From the Philadelphia Gay News
March 19, 2015
By Dr. Thomas Wood
Is it possible to outgrow your sexuality? For some, this may seem like a ridiculous notion but gay, bisexual and transgender men over 50 are regularly asked to consider this very question. Generally speaking, sexual wholeness originates in positive sources of intimacy, sensuality, sexual identity and seductive play. Maintaining a healthy body plays an important role as well. Since there is no one way to define sexuality, consider what sexual “wholeness” means to you as you read these tips. If you wonder how men can possibly keep their sexuality alive after age 50, here are five methods worth giving a try. You may unlock your sexiest years yet!
1. Into-Me-See: How could you be more vulnerable than to share your deepest sexual desires? As we age, we get a better sense of what we like or might like to try. Do you want to change your typical sexual position? Do you think a little rough play is hot? Is there a toy you’d like to try? Don’t waste time worrying what others might think! Instead, improve your connections by initiating intimate conversations with your partner and people you trust.
2. Sense and Sensuality: It is normal to want to make a good sexual impression. However, caring too much about impressing your sexual partner can quickly lead to performance anxiety. Aging does affect sexual response in many men, making it difficult to gain or maintain erections. This reality could seem depressing if it weren’t for our body’s amazing ability to transmit pleasure through a wide variety of other sources! Focus less on the state of your erection and more on pleasurable touch, tastes, sights, sounds and smells. Sensual play is the secret to positive erotic tension. Treat all your senses as a gateway to arousal and performance pressures can soon melt away.
3. Can I See Your ID, Please?: Finding sexy labels or identities for yourself after 50 can be difficult. Most of us lack the funds to be a “sugar daddy” or the body/face/hair to be a “silver fox.” Although positive feedback from others may influence how we label our sexual selves, the ultimate decision is our own. Sounds like power, doesn’t it? That’s because it is! Close your eyes and think about your best, most unique qualities. Look yourself over in the mirror and notice where your eyes stop and what they admire. Ask friends or a close confidant what makes you stand out in a crowd. Combine these features into a word, title or identity that makes you feel good and let yourself come out all over again. It keeps your sexual identity fresh and creates surprising sexual intrigue.
4. Genitals and More!: Let’s face it, most of us have not been kind to our bodies. Over time, drinking, smoking and non-prescription drug use do incredible damage to our neurological and vascular systems — those structures responsible for controlling sexual response. Consider taking steps to increase your health in these areas. Exercise more for vascular health or work with a mental-health clinician to improve mental and emotional well-being. Most importantly, bank on your body’s resilience by giving it a little time to heal by dialing down or eliminating smoking, drinking or use of other harmful substances.
5. Sexual Visibility: Catching the eye of someone attractive can be exciting and arousing! So often, older men are desexualized and can feel sexually invisible to others. What is even worse is that, without positive feedback, we can begin to desexualize ourselves. Our brains miss sexual opportunities when we aren’t looking for them, causing us to feel more isolated from flirtatious play. In order to be open, we must bathe our brains in seduction. Create a mantra to repeat in your mind that describes yourself as a healthy and sex-loving man without shame. Even if you don’t believe it right away, you may come to see the truth in your mantra over time and may even notice others who want to help prove it.
On April 25, the LGBT Elder Initiative will host a free sex and sexual-health workshop for older gay, bi and trans men at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. For more information, contact the LGBTEI at email@example.com. For more information on gay, bisexual and transgender men’s sexual health over 50, visit www.sageusa.org/ and www.aarp.org/relationships/friends-family/aarp-pride/. You can also purchase the book “Sex Happens: A Gay Man’s Guide to Intimacy” by Arlen Leight or find it at your local library.
Dr. Thomas Wood is a licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist with the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). Dr. Wood maintains a private practice through Lotus Counseling in Chadds Ford and also manages his group practice, Relationship and Sex Therapy Associates in Philadelphia. He also works as adjunct faculty through the Human Sexuality Education Department at Widener University and the Department of Psychiatry at Temple University.