sexuality

Septuagenarian sex shocker: it gets better

Sex After …Women Share how Intimacy Changes after Life Changes is a new book by journalist and author Iris Krasnow, who interviewed over 150 women ages 20 to 88 to get the skinny on sex after pregnancy, divorce, infidelity, breast cancer, coming out, and menopause. It’s the last category that’s generating the buzz, with eyebrow-raising all around at the possibility that women in their 70s and 80s could be having the best sex of their lives. Takes on the finding range from progressive to retrograde. 

 

Use it or lose it.

I knew that applied to neurons and gift certificates, but I had no idea it was true of female genitalia. That tissues grew thinner and dryer after menopause, yes, but not that visitor-free vaginas can actually atrophy: grow shorter and narrower. I didn’t know it because no one ever talked about it, any more than they talked about how people can enjoy satisfying, passionate sex into their 90s—if they make it a priority and embrace the ways sex changes over time. 

Feeling over-the-hill at 40? Cheer up. For a while.

Most animals, from shrimp to shrews, decline swiftly after reaching sexual maturity.  Humans, on the other hand, experience middle age: a several-decade plateau during which most biological systems deteriorate very little. This stage of life, argues writer and zoologist David Bainbridge in this excerpt from Middle Age: A Natural History, represents a remarkable evolutionary achievement that should gratify, not depress.

It never stops feeling good

In Slate’s geezer-centric issue, Daniel Engber takes a lucid look at sexual activity — or, more likely, its prohibition — in an article titled "Naughty Nursing Homes."  Engber cites an August 2007 article in the New England Journal of Medicine  about sexual activity among older people. Some predictable findings: people who described themselves as healthy were more likely to be sexually active, women were less so then men, and sexual activity declines with age. But not so fast!