For many people going through a Divorce Over 50, sex is not a pressing issue. Most are just too consumed trying to make it through the first stage of their DO50, survive, to even think about that aspect of their lives. Many have endured sexless periods as their marriages fell apart; a percentage of those even think the “ship has sailed” in regards to their future sexuality.
But here’s the great news: A “Singles in America” report from match.com reports that single women have the best sex of their lives at age 66, while men have their best at 64.
See, there is a brighter future out there, as you truly can thrive, after you make it through survive and revive.
Mature folks have learned that sex appeal isn’t based entirely on physical appearance. When we’re young, we tend to be very self-conscious about what our bodies look like; that wears off over time, allowing more focus on pleasure.
Though there are challenges when we’re older (pain and dryness for women, erectile issues for men), there are work-arounds that make sex just as enjoyable, or maybe even more so. Couples need to communicate more openly; they become more creative as they explore additional, non-penetrative ways to have sex.
Post 50’s no longer hold to rigid sexual expectations and roles. In your 20’s and 30’s, you want a partner to start a family with; that’s not an issue later in life, so the pool of partners expands. Additionally, mature women don’t have to worry about pregnancy, nor kids barging in on them in the bedroom, allowing more relaxation and enjoyment.
Sex has obviously been a popular topic here at Divorced Over 50, with our five most read posts (and 6 out of the top ten) being on that subject.
The overriding goal of Divorced Over 50 is to help everyone move through his or her Divorce and into a brighter future. In order to do that, it’s vital to accept that the Divorce has happened, and use it as a pathway to self discovery, which in turn will lead to that better life.
Boost Your Self Esteem: It’s certainly easy to be down on yourself after a Divorce, especially if it wasn’t your decision. But pushing yourself to adopt a positive attitude about yourself, and your future, can help make it happen. Be pro-active, seeking out new friends and engaging in new activities. Explore sides of yourself that may have gone dormant during your marriage. Rediscover who you are, or hit the reset button and become who you want to be.
Use Divorce as a Lesson in Self-awareness: Ask yourself what you might have done differently. What role did you play in the Divorce? You can’t change what happened, but you can learn from the experience so you’ll do better next time.
Forgive Yourself and Your Ex: Blaming yourself or your ex only holds you back; it keeps you from moving forward. If you were wronged, you don’t have to forget what your ex did, but forgiving means you won’t be hurt by those actions anymore.
Re-explore Your Expectations About Healthy Relationships: Is it obvious now that you married the wrong person, or for the wrong reason? Is it clear now that your expectations about marriage were way off? With the knowledge you’ve gained, you can do so much better if you decide to find a new partner for the next chapter of your life.
A Divorce Over 50 not only impacts the couple, it also affects their adult children. We’ve addressed the Adult Children of Divorce (ACOD) a few times before (for example, here and here), always from the point of the view of the parent. Those takeaways include:
Never assume it’s easy on adult children because they’re older — they may not have “little kid” issues with your Divorce, but it can still cause tremendous disruption for them.
You can set an important example for your children by moving through your DO50 and finding a brighter future. They’ll see that unwanted, unexpected things can happen in life, but it’s possible to overcome them and get to a better place.
Writing for Divorce Magazine, therapist Terry Gaspard offers a piece aimed at those adult children, “8 Ways to Move on From Your Parents’ Grey Divorce.” Though tailored for your kids, it’s well worth reading to better understand what may be going on with them, and to help avoid potential problems. Moreover, I’d encourage you to forward them either this post, or the article itself.
Here’s a summary of the eight points Gaspard makes to the ACOD’s:
Set and maintain healthy boundaries.
Resist playing mediator, parent, or friend.
Express your feelings honestly and calmly.
Share enjoyable experiences with your parents.
Maintain bonds with both extended families.
Face your fear of intimacy and commitment if it exists.
Take your time dating someone.
Respect your grief.
Gaspard does point out a silver lining: ACOD’s may be more careful about their own choice of a spouse, as they understand the fragility of love. Along those same lines, please check our post from August of 2016, “5 Pre-Marital Tips From a Divorced Parent.” If you find it worthy, perhaps you’ll forward it to your kids, as well.
If there’s any time in your life when self-care is called for, it’s when going through a Divorce. The process can be absolutely overwhelming, with all the turmoil, emotion, and tremendous levels of stress. So what do most people do to keep themselves well and ease the burdens they’re feeling?
Much of the Di-Curious content on this site concerns the future — in other words, if you do decide to get Divorced, here are the pros and cons you’re likely to encounter as you move forward. It’s assumed that the Di-Curious are less than pleased with their marriage, and are now deciding if they’d be happier just accepting the situation and staying in, or enduring the challenges but getting out.
The article suggests that often times people who are unhappy in their marriages treat the symptoms rather than the disease. In other words, because they feel badly about how it’s going, they may pamper themselves with a shopping spree, lash out in a passive-aggressive manner, or simply disconnect from their partner. That might offer temporary solace, but the root problem remains.
So how might you try to cure the “disease?” One suggestion is making a real effort to spend more time together. Sometimes the problem is that a couple simply isn’t together enough to address each other’s needs. Another suggestion is to stop complaining about your marriage to friends, and seek professional help instead. A marriage counselor could help identify the specific issues driving you apart.
But if that’s no help, maybe it is time to recognize that a “fatal” mismatch exists in the relationship. It happens — people change over time, and for us Over 50’s, there’s been plenty of time to head in different directions. If you’ve truly done your best to save your marriage, but it just isn’t going to work out, it may be easier to accept that a Divorce, even with the difficulties it entails, is the better choice.
Last post was about female sexuality Over 50; now it’s the guys’ turn. And just as the post regarding women contained information relevant to men, this one should be of interest to the ladies, too.
So let’s start with a few things we know about male sexuality when it comes to us Boomers: Impotence is to be expected, libido diminishes, and sex can actually be dangerous. Right?
No. Wrong! Those are myths, and none of them are true.
This piece from MaleHealthCenter. com says that research shows nearly all men (and the majority of women) retain an interest in sex between the ages of 50 and 80. And that even if response isn’t what it once was, simply recognizing it takes longer to get aroused is often the “cure” for erectile dysfunction. In other words, before seeking a medical solution, try simple communication with your partner, letting her know that you need a lot of foreplay, too.
The article says that great sex is the result of knowing, understanding, and caring for your partner. It offers a few recommendations for creating the solid bond that leads to fulfilling sex, including:
Be generous with your compliments, letting her know how attractive she is
Try alternatives to penetration, as there’s plenty of pleasure to be had other than intercourse
Communicate what you like, and ask her what works for her
Avoid monotony by trying new locations and times of the day
Aimed at males Over 50, our friends at AARP offer “Six Ways to Make Lovemaking Great.” Its main take-away is that men don’t give their partners an orgasm; rather, it’s the man’s role to create the right context that allows the woman to have one (or more). And to help create those comfortable conditions, men should…
Recognize most women require more than intercourse to climax
Treat her entire body as an erogenous zone, not just a few specific areas
Slow down, spending lots of time on the warm-up (which, as mentioned above, is important for men, too)
Mix it up and try something new (also mentioned above)
Be open to including a vibrator in the love-making if the woman wants it
And to close this out, the online dating site Zoosk.com offers “What 50 Year Old Men Want in Bed.” Some of the suggestions aimed at women are similar to previous advise for men (be communicative, be spontaneous, take your time), but a few others haven’t been touched on before.
As we all know, human sexuality can be complicated. Then, when you’re Over 50, it can get additionally complicated. And for women Over 50, due to both societal factors and their own physiology, it can become more complicated still.
Though plenty of mature Divorced women are finding their sexuality reignited (see our January post “Sex and the Single Woman Over 50”), that isn’t always the case. Both the “mind” and the “body” issues that come into play Over 50 can have a negative effect.