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An Empty Nest Means Better Sex

Reignite the flame when the kids move out

Make allowances

Even if you're in great shape, your bodies are different now — and so, likely, is your stamina. Can't swing from the chandelier the way you used to? Adjust. My client Sarah, for example, has a bad back and finds the missionary position painful. Instead, she and her husband enjoy sex while lying side by side or spooning. Think in terms of what you can do sexually, not what you can't.

Embrace the differences

Sex isn't what it was 20 years ago. That doesn't mean it's worse. Celebrate what improves with age: Younger men may have stonger erections, but older guys tend to have better control. You both know each other's bodies, you've perfected your bedroom technique, and you may feel less inhibited than you did in the past.

Stoke the flames

As we age, it's not unusual for our libidos to decrease a bit. But in my experience, the second honeymoon created by an empty nest may actually boost sex drive. Give your desire a push by talking about your fantasies or watching a sexy movie together. Even a simple compliment can help get your partner in the mood. Remember, communication is key to a hot sex life.

Invest in yourself

When kids leave home, the parent more involved in caring for them often loses part of his or her identity. As a result, partners may find each other dull. So inject some thrill into your life — and your relationship — by pursuing new interest. Volunteer, get a hobby, or write up your dream "To do" list and start crossing things off. A stimulating life outside the bedroom will nurture a stimulating life inside it.

An empty nest doesn't have to equal an empty life. If you see this time as an opportunity, your relationship  — and your sex life — can thrive.


Psychiatrist Gail Saltz, M.D., answers questions at Her five books include The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life.

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