Older couple sitting on the bank of a river enjoying a glass of wine.

Between Love and Loneliness: Is a Sexless Marriage After 60 Inevitable?

Wondering if a sexless marriage after 60 is just part of growing older? It’s a question many couples ask as they enter their golden years. But the idea that passion fades with age is more myth than reality.

In this blog, we’ll unravel the complexities of love, sex, and intimacy after 60. You’ll discover that a decline in physical closeness isn’t inevitable. We’ll tackle the challenges, break down myths, and offer practical tips for keeping the spark alive.

From navigating menopause to adapting to physical changes, and fostering open communication, there’s much to explore. Whether it’s rekindling romance or exploring new expressions of affection, a fulfilling sex life after 60 is within reach.

Understanding the Dynamics of a Sexless Marriage After 60

The journey into our 60s often brings changes that can subtly influence the dynamics of a marriage, including sexual intimacy. Understanding what contributes to a sexless marriage at this stage of life is key to addressing it.

As we age, our bodies naturally undergo changes that can affect our sex drive. Men may experience issues like erectile dysfunction, while women might face the challenges of menopause, which can bring discomfort during sex.

It’s not just physical changes that play a role. Psychological factors, such as self-image and emotional well-being, also significantly influence sexual desire. Understanding and addressing these mental and emotional shifts are just as important as dealing with the physical ones.

Aging often comes with health concerns that can also impact one’s interest in and ability to engage in sexual activity. This is where medical advice can be invaluable.

Additionally, society often perpetuates the myth that aging and sex don’t mix, leading many to internalize the belief that a decline in sexual activity is a normal part of aging.

Understanding these factors is the first step toward addressing the challenges of a sexless marriage after 60. It paves the way for exploring solutions and rekindling intimacy in the following sections.

Addressing Myths and Realities

When it comes to sex and aging, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction. Let’s address some common myths about sex after 60 and look at the realities.

Myth 1: Loss of Sexual Desire is Inevitable After 60

Reality: While changes in libido are natural with age, completely losing interest in sex is not a given. Factors like health, lifestyle, and emotional connection play significant roles. With the right approach, maintaining a healthy sex life is possible.

Myth 2: Physical Changes Halt Sexual Activity

Reality: Yes, physical changes occur, but they don’t have to halt sexual activity. Many find new ways to enjoy intimacy that accommodate these changes. Open communication about comfort and preferences is key.

Myth 3: Menopause Marks the End of Sex

Reality: While menopause brings changes, it’s not the end of sexual enjoyment. Many women find this period as a time to explore new dimensions of their sexuality. It’s about adapting and finding what works for you.

Myth 4: Older Couples Aren’t Interested in Sex

Reality: Interest in sex doesn’t diminish with age for everyone. Many older couples report satisfying sex lives. What changes is often how they express their sexuality and intimacy.

By debunking these myths, you can open up to the reality that a fulfilling sexual relationship after 60 is not only possible but can be a vibrant and satisfying part of your life.

Communicating Needs and Desires

Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, especially when it comes to navigating changes in sexual intimacy after 60. Here’s how to effectively communicate your sexual needs and desires to your partner.

Take the time to prepare and plan for your conversation. Initiate discussions in a comfortable, non-threatening setting. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid placing blame. For example, “I’ve been feeling a bit distant lately, and I miss our closeness. Can we talk about it?”

It takes courage to openly share your thoughts and feelings – especially about physical intimacy. It’s okay to express concerns about changes in your body, discomfort, or fluctuating interest in sex. Equally important is listening to your partner’s views and feelings. This mutual exchange fosters understanding and empathy.

You will also want to talk about what physical intimacy means to both of you now. It might look different than it did in your 40s or 50s. Discuss ways to adapt to these changes while still maintaining a connection. This could include exploring new expressions of intimacy or finding alternative ways to be close.

Discussions about sex can be a real struggle. If you find it difficult to navigate this conversation on your own, consider seeking help from a therapist or a sex therapist. They can provide valuable guidance on communicating effectively and addressing any underlying issues.

Through open communication, you can rediscover intimacy and connection, adapting to this stage of life together with mutual understanding and respect.

Exploring Solutions and Seeking Help

Finding solutions to a sexless marriage after 60 often requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some steps to consider for rekindling intimacy and seeking appropriate help.

