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5 Things To Know About Dating After 40

Dating Couple

Perhaps life handed you a curve ball and you find yourself single, widowed, or divorced and are now seeking companionship and intimacy. Yes, desire doesn’t disappear. It’s not surprising that we seek loving caring relationships to enrich our lives with dating and sex. And data suggests that healthy relationships and regular sexual activity are important to our overall sense of well- being and longevity.

But the prospect of dating when you’ve been out of “practice” seems so foreign it makes you feel queasy.  The “who, what, and where” are not so simple considerations in the dating game. Add the possibility of sex and it may seem a bit daunting if not terrifying.  

While we are not a dating site, we have some thoughts on how to safely enjoy this next phase of life and especially, intimacy. We’ve developed the “FemmePharma- 5” criteria and agreement for diving into the deep end of intimacy in a new relationship.

Safety While Dating

In any new relationship be sure to do a bit of investigation.  It’s important to do some detective work to keep yourself safe.  If you live in the same community, seek out mutual connections and do some tangential “reference checking”.  If this individual lives outside the community it may be necessary to check out social media profile, credit rating, etc.  Guard your safety and your life; predators are skilled at the art of deception.  

As a rule, don’t share your cellphone number.  The first meeting is best done in a public place during the daytime, for example, over coffee. Alcohol, though it might help loosen the conversation, it is not a good idea. Have an escape plan ready, for example, arrange to meet a friend at a particular time for dinner or a walk.

If you feel like the first meeting went well, you can exchange phone numbers or suggest a time to do a something that you both like.

The “Here After”

The best piece of advice I received was from one of my professors and it has resonated with me for many years.  For a serious relationship, it has nothing to do with life after death and everything to do with values.  Having a mutual understanding of the significance of this new relationship (i.e., casual, looking for love, best friends with benefits) is key to transparency and health. If this new love interest is “not here after what you’re here after, you’ll be here after they are gone.”

You do not need to make this clear in the first meeting, but it is important to keep it in the back of your mind.

Secret Of Great & Safe Sex After 40

If you decide to “do IT”, decide what “IT” means.  There are many ways to engage in intimacy and both parties must feel comfortable with the type of sexual activity.  Communicate with your partner.  If either party is uncomfortable then it’s a good idea to take it slowly, perhaps work through it or “go your own way”.

Sex is something most of us work on as we get older and passion and performance decrease and intimacy and trust become more important. If you haven’t been sexually active with someone else for some time it may be quite strange to start again, especially if you have had long term partners before.

Condoms on male partners are still essential to provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases.  The risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease doesn’t disappear after a “certain age”.  “Sexually transmitted infections (STI) among older adults have dramatically increased in recent years, especially among those who are widowed and divorced.” 

Condoms can be quite irritating, even with lubrication and can also lessen sensation as we get older. It is worthwhile to consider both of you taking an STI screen three months before any at risk activity and both have an agreement to be abstinent during those three months. A series of negative  PCR COVID tests is also essential these days. Immunization doesn’t prevent transmission. 

Preparation is also important. As we age our sexual organs don’t perform as they did when we are young. All our surfaces need regular attention – especially moisturization. The area around the vulva, vagina and anus are especially vulnerable. To enhance the ease and comfort of sexual activity use a vaginal moisturizer daily- not just before sex. Vaginal moisturizers are intended to hydrate the delicate tissues of the vagina and keep them healthy.  When you are ready for intimacy it is likely to make everything work a bit more smoothly.  FemmePharma’s personal lubricant and vaginal moisturizer, Satisfaite, comes in a prefilled applicator that also helps with dilation.  

Let’s talk about sex…or not!

Whatever happens in the bedroom, or for that matter anywhere you engage in intimacy, it is personal and there has to be a mutual agreement about what can be shared with others. While talking with your friends may help you understand and share strategies for overcoming problems and improving your sex life, nothing replaces expert help.  As a rule, never mention your partner’s name or anything that could identify them when discussing your sex life.

“Time to Say Goodbye”

Hopefully we’ve become a little wiser and discerning with age.  Time is a precious commodity and there’s little value investing emotional or physical energy in a relationship that doesn’t bring you joy or enjoyment.  It’s kinder to both parties to part as amicably as possible.  Be careful about break-up discussions. What goes around comes around and often not in the way you thought it went down.

On the other hand, if you have experienced violence or harassment, that is unacceptable. Contact your local domestic violence service – they can help you and perhaps prevent the problem happening to someone else.

*With contribution from Gerianne DiPiano, CEO & Founder of FemmePharma

About the author
Dr. Deb has more than 20 years of experience in academic medicine leadership positions, delivering educational programs on women's health and primary care research for healthcare workers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

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