Why Are These Septuagenarians Having the Best Sex of Their Lives?

What women really think about news, politics, and culture.
Feb. 4 2014 11:45 PM

Widows Peak

Women over 70 are having the best sex of their lives.

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Dorothy grew teary as she spoke of memories of her husband, a man she deeply loved, the father of her two grown children, and “the nicest guy you would ever want to meet.” Yet their relationship was a friendship marriage, not an electric shock kind of passion. “It surprises me how amazing our sex life is because he definitely has a problem in the erection area,” says Dorothy. “Even when the Viagra doesn’t work he just makes up for it in other ways. ”

Older women sometimes worry about hysterectomies, which are the second most common major surgical procedure performed on women worldwide. Nearly 1 in 3 women in the United States have undergone a hysterectomy by the age of 60. But “it is bull-crap that a hysterectomy kills your sex life. My drive certainly didn’t lessen—in fact, it increased,” said Joanne, a 65-year-old woman who had hysterectomy because of painful fibroids. “The sexual act itself actually felt better. My orgasms didn’t become less intense. In fact, they seemed deeper and they would shudder through my body longer.”

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Since orgasm is largely clitoris-dependent, without other complications, most women should be able to resume full-on sexual enjoyment. Joanne is a Florida woman dressed in a white sweater and tight white jeans. She looked about 45, was never married, but “had many red-hot lovers,” several of them younger. Yet what she described as the best sex of her life was with 74-year-old Richard, who had recently died.

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“His touch, his smell, his masculinity—everything about Richard was a turn-on to me. He made me feel like the most beautiful and sensual woman alive,” she said. “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that after menopause or after seventy your sex life will be horrible. I’m here to tell you the other side; sex is more of the mind than of the body. And as you get older comes the confidence to really let loose and enjoy everything about the sexual experience.”

In my many years writing books about intimate relationships one of my favorite go-to experts is Dr. Marilyn Charwat. She is a 79-year-old, sexily married sex therapist in Boca Raton, Fla., hometown to many women in her age range dating after widowhood, or hungry for tips on how to heat up stale, old marriages. With long black Cher hair and a yoga-toned frame, Charwat is ageless and unfailingly provocative.

 “I am a big believer in women having orgasms once a day, or at least three times a week. Because an orgasm, like a Kegel, lifts and tightens the pelvis. An orgasm provides tremendous relaxation and it also helps keep the vagina healthy and lubricated. If you get used to having regular orgasms that whole part of your body is being revitalized, your whole life is revitalized. Also, if you learn to bring yourself to orgasm, you can have more fulfilling sex with a partner because you know what you need.”

“Happily, I can report there is a lot of sex going on with people my age, and older. Because most people in their 70s and 80s feel internally like they did when they were 35. When it comes to enjoying a long and healthy sex life, attitude is everything.”

Copyright 2014 by Iris Krasnow. From the forthcoming Sex After ...: Women Share How Intimacy Changes As Life Changes published by Gotham Books, February 2014. Reprinted with permission.

Iris Krasnow is a professor at American University where she teaches journalism and women’s studies.