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February 28, 2000

What Will Your Sex Life Be Like in 5, 10, 20 Years?

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50s
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS TO YOUR SEX LIFE IN YOUR 50S

At menopause, the lining of the vagina thins and you have less natural lubrication. But many women find sex after menopause liberating, since the chance of pregnancy is eliminated. They're also more likely to engage in masturbation and sexual experimentation, says Susan Kellogg, Ph.D., of the Graduate Hospital Pelvic & Sexual Health Institute in Philadelphia. Just be careful: Women over 55 are in the top three groups of people most prone to HIV infection, says Rodriguez. TIP: Use the woman-on-top position for the most physical arousal, says Keesling. Also, plan to spend more time on foreplay. Older guys aren't necessarily going to get a spontaneous erection the way younger guys do.

"OLDER WOMEN AREN'T GOING TO JUST LIE THERE IF THEY'RE NOT ENJOYING IT." -Beverly, 57

I've felt very sexy for most of my life, and I'd always gotten interest from men. But in 1997, cancer forced me to have a hysterectomy, and I felt like I disappeared sexually. I was hunched over, I was in pain, and I felt as if I was becoming a "ma'am." When I was a child, a woman in our neighborhood had a hysterectomy, and I heard other women whispering, "Her husband is cheating on her, and why wouldn't he? They've taken her insides out." All those old wives' tales I had heard growing up forced themselves into my head, and I felt as if I had suddenly lost my spark.

So I decided to focus on healing myself, physically and emotionally. As I was getting my life together, gettingfit, and getting back to work, I noticed I felt sexier. To me, the sexiest women are approachable and interesting. It isn't that sexy women are the prettiest or have the best bodies, but they have the greatest sense of self. Men became interested in me once I started owning myself again.

Now, I get adrenaline rushes that make me feel sexy when I make a good business deal or try something I've never done before, like going across a zip line in Costa Rica.

To me, sex gets better with age. I think older women become a little more selfish, in a positive way: They're not going to lie there if they're not going to get some pleasure. They know you need to tell a man what turns you on and what he's doing right. If he's not turning you on at all, you get rid of him. I would never have done that as a younger woman. And I think many young women won't do that today, either: Some of them have sex just for the "fun" of it, but they get nothing out of it. If you're not getting paid for it, and you're saying it turns you on when it doesn't, you have low self-esteem. And it's difficult to have good sex when you have low self-esteem. I think most of us are very insecure for a long time, not just about our sexuality, but also what we're all about as people. But we get to a point where we can say, "Either you like me or you don't. It works or it doesn't." Older women tend to feel that if we've come this far in life, we're not going to do anything that doesn't make us feel good about ourselves.


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