Start Where You Are

Have you ever wondered if it’s too late to improve your sex life?

In the last few weeks, I’ve had several conversations with people who felt embarrassed that they were as old as they were and hadn’t figured out their sexualities. For a couple of them, their sexual exploration started when a partner died or they got divorced. For one, it was when their kids were grown up and out of the house. And in a few cases, they had finished some other healing work that they needed to move through before they could start looking at their sexuality. But a common theme during these talks was, “Is it weird that I’m 35/45/60-something and haven’t figured this out?”

So here’s the big secret- however old you are, this is the perfect time to discover your sexuality. It’s never too late to explore your desires and fantasies. It’s never too late to move towards your joy and your pleasure. And you might be surprised to hear that you aren’t alone. A lot of people of all ages start wondering about how to improve their sex lives.

Besides, even if you’ve been exploring your desires and fantasies for years, your sexuality will change. It’ll change because your body changes, or because your relationship(s) will change, or because you move to a different city and need to build new networks, or because you have kids, or because someone in your life dies. It can change for no apparent reason. It can change because you feel complete with how it was and you’re ready for something new. So even folks who started their sexual discovery at a younger age will still have plenty to figure out when they’re older.

There’s almost no time when it does you any good to compare your inside to someone else’s outside. But that’s especially true when we’re talking about sex because far more people cover up how they really feel about their sex lives than you might think. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that someone else has their sexuality all figured out. Trust me- I hear people’s stories for a living and there is much more happening behind the scenes than you might think.

It’s also good to remember that embarking on a sexual exploration when you’re out of late adulthood gives you some advantages that younger folks might not have. You probably have more skills at navigating your emotions, you might be less motivated by peer pressure than when you were younger, and you’ve got more of the perspective that comes with getting older. The emotional intelligence that comes with experience gives you a wisdom that makes your journey smoother.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be simple. Making big shifts in your sex life can stir a lot of stuff up. Questioning your identity isn’t ever easy. Developing new communication skills means getting over a learning curve, which can be challenging. But one of the great things about being a bit older is that you probably have more experience and more resilience than many younger folks do. Use that.

Whenever someone asks me if it’s weird that they’re starting a sexual exploration at whatever age they are, I always tell them that they aren’t alone. And I share one of my favorite quotes with them:

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
-Arthur Ashe