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How Sex Changes for Men After 50

It's not the same as it used to be — and that can be a good thing

3. The main attraction may change. When you think of sex, you of course think of intercourse. But after the reproductive years, this main attraction on the sexual menu may become problematic. For older men, iffy erections and ED become increasingly prevalent. Meanwhile, older women, develop vaginal dryness and atrophy (thinning and inflammation of the vaginal lining), which can make intercourse uncomfortable or impossible, even with lubricant.

Some older couples abandon intercourse in favor of what Dr. Haslam calls "outercourse:" whole-body massage, oral sex and playing with sex toys. "With creative outercourse, you can enjoy very erotic, orgasmic sex without intercourse."

4. You don't need to rely on ED drugs. The myth is that older men pop erection pills routinely. The truth is that few have even tried them, let alone become regular users. German researchers surveyed 3,124 older men, 40 percent of whom reported erection difficulties. Ninety-six percent could name an erection drug, but only 9 percent had ever tried one. Cornell researchers surveyed 6,291 older men, half of whom complained of erection problems. How many had tried a drug? Just 7 percent. As intercourse fades away, men no longer need erections, so they don't need erection drugs.

5. Men and women are more in sync. In their 20s and 30s, men become aroused more quickly than women, and many younger women complain: "He's all finished before I even feel aroused." But older men take longer to feel turned on. The transition to slower arousal can be disconcerting, but it means that the sexual discord of youth can evolve into new sexual harmony. "Compared with young lovers, older couples are more sexually in sync." says Dr. Richard Sprott, a developmental psychologist. "Couples who appreciate this can enjoy more fulfilling sex at 65 than they had at 25 — even without erection and intercourse."

Longtime sex educator and counselor Michael Castleman, M.A., is the founder of GreatSexAfter40.com.

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