Looking for the best sex positions for seniors? It’s a subject covered less often than other areas of sex, yet seniors can enjoy sex well into old age.
The Reality of Sex as We Age
Societal and cultural messaging teaches us a variety of ideas, especially when it comes to sex:
Sex is reserved for the young.
Sex means penetration.
Successful sex requires throbbing erections and multiple orgasms.
Women orgasm easily from penetrative sex alone.
We absorb these notions in our youth, at a time when many of us simultaneously don’t receive adequate sex education. Throughout our lives they come to shape our beliefs until circumstances ask us to consider a different approach, or until we happen upon research, books, articles, therapists, and experts who teach us otherwise. More than these notions simply not being true, believing them limits our ability to enjoy the broad spectrum of intimacies and physical pleasures available to us.
Contrary to presumed cultural narratives, people of all ages enjoy sex. In fact, according to a 2018 National Poll on Healthy Aging, 76% of folks between 65-80 agree that sex is an important part of a romantic relationship at any age. Besides, the older we get, the less we get caught up in youth’s insecurities and anxieties and the more experienced we become in knowing our bodies and communicating our needs. Practice makes perfect; a lifetime of lovemaking makes for a great lover!
But there’s no denying that our bodies change over the course of our lifespan and we must learn to change our behaviors and expectations to match. Adaptation is all a part of the adventure. Change might mean the end of sex the way it used to be, but it doesn’t mean the end of sex!
It’s absolutely normal and natural for every person to experience physical challenges throughout their lifetime—and not just due to aging. Stress, depression, trauma, childbirth, hormonal changes, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, surgeries, genital pain disorders, and other emotional and medical issues all factor into how bodies respond to stimulation, arousal, and sex.
Something as simple as starting a new job or as heartbreaking as losing a family member can leave the erotic self in a state of listlessness and apathy. It’s not just the reality of aging that has an impact on how we go about sex. Everything we go through, everything we experience, and everything we endure effects our bodies. Like the best-selling book is aptly titled, The Body Keeps Score.
As if overcoming cultural messaging about sex wasn’t hard enough!
9 Best Sex Positions for Seniors
Alas, for many aging bodies, pain is one of the greatest impediments to reigniting our vitality and engaging in enjoyable sex. Arthritis, back pain, hip pain, and knee pain are the most common types. Pain is about vigilance—protecting and preventing our bodies from feeling it; sex is about letting go. It is extremely difficult to reconcile the two. But with a little experimentation, patience, and the right attitude, these modified positions and suggestions may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
1 – Missionary
The good ole trusty go-to we all know. While it tops our list of sex positions for seniors, it works well for all ages, but it’s especially great if any type of spinal movement causes you pain. The person lying on their back can find an extra boost of support by placing a pillow or two beneath them. Ideally, pillows work well under the lower back or arch of the back. But test it out and see what feels best for you. The person on top has the advantage of using their hands or forearms for support to kneel over their partner.
2 – Standing Missionary
If the person doing the penetrating has back or knee pain, another great option is to adapt missionary to a standing position. You’ll be perpendicular instead of parallel. The partner lying down comes to the edge of the bed (or other furniture) while the other partner stands upright and thrusts. For the standing partner, this ensures there is no pressure on the back and no weight on the knees.
3 – Standing Doggy Style
Similar to standing missionary, standing doggy style enables one partner to stand in order to do the penetrating. For the partner being penetrated, this takes pressure off the back, but be sure not to arch the back if you have back pain. Adding pillows under the stomach and upper body will add extra support. Bonus: try incorporating the use of a doggy style strap.
4 – Modified Sitting Doggy Style
This one is great if the penetrating partner is in a wheelchair or has hip pain. Bring a chair or wheelchair to face the edge of the bed. The other partner, with their back facing the seated person, lowers down onto the partner in the chair. The one on top can use their arms and upper body against the bed to thrust up and down on their sitting lover. Again, pillows make for a great prop in any which way you find them to be useful.
5 – Spooning
Usually thought of as the go-to for after coitus, spooning can be easily enjoyed as a position minimizing any back, wrist, or knee pressure. Lay side by side, parallel, facing the same direction rather than toward each other. The one behind can do the penetrating or the rubbing while the one in front can reach between their legs and rub themselves or their partner. Bonus move: incorporate a fun toy or use those free hands for external clitoral stimulation.
6 – Sideways 69
Pairs well with a Merlot (like the movie Sideways! Just kidding. Sideways 69 is exactly what it sounds like. You’re facing each other’s genitals, but instead of being one on top of the other, you’re turned sideways. This is great for folks with carpal tunnel or rheumatoid arthritis, as there is no weight burden on each other’s hands or wrists. It also enables stimulation with more than just the mouth—spice it up with lube, hands, and toys.
7 – Sitting Pretzel
Also sometimes referred to as the Time Bomb is another great move if your partner is in a wheelchair or if one partner has limited mobility, lower back, knee, or foot pain, or just feels more comfortable being seated. In in this position, the partner on top faces the