Keep Them Coming: Still got it

Open The Doors Coaching

Keep Them Coming with Kristen Thomas. // Photo by Nicole Bissey

Aging doesn’t have to mean slowing down in the bedroom. If you’ve seen the beginning of Disney’s Up, you likely cried tears of longing or hope that you, too, will be so loved until your dying day. You might have had grandparents that not only celebrated many years together but actually really liked, loved, and respected one another. How can you be like those sweet older couples that are so in love after all their years together? 

It is highly likely that the older couples whose relationships you admire maintained a strong sexual connection. Sorry not sorry to burst your patriarchal mother bubble—the one that prevents you from seeing older people, especially older women, as sexual beings. Grannies and Grampies still get their rocks off. We should all be having sex until the day we die, lest some medical issue prevents us from doing so.

Maintaining a satisfying sexual relationship as you age is no small chore. Adapting to physical changes, learning how to communicate as you both evolve, finding ways to continue to explore sex to prevent boredom, staying connected to your own feelings of sexiness, and prioritizing intimacy all take real dedication. 

Less sex doesn’t equal sexlessness

One myth I’ve heard perpetuated is that long-term couples “naturally” experience a slow decline in sexual activity until they basically have no sex life together. While yes, it does happen to some couples, a gradual decline into a sexless relationship is not guaranteed for everyone.

When people say, “a decrease in the quantity of sex is natural or expected,” that is accurate. Many couples have the “New Relationship Energy” phase where they bang it out. Then most couples settle into a new norm, a lower amount than the NRE phase, certainly, but also many continue to have what they consider to be a healthy amount of sexual interactions for their relationship. 

When people add, “And one day expect that you two won’t be having sex anymore,” that is when I have a problem. It happens to some couples, but it is not the automatic outcome for all long-term relationships. 

Studies show that having sex around once a week or between 50-56 times per year is the magic number. Couples who report more sex do not report higher happiness levels, but those that report lower rates of sex also say they aren’t as satisfied overall with their relationship. 

Sex can look like many things. Ultimately, what’s important is that both partners are satisfied with the frequency and quality of their sexual activity, regardless of what statistics may say. 

Keeping the fires of desire burning

What makes a sexual relationship work long-term is no mystery. If you want to grow old with someone and still have sex, here are the key factors to doing both. Many of these points are from The Gottman Institute’s list of 13 behaviors correlating to having an amazing sex life.  

Communication, communication, communication. Couples must communicate openly and honestly with each other about their needs, desires, and concerns as they age. You have to remain good friends and talk comfortably about your sex life. Maybe you accomplish good communication through lots of one-on-one time, or maybe you do regular relationship check-ins. Perhaps you go to couples therapy or coaching together. Some couples write letters in a journal to one another. There are lots of ways to open up a dialogue. Learn how to talk to each other, then keep talking for the rest of your lives. 

Continue to explore. Couples with a good sex life keep playing and having fun together. They also know how to turn their partner on or off. Yes, you can talk about turn-ons abstractly, but physically exploring one another’s bodies in new ways while checking in or having a debrief will give you a clearer view of their roadmap to pleasure. Add toys. Exploring and maintaining nuance doesn’t have to be expensive or outlandish; it just has to involve curiosity and newness. 

Prioritize intimacy and connection. The fires of desire require daily stoking. The fuel required is intimacy. This is about way more than sexual interactions. Esther Perel says intimacy means “into me see,” meaning it’s based on an invitation to let someone in physically and emotionally. 

Couples who say ”I love you” every day and mean it, kiss passionately for no reason, are physically affectionate even in public (when they feel safe), cuddle, prioritize sexual interactions, give surprise gifts, have weekly dates, turn toward one another when shit gets hard in life, and who take romantic vacations have been found to have better sex lives. 

Adapt. Your bodies will change. Our backs ache at the end of long days. Our knees creak like wooden floors. Some of us will develop disabilities we must learn to work around. Adapting to these changes will be necessary to maintain physical intimacy and sexual expression. 

Tools are out there to make sex easier. The hilarious scene in Meet The Fockers where Barbra Streisand’s elderly clients practice their hip thrusts with their wedge pillows should be you one day. Sex swings are not just for the young and wild, you need only be wild at heart. How To Build A Sex Room on Netflix featured some of the best sex furniture available on the market. 

There’s a plethora of toys out there for all genders that are fun for the able-bodied, but sex toys are also a practical solution for those who have an injury or disability. Netflix’s Grace and Frankie season three focused on their creation of a vibrator company after Grace suffered an arthritis flare-up after starting to masturbate regularly. The storyline is believable because that shit is real. Vibrators and strokers make for easy work.   

Seek help when you can’t figure your shit out. If you are both sexual beings, and you both believe that sex is an integral part of your relationship, you owe it to one another to work on your sex life, no matter your age. Whether it be a trauma-informed therapist, a sex coach, a book, or a website, there are endless resources available to help you have a lifetime of great sex. 

Check out the book Sizzling Sex For Life by Michael Castleman, or visit The Gottman Institute’s website or read their book Eight Dates. Listen to sexuality podcasts like Keep Them Coming or Lovers and Friends with Shan Boodram. 

The best time to make things better was yesterday. The next best time is today. 

You can find Kristen @OpenTheDoorsKC on Twitter or

Categories: Culture