Consulting Medical Professionals

Changes in sexual health are normal as we age, but they can often be managed with proper medical advice. Don’t hesitate to discuss issues like pain during sex, erectile dysfunction, or hormonal changes with your doctor. They can provide treatments or suggestions to enhance your physical comfort and sexual health.

Embracing Non-Sexual Forms of Intimacy

Intimacy extends beyond sexual activity. Holding hands, cuddling, and sharing tender moments can maintain a strong emotional and physical connection. Exploring these non-sexual forms of intimacy can help keep the bond between you alive.

Considering Therapy

Sex therapists or couples therapists specialize in addressing issues related to sexual activity and intimacy. They can offer strategies tailored to your specific needs, helping you and your spouse navigate this phase of your relationship.

Exploring New Avenues of Physical Connection

There are many different ways to experience physical closeness. If you’re open to experimenting, you may find new ways to connect. Some ideas are massages, exploring new sexual positions that are comfortable for both of you, or other forms of sensual activity that bring you closer.

Remember, every couple’s journey is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. So, it will require some trial and error to find what resonates with you and your spouse to maintain a fulfilling and healthy sex life after 60.

Rekindling Intimacy

Rekindling the flame of intimacy in a low-sex or sexless marriage after 60 is possible. However, it requires you to deepen your connection and rediscover each other in new, meaningful ways.

A great place to start is spending some time reflecting on what initially drew you together. Revisit old romantic memories or create new experiences that mirror those initial sparks. Make the effort to re-engage with the elements that once fueled your attraction, both emotionally and physically.

Then, be open to new adventures – in and out of the bedroom. This could mean anything from dance classes to exploring new forms of intimacy that suit your current lifestyle. Such experiences can revive your emotional and physical bond, challenging the notion of being consigned to a sexless marriage after 60.

One of the traps that many couples who have been married for decades fall into is becoming complacent about your emotional connection. And what is interesting to note is that the key to reigniting physical intimacy often lies in strengthening your emotional bond.

Strengthening your emotional bond can be as simple (and difficult) as engaging in heartfelt conversations, sharing your aspirations and fears, and being fully present with each other. This emotional closeness is a crucial step in enhancing your physical relationship.

Another trap that saps the intimacy out of long-term marriages is life’s busyness. Many use busyness to push intimacy aside. You can counter this by consciously prioritizing intimate moments, whether it’s regular date nights or quiet times together. Intimacy should be an ongoing commitment, not an afterthought.

Final Thoughts

Confronting a sexless marriage after 60 doesn’t have to signal the end of intimacy or a fulfilling relationship. Instead, it can mark the beginning of a new chapter where understanding, communication, and mutual exploration take center stage. This period in life offers an opportunity to redefine what intimacy means for both of you, adapting to changes while deepening your connection.

Remember, physical intimacy is just one aspect of what makes up a marriage. Emotional closeness, shared experiences, and a commitment to grow together are equally important. By maintaining open communication, being receptive to each other’s needs, and exploring new ways to express affection, you can sustain a vibrant and intimate relationship well into your later years.

Whether it’s through seeking medical advice for physical concerns, engaging with a sex therapist, or simply spending more time holding hands and cherishing each other’s presence, the path to a revitalized marriage is within reach. The journey may require patience and understanding, but the rewards—a deeper, more fulfilling connection—are immeasurable.

In the end, a sexless marriage after 60 is not a foregone conclusion. It’s a challenge to be met with compassion, creativity, and a shared willingness to discover new horizons of intimacy and love.

Mary Ellen Goggin offers relationship coaching for individuals and collaborates with her partner Dr. Jerry Duberstein to offer private couples retreats. To learn more about working with Mary Ellen, contact her here.

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Mary Ellen Goggin

Mary Ellen is a highly skilled and intuitive relationship guide. She brings over 35 years’ experience with individuals and businesses as a lawyer, mediator, personal coach and educator. She received her J.D. at University of New Hampshire Law School and a Master’s Degree at Harvard University. Mary Ellen co-authored Relationship Transformation: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Jerry Duberstein — and they were married by chapter 3. Mary Ellen brings a unique blend of problem-solving, practicality, and warmth to her work. She’s a highly analytic person, with geeky and monkish tendencies. She’s a daredevil skydiver, a voracious seeker of knowledge, and an indulgent grandmother. Her revolution: helping people become the unapologetic rulers of their inner + outer realms. Read more about the retreats