The ability to communicate well with a partner is key to maintaining a healthy sexual relationship, Reinisch says. “That can be very difficult for people when sex is still considered taboo,” she says.
It’s important for couples to know that as women age, it takes longer and more stimulation for them to become aroused and reach orgasm.
The same is true for men. “Seeing his wife come out of the shower might have been enough to give him an erection in the past, but now she may have to be a bit hands on,” Reinisch says.
For recently divorced or widowed woman, talking is particularly important. Although an older woman might not have used condoms while married, she will need to tell a new partner to use them to ensure she does not catch any sexually transmitted diseases. An older woman may not get pregnant, but her vaginal walls are more susceptible to invasion by microbes.
For baby boomers reaching menopause today, it may still be difficult confronting sexuality in their golden years, because of societal attitudes that influenced them growing up, Reinisch says.
But younger people exposed to television commercials discussing erectile dysfunction in older men will probably feel more comfortable with the subject. “As they get older, they will think it their right to be sexual in their old age,” she says.