Updated: Jan 16, 2019
Originally published on Zoosk: The Date Mix
Remember the 70s? Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll? Well, many of us boomers are at it again, rediscovering passion after saying goodbye to those long-term marriages where the sex went stale. The world may consider us past our prime, but if the amount of sex and romance out there in the over-50 crowd is any indication, we seem to be beating the odds.
However, along with all that free-wheeling fun comes consequences. If you’re enjoying the sexual re-revolution while dating after 50, there are a few issues you’ll likely encounter.
Here’s how to be ready for them.
STDs are still a thing. Apparently, there’s a rise in STDs among us baby boomers. Maybe we’re being reckless because there’s no longer a risk of pregnancy, or maybe it’s because with online dating we’re interacting with more people than we would otherwise. No matter the reason, it’s an epidemic you don’t want to become part of.
If you’re going to become sexually active, get tested. Go to your doctor, a clinic, whatever works for you and ask for an STI panel. Talk about testing for herpes, too, because it’s not included in the typical blood panel (although you probably know if you have it).
Talk with any potential sexual partners about what you’re bringing to the party and ask them to get tested as well. It’s a slippery slope from that last glass of wine to the bedroom, so make sure you talk before you go thrashing under the sheets. While it’s true that this takes some of the spontaneity out of romance, would you rather have an awkward conversation or a venereal disease?
Bladder infections are back. Hey women, remember the old bladder infections from years ago? Guess what? They’re baaack. If you’ve been married or otherwise coupled for decades, this one may take you by surprise. Robust and/or frequent expression of your new-found passion means it’s time to break out the cranberry juice.
Oh, and when you do get to your doctor, be prepared for that sly little smile when you tell them you have an active sex life. They think it’s so cute that people our age are still experiencing passion and romance.
Parts work differently. After a certain age, many people find their sexual parts don’t exactly work the way they used to. Women experience vaginal dryness which can cause pain during intercourse, and men have what we delicately call performance issues.
The good news is there are ways to deal with most of these. Again, a visit to your doctor can get you a prescription for aids to help both women and men. (But they’re not cheap, so be ready.)
For women, inexpensive solutions include various types of lubricants you can easily find in drugstores. A more expensive solution, available via prescription, is called the “estring,” which is a product you insert, lasts for several months, and restores lubrication.
For men, some have had varying levels of success with vitamin supplements such as L-Arginine. Available in vitamin stores, it’s the cheaper alternative to Viagra or Cialis.
Becoming sexually active after taking a bit of a break is a whole lot of fun, but it’s also important to remember that just because you’re older and wiser doesn’t mean you’re immune to making mistakes. Take care of yourself, be safe, and (as mom used to say) make good decsions.
And, of course, don’t forget to have fun.
Karen Haddigan is the author of Secrets of Dating After Fifty: An Insider’s Guide to Finding Love Again.