It was the quote heard round the Twitter-verse: "I heard when you turn 40, things start to go a little less sexual," Miley Cyrus said to Matt Lauer on TODAY recently. "So probably around 40, around that time, I heard thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have sex anymore."
I may have panicked just a little. After allÃ¢â‚¬”IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m quickly approaching my 36th birthday, so 40 isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that far off. Like any self-respecting woman, I decided to grab my female friends over the age of 40 for some insight.
First Things First: The Bad News
Unfortunately, the responsibilities that typically accompany being 40-plus can make it difficult to find time for sex. Even at 36, my husband and I still struggle with whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more importantÃ¢â‚¬”sleep or sex. The truth is, sometimes we choose to hit the snooze button on our love life for some extra Zzzs.
Your schedule isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the only thing that changes after 40, either. Tory*, 41, says she's noticed lower levels of desire from her boyfriend since he passed his 40th birthday. And, sadly, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just a guy thing. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Pre-menopausal hormones have wreaked havoc on my mood and created some other issues, says Jessie*, 44. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Luckily, it's nothing a glass of wine and a good lubricant can't fix.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But There Is Good NewsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Despite some drawbacks, there are definitely upsides to having sex after 40. Once you start approaching 40, you naturally start to feel less insecure in the bedroom, according to my friends. Happily married for 15 years, 41-year old Katherine* says she no longer feels she has to look and act vampy for her husband to find her sexy. In fact, all of my friends agree that with time comes an empowering acceptance and confidence in their bodies that makes them enjoy sex more.
Another plus-side to having sex with oneÃ¢â‚¬”or at least fewerÃ¢â‚¬”partners is that you no longer have to worry as much about diseases, pregnancy, and potential social media sharing. My 40-plus friends, many happily married for years, can leave the stress behind. Of course, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt that relationship longevity can create the trust that's so helpful when you want to try more off-the-wall moves. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My husband and I have been together a long time (15 years!) and to be honest, you have to be creative to mix things up,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Stella*. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always good for romanceÃ¢â‚¬”and also a laugh when things don't go so well.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just a married versus single thing, either. For my single friends, post-40 sex may not be completely fearless, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely wrought with a lot less anxiety than the sex they had in their younger years. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I'm not afraid to ask for what I want and be more aggressive now,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Jennifer*, age 42, who feels more open to trying new things with her partners. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not whips and chains necessarily, but I know what I like and am more comfortable being direct.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The bottom line? While you might not have as much time for sex after you hit the big 4-0, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably be having at least as many orgasmsÃ¢â‚¬”if not more. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Honestly, I'm more selfish now than I was when I was younger,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Jessie. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When my husband asks what I like, I tell him. Don't get me wrongÃ¢â‚¬”I still please my manÃ¢â‚¬”but I'm also all about enjoying myself, too!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Looks like my fears were unfounded after all.
*Note: Names have been changed.