WOW: Women's Older Wisdom

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REKINDLING SEXUAL DESIRE Guest Post by Walker Thornton

Pat TaubPat Taub

When a woman tells me that her sexual desire has decreased I want to know more. What’s behind that statement? What’s going on in her life, or her body that causes her to feel little interest in sex?

I don’t believe you wake up one day to find that sexual desire has suddenly disappeared. It happens gradually.

Pat Taub, WOW blog, Portland, Maine

Wondering why sexual desire has disappeared

Some of the factors that can contribute to a decline in sexual desire in older women:


Pat Taub, WOW Blog, Portland, Maine

When you feel disconnected from your partner, desire drops off

So, how do you rekindle sexual desire as an older woman?

For starters, ask yourself: What is it that I don’t like about having sex with my current partner? What do I need to say and ask for? How can I be sexual without a partner?

As a single woman you can give yourself pleasure—using fingers and, or, toys. There’s no reason to assume that sex is only for couples.

Actually it’s important from a sexual health perspective to build desire and experience the physical benefits of arousal. During arousal, blood flows to vaginal tissues and helps keep them supple and lubricated.

If the issue is your partner, you need to talk to him or her. Talk about what you want, what you feel is missing and solicit their assistance. And yes, it’s going to be hard and possibly awkward.

Try playing together outside of the bedroom. Flirt. Snuggle. Hold hands. Do fun activities that strengthen your connection. When sexual desire begins to disappear we tend to distance ourselves from our lover, which only reinforces the separation. The goal is build on what you have and move slowly from there to more explicitly sexual activities.

Pat Taub, WOW Blog, Portland, Maine

Touch as an entry into rekindling desire

As Esther Perel says, “Committed sex is premeditated sex.” When you plan for sexual intimacy, it builds desire and indicates your willingness, or eagerness, to a partner.

In my book, Inviting Desire, in addition to a chapter on being single and sexual, there is a chapter on asking for what you want, with exercises to help you express your wants and needs.

Don’t expect to feel a surge of sexual desire, if it’s been a while.

Pat Taub, WOW Blog, Portland, Maine

Start slowly, with touching and cuddling and kissing. Feel the sensations. Share, “I like it when you do that” and “would you touch me (here)” as encouragement.

In choosing to create sexual desire you are giving yourself permission. And whether you’re single, lesbian, heterosexual or something else, you can have the kind of sex you want. It starts with you, with choice, conversation, awareness, and a desire to embrace your sexuality.

Pat Taub, WOW blog, Portland, Maine

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Head Shot 2Walker Thornton is a sex educator and author, specializing in midlife sexuality. As a public speaker she combines positive aging messages with sexuality by helping women be bold in what they seek in their lives. Links: and



If you’d like more conversations with like-minded women, we have a Facebook group for you: WOW (Women’s Older Wisdom)

Pat Taub is a family therapist, writer and activist and life-long feminist. She hopes that WOW will start a conversation among other older women who are fed up with the ageism and sexism in our culture and are looking for cohorts to affirm their value as an older woman.