What happens when we age and sex becomes more difficult?
Today Dan and Linda Wilson, authors of Lovemaking, join us with tips on handling sex when health and age changes come. Also, be sure and participate in the giveaway at the bottom of the post!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
It has been said that the only thing constant in life is change. This certainly applies to our sexual lives. We celebrate these shifts! Never, never do we want our marriage bed to be dull, boring, or routine. Be willing to adapt to your lover as the seasons of life change.
There are many challenges to sexual arousal in lovemaking. Occasionally, both husbands and wives face issues that can drain desire and reduce their responses. The good news is that facing challenges raises the level of oxytocin in the brain(1). And bonding is strengthened when oxytocin flows.
Some of the changes we wholeheartedly welcome—a long-awaited pregnancy, an opportunity to try a new position, perhaps even menopause reducing the fear of an undesired positive pregnancy test. Obviously there is a flip side to new seasons in life that we would prefer to never enter—a sudden illness, a dramatic decrease in libido, even a pounding headache. These changes can challenge our enjoyment of sexual activities.
If you’re going through some shifts in your life that are impacting your ability to enjoy lovemaking, here are a few tips:
Try a New Position
A nine-month pregnancy might seem to be a season that will never end. Hormones are in upheaval. Her body image changes gradually, then dramatically. Although her sexual interest may be lowered, his will likely remain the same. Intercourse may be more comfortable and enjoyable in a side-lying position. Having the wife on top gives her more control of pressure and provides room for a protruding abdomen. This is a great time for the husband to cater to her needs. Remember that “love is patient, love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
And, in the final weeks of pregnancy intercourse may be just too much of a challenge! Nothing fits–anywhere. Is this an opportune time to consider alternative ways to achieve sexual satisfaction? Knowing fingers and dexterous tongues can bring rich shared pleasure when nothing else will do. Talk about these options and together choose what is best for you.
But pregnancy isn’t the only time we may need to change up positions. Do you have a heart condition? Are you concerned about too much exertion during sex-play? First ask your physician for approval, then concentrate on ways to have sex with minimal exertion. Side-lying positions are easier on your heart than being on top. If you’re a man, stay on your back and let your wife do most of the work. You can enjoy watching, touching, and squeezing anything within reach. And, wives, if arthritis pain affects your hips, the nesting spoon position is a good one to try with your husband entering from behind.
During middle life you may discover your libido (sex drive) to be somewhat lower than a decade or two before. Many couples adapt to this change by extending their foreplay while increasing the quality and variety of ways to play. As they learn how to lean into these pleasurable sensations, the challenge of decreased desire can surprisingly lead to an increase in sexual satisfaction. God loves to bless His children in the safe, sensual playground of marriage. (And here are 6 foreplay ideas that can help you do just that!)
If husband and wife have not already learned about it in the past, this is a wonderful time to become cliterate. Being accomplished in the art of navigating and stimulating the clitoris can elevate the pleasure of sex play for both partners.
Indeed, digital (finger) stimulation can be very useful when intercourse is ill advised for other health reasons. Little effort is required when only hands are used. The results can be spectacular for both husband and wife. For more rapid sexual arousal, oral sex can be powerfully pleasurable. Both giver and receiver can be physically relaxed while delightful sensations are enjoyed. This option should be considered but never required. If it is right for your marriage, oral stimulation can beautifully satisfy desire.
Relax and Develop a Sense of Humor About it!
As time goes by new obstacles appear that might block the pleasures of lovemaking. Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects many men in middle life and beyond. Sorry, guys. It is not a matter of if but when this will happen to every sexually active man. Did you know that failure to climax in men (Male Orgasmic Disorder) is considered normal until it occurs in more than 25 percent of sexual attempts (2). Patience, kindness, and good humor nearly always triumph over ED. If it persists, medical attention is often quite helpful.
Many illnesses bring challenges to intimacy in marriage, too. Diabetes can reduce the sensitivity of nerves, reducing the pleasure of sensual touch. Heart disease may mix fear and fatigue in with the joys of lovemaking. Removal of ovaries can suddenly change a woman’s hormonal balance, while a mastectomy or hysterectomy may alter her feelings of femininity. Regardless of physical dysfunction, we remain sexual beings who desire and need to play. Intimacy must be adjusted at times, but the enjoyment of lovemaking never needs to fade.
Keep your lovemaking fresh. Sitting, standing, leaning, or lying down—intercourse can bring please when enjoyed from any angle. If you find your “normal” positions to be unsafe or uncomfortable, read a Christian sex blog and try out some of their suggestions. While you are at it, create a few of your own.
Our bodies change. Sometimes we must literally reposition, adapting the way we play to accommodate health changes and aging. But even now, regardless of any obstacles in your path, God wants to knock the socks off you and your mate with His amazing, abundant goodness. Adapting to sexual challenges is a privilege, an adventure that brings joy, laughter, and true satisfaction. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to show and to share love with your spouse. Forever.
(1) “How to make stress your friend,” Kelly McGonigal, video at TEDGlobal 2013, filmed June 2013, (accessed 5/24/2015)
(2) “What Are Male Sexual Problems,” WebMD: (accessed 5/24/2015).
Note: Some portions of this article are excerpts taken from Dan and Linda Wilson, Lovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravagant Intimacy in Marriage (Racine, WI: Broadstreet Publishing, 2015).
Dr. Dan and Linda Wilson are marriage missionaries. They delight in traveling around the world blessing marriages and sharing about Jesus. Dan and Linda are cofounders of Supernatural Marriage & Missions, and have written several books including Lovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravagant Intimacy in Marriage and 7 Secrets to a Supernatural Marriage: The Joy of Spirit-Led Intimacy.
- Share the promotional image below on at least one social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) with the hashtag #lovemakingbook.
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- In one week, I’ll post the names of those who won on the archive of this post.