“It’s hard for me to reach orgasm,” women over 60 often write me. “What can I do?” Although your stories are unique, the essential question is often the same: “How can I reach orgasm more easily?”
Consult your doctor for a medical cause.
- “I have a few illnesses and I’m on medications.”
- “I’ve always been able to orgasm easily but for the past year and a half, I’ve been losing almost all sensation. I have not talked with my doctor about this.”
Many of you mention your medical conditions when you ask me for advice. You need to have this conversation with your doctor who knows your condition or your pharmacist who knows the sexual side effects of your medications. If your medical professional is dismissive of you or embarrassed that you’re asking about sex, you need a new one who is sex-positive and age-positive. This is essential for your quality of life! See “Talk to Your Doctor about Sex” for help starting this conversation.
Expand your sexual repertoire.
- “I have been unable to have orgasms because my husband is impotent.”
About 75 to 80 percent of women do not reach orgasm through intercourse, and I suspect that percentage is higher in our age group. We need clitoral stimulation before, during, or instead of intercourse. Your husband’s erectile dysfunction does not need to be an impediment to satisfying sex for both of you — there are many other ways to give and receive sexual pleasure. Watch my webinar, “Great Sex without Penetration.”
Use sex toys for faster arousal and orgasm.
- “I would like to know how to reach an orgasm on my own, as my husband is not interested. I have a vibrator and sometimes it helps, but most often it doesn’t.”
- “I have started to buy some sex toys for solo play, but I just cannot get an orgasm.”
- “I prefer to use a device of some kind. But I don’t know what to look for.”
Read my advice above about consulting your doctor in case there’s a medical cause for your inability to reach orgasm. If not, it’s likely that you haven’t found the right vibrator to make orgasms happen for you. There are many different types, and each has a variety of shapes, sizes, and intensities. The vibrations can range from buzzy to rumbly and from mild to turbo-powered.
Start with my blog post, “How to Choose a Vibrator.” Then, armed with your knowledge of what you’re looking for, read my reviews of specific vibrators, all from a senior perspective. (There are many reviews, so keep selecting “older posts” at the bottom of the page.) A faster way to see and learn about a selection of my favorites is to view my webinar, “Sex Toys for Seniors.”
If you’re partnered, communicate what feels good and what doesn’t.
- “My husband is never very good at sex and consequently I suffer. I’m trying to find a way to achieve satisfaction.”
Does your husband refuse or “forget” to do what pleases you? Or does he not know, because you haven’t found a way to communicate what you need? We grew up during an era of embarrassment about sex, and for many of us, it’s still difficult to talk to a partner about our sexual needs. Work on asking for what feels good to you. My book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, has an entire chapter on improving sex with a longtime partner, including how to find the right words for communicating your needs.
If you’re solo, enjoy self-pleasuring often.
- “My husband died 4 years ago. I haven’t had any sexual activity in about 10 years. I think I just want solo sex. Could you help me please?”
I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief often numbs our natural need for sex, though for some, it has the opposite effect. (Learn more from Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved.)
Be patient if you’re just getting back to sexual activity after a decade. Your body and brain became accustomed to doing without sex, and your drive and responsiveness receded. Some tips to improve this:
- Enjoy solo sex during the time of day you feel energetic and excitable. I call that your “tingle time.”
- Exercise first to increase blood flow to the genitals for faster arousal.
- Eat after sex, not before, so that the blood flow is not diverted to the digestive system.
“A Senior’s Guide to Solo Sex,” one of my most popular articles for Senior Planet (with 137 comments!), has more suggestions. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Your take-away tips:
- Consult your doctor for a medical cause.
- Expand your sexual repertoire.
- Use sex toys for faster arousal and orgasm.
- If partnered, communicate what feels good and what doesn’t.
- If solo, enjoy self-pleasuring often.
- The more sexually active you are — partnered or solo — the easier it becomes to reach orgasms.
(This article first appeared on Senior Planet as “Ask Joan: Easier Orgasms” on July 20, 2020.)