• We may age, and our sexual abilities may change. As a menopause care provider, I hear a lot about the effects of “the change” on women’s comfort and satisfaction. I also hear about after-effects of illness and surgeries, erectile dysfunction and prostate problems, back pain, arthritis, and much more. What’s also perfectly clear through these conversations is that in spite of obstacles, our human need for physical affection, playfulness, and emotional intimacy never leaves us.

    Sexual intimacy can be expressed through intercourse, yes. Most women engage in sex for the sense of intimacy the act affords. If you hold intimacy as your goal, the options for sexual acts and sexual play multiply beyond intercourse very quickly. When intercourse becomes difficult or impossible, couples can explore many more ways to express their sexuality and love for each other.

    Almost any shared activity can become part of erotic play. I’m reminded of a study of the components of “great sex,” which included some clues for alternatives, as well: Being present, connection, communication, exploration, and vulnerability can be part of many couple engagements besides intercourse.

    Here are some ideas, but let your imagination set your limits, and play safe!

    1. Cuddling

    2. Massage with scented oils, warmed if the season is right

    3. Necking/nibbling

    4. Bathing together or bathing one another

    5. Reading erotic stories or watching erotic movies

    6. Sharing erotic fantasies

    7. Slow genital massage without orgasm as the goal (a lubricant can help)

    8. Eating, especially eating sensual foods and feeding each other

    9. Playing together

    10. Exercising together

    11. Wearing or wrapping each other in silk

    12. Singing or playing music together

    13. Gardening together

    14. Passing naughty notes in an inappropriate setting

    15. Sex-texting (be sure you know where your text message is going…) or erotic emails

    16. Erotic codewords or coded language

    17. Naughty scavenger hunts

    18. Role-playing games and toys

    Sometimes, by the way, by removing the pressure of expectations, couples find themselves happily engaged in satisfying intercourse, too, having awakened desire or discovered work-arounds.

    Sounds like a win-win to me.

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    Article by: Barbara DePree

    Doctor and Founder of www.MiddlesexMD.com Barbara DePree MD has been a physician providing women's healthcare since 1989. She had a traditional obstetrics and gynecology practice for 17 years. Since 2006 her practice has been devoted to midlife women. She realized that multiple changes, common to many women at that stage of life resulted in changes (sometimes unpleasant) in sexual function. Yet there weren't great resources for women to learn more, or purchase products that might help. In April 2010, she launched an on-line business, MiddlesexMD.com to help women enjoy sexuality for life, offering clinically sound information, practical advice, and intimacy aids. Because sexuality is so important to relationships and happiness, her goal is to help women preserve it as they age. 

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