solo sex but find that a partner's strokes do not achieve the same effect. Why? Because women may not appreciate exactly how men like to be fondled. The solution? Men can show women what they want. This may feel awkward for both partners at first, but it helps the woman provide precisely what the man desires.

Fellatio is another cornerstone of great sex without intercourse. Oral sex can provide men with great pleasure — even if the penis is only partially erect.

Contrary to myth, a full erection is not necessary for ejaculation and orgasm. If men receive sufficiently vigorous stimulation, it's still quite possible for them to have a marvelous orgasm with only a partial erection (or even a flaccid penis).

Couples trying sex without intercourse might also experiment with a penis sleeve — an artificial vagina or mouth that, when lubricated, feels much like the real thing. Sold by sex-toy marketers, penis sleeves are easy to incorporate in partner lovemaking. They are recommended for men whose erections are neither firm nor persistent enough for vaginal intercourse.

Alternatives for Women
Not only are hand massage and cunnilingus readily available to couples who can't manage intercourse, they're also more likely to bring women to orgasm. Only 25 percent of all women are reliably orgasmic during intercourse. That means three-quarters of women of all ages must have direct clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm.

When men have iffy erections, women can use a dildo or vibrator to achieve that filled-up feeling. Women might use these toys on themselves as their partner watches or gently caresses them. Or men might gently slide well-lubricated toys into their well-lubricated partners. To more closely replicate intercourse, men might also try wearing a strap-on dildo. Sex-toy marketers offer dildos, vibrators and strap-ons.

Great Sex for Life
After decades of straight-down-the-fairway intercourse, it can be a challenge to discover the joys of reaching the green without it. This is a transition that will require both physical and emotional adjustments. But once you master the techniques, you'll be on the road to mutually fulfilling lovemaking for the rest of your lives.

Note: Some people object to oral sex and/or sex toys, and that's just fine; no one should feel pressured to have sex in ways that cause distress. Older couples interested in customizing sex to their individual tastes might consult a sex therapist. Recommendations are available from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists; the Society for Sex Therapy and Research; and the American Board of Sexology.

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