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Sex: Deciding to Just Do It

by Dr. Barb DePree MD

We are learning more and more about what motivates women to have sex -- enough to know that we still don't know that much.

We do know that our motivations change with our situations. What motivates us when we're young and single is very different from what motivates us when we're older, and in long-standing relationships, or older and single.

So when we suffer from lack of desire -- are we missing the sort of drive we had when we were teenagers? And is it possible we just haven't found a new motivation for sex?

The more we learn from women, the more it seems that for us sex doesn't always begin with lust, but instead starts in our hearts and minds. We engage in our heads first, decide to have sex, and then with enough mental and emotional stimulation, our genitals respond. The older we grow, the more this is true. Age and maturity bring a new game into the bedroom.

For us, having sex is less an urge than a decision. One we can choose to make and then act upon. When we decide to say yes instead of no, decide to schedule sex instead of waiting (perhaps for a very long time…) for our body to spontaneously light on fire, decide to engage with media or methods that will put us in the mood rather than wait for romantic moments to happen along, we're using our heads to keep sex in our relationships.

Deciding to be intimate unlocks the pleasure. And the more sex we decide to have, the more sex we will feel like having. That's the secret to regular bonding.

Why just decide to do it? This much we know:

* Sex leads to a longer life.
* Sex, like all exercise, helps protect us against heart attack and possibly stroke.
* Hormones released during sex may decrease the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
* It bolsters the immune system.
* Sex before bed helps us get to sleep.
* Of course, sex burns calories.
* Sex can help relieve chronic pain, including migraines.
* An active sex life is closely correlated with overall quality of life.
* Good sex can protect us against depression.
* Good sex reduces stress and increases self-esteem.
* Sex with your significant other stimulates feelings of affection, intimacy and closeness.

Making sex a focus in your life as you get older doesn't make you unusual. A study by AARP found that 66% of women age 45-59; 48% of women age 60-74 and 44% of women over the age of 75 believe that a satisfying sexual relationship is important to their quality of their life.

We think those numbers would be higher if women knew they could engage in thoroughly satisfying sex without waiting around for desire. Just by using their heads.


  • Your posting goes a long way in taking the pressure off women as to why they are not feeling sexual at the start of the sexual act. Deciding to have sex is the first step; as we get older, we have to learn to almost schedule it in at first, then it becomes something we want to keep doing! The benefits are everything you state they are in your posting. If you do not have a partner, do it yourself!. This keeps the blood flow going to the genitals for when you do find a partner.

    Anne on

  • Yes, yes, yes!!! After my husband of 35 years came out and finally admitted to himself that he is gay (and I finally understood why my sex life was so crappy for all those years). After about 2 years of celibacy (not finding "Mr. Right or even close to Mr. Right on the dating websites I was on) and the resulting depression, I finally decided at age 61 that I at least wanted to have some sex again before I died. So I posted a profile on a couple of “swinging” websites, just looking for sex. Of course, i wasn’t JUST looking for sex. I wanted to be with men who were respectful, not attached (or if they were attached, that their wives/girlfriends knew and approved), intelligent enough to carry on a conversation before and after sex, etc. I had no clue how many men would respond to me! I had my choice of hundreds (as young as 18 and as old as 81). I found less than 10% at all interesting and I ended up “playing” for about a year and a half or 2 years. Then, it started getting “old” and I wanted more relationships, instead of JUST sex. Very soon after that I met a man online who was polyamorous and with whom I fell in love very quickly. We have been together over 6 months now and we both have other lovers, but it isn’t just sex — we are involved in each others’ lives and care deeply about each other.

    It has been a journey for me (I am now 64), but I am happier now than I have ever been! And the sex is fabulous!

    Ruth Lym on

  • Wonderful article. I’ve just been writing about this myself in my new book, and you make these points so succinctly! I just linked here from my Facebook Naked at Our Age page,

    Joan Price

    Author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty and the upcoming Naked at Our Age: A Straight Talking Guide to Senior Sex.

    Joan Price on

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