No one knew whether Miley was being serious or not. But I ended up in the Manhattan studio of Inside Edition anyway, to discuss middle aged middle aged sex—and to what extent it still exists.
As I wrote in Psychology Today in “Sex in the Second Half of Life,” I remember at twenty wondering about whether there was sex over 40. Now after 25 years as a sex therapist, I’m pretty convinced there is. Either that, or a lot of older people in my office have been paying a lot of money just to make me seem foolish.
But sex over 40 does differ a bit from the younger variety. Most college students would gladly choose sex over sleep. Over 40, the reverse can easily be true.
And by the time you’re over 50, sex can definitely often feel like more of a wish than a need. Other needs may feel more pressing. In my PsychologyToday article, Panda Love, Menopausal Whales, and Sex Over 50, I report learning from my gynecologist colleague Dr Lauren Streicher that humans are among the extremely few species to go through menopause. Humpback whales, for some reason, are members of that club as well.
How much you enjoy sex as a couple post-menopause tends to depend on how much you enjoyed it together before menopause. Keep eros alive in your relationship when you’re young, and that can pay handsome dividends later on.
Most couples go through lean times in bed. That’s normal. And the most important thing when that happens is not to panic. Instead, stay calm and refocus. Most likely sexual inspiration will return in its own proper time.
Just because you’re going through a lean stretch doesn’t mean you’re headed for a sexless marriage. But you do want to make sure to give your erotic relationship some care and feeding on a regular basis. Especially once you’re over 40.