3 Things About Sex After 40 I Wish Someone Told Me (Before Turning 40)


I’m going to be honest: I was a little scared to turn 40. Not just because society tells us women over 40 basically disappear from life, like somehow we all end up in the Bermuda Triangle (which, while annoying, kinda sounds like a nice vacation). But mostly because I was told my days of good sex and pleasure were done. I’m sure you’ve heard the rhetoric. After 40, our vaginas are dried up. Our libido takes a plunge. Sex hurts.

Great.

But what I’ve come to discover about life (and love) after 40 is the complete opposite. I’m hornier than ever. I know what I like, and sex still feels good.

I’m not alone, either. In fact, data from the past decade has suggested that 85% of women over age 40 are still getting it on — and the majority of those women are prioritizing sex.

However, sex after 40 can be different than what you’re used to. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s what you need to know.

There will be some body changes.

OK, yes, there are a few things changing within your body after 40, thanks to your hormones. According to sexologist Marla Renee Stewart, MA, sexpert for Lovers, there are lots of changes that go on with the body after 40.

“Depending on your stressors and what’s going on in your day-to-day life, you might experience a decrease in your libido,” she explains. “Additionally, as your vulva and vagina are aging, you may encounter some atrophy. If you encounter atrophy, that may be painful for intercourse, and if intercourse is painful, that may reduce your wants and desires for sex.”

Some risks also include the sensitivity of the vagina. Because the vagina is more sensitive, Stewart says it will be more prone to micro-tears each time you have penetration.

For folks with hysterectomies, Stewart also says the shift in genital nerves can pose a challenge, as the way you used to masturbate and orgasm may change.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that since your body is changing from day to day, you just don’t know how it will react to certain stimulation, medication, lubricants, or sexual touch itself.

Not all is lost, though! Stewart points out that recognizing and eliminating your stressors in life can help bring your mojo back. And if you’re experiencing vaginal atrophy, you can change that with vaginal moisturizers and lubes, and your libido may stay the same or increase because you have been able to enjoy the sex you want.

Ultimately, Stewart says a rediscovery of your body is needed to ensure that you get the orgasms you want, which can actually be super fun! On that note…

You can rediscover your body.

Although it may seem frustrating at first since you’ll realize your body isn’t what it used to be, Stewart says being explorative is a great way to connect to yourself and your lover.

In the process of rediscovering your body, Stewart suggests checking out what other erogenous zones are available for your pleasure.

“If you haven’t thought about anal before, in your 40s, you may want to venture to this part of the body, especially since the changes that happen to your vagina aren’t happening the same as your anus. You may want to try some anal training,” she recommends. “It’s a great way to learn something new about your body and experience a different source of pleasure. Being able to move up in size can be beneficial, and working with a lover to do it can enhance your variety and unpredictability in the bedroom.”

Unpredictability might be your new mantra in the bedroom as you begin to explore new techniques and even toys, particularly if you haven’t before. A 2023 AARP study found that other types of sexual activity, like masturbation (and oral sex), are on the rise in the 40+ set.

You can experience *more* pleasure.

Probably one of the biggest myths out there is about a woman’s sexual peak. While women’s sexual desire is influenced by many different biological, psychological, and social factors, a woman’s sexual peak begins to increase starting from her late 20s to well into her mid-late 40s. Some women say they enjoy sex more in their 40s than ever before!

It doesn’t hurt that your vulva has a ton of nerves for pleasure, reminds Stewart. But also, at this age, you probably don’t overthink things in the bedroom as much as you did in, say, your 20s.

“Women have more sexual pleasure in their 40s because they have let go of a lot of the hangups that they may have had when they were younger,” Stewart explains. “The shame and stigma slowly dwindle away over time, and these women tend to care more about their own needs than the needs of others. Prioritizing pleasure and joy is central to self-care, and in many instances, people at this age have the ability to make things happen more easily than they did in the past.”

Plus, the AARP study revealed that 83% of Americans ages 40+ acknowledge having erotic dreams or fantasies, spicing things up even more.

So, please speak your mind and let yourself have what you desire… because, by this point, you’ve certainly earned it.



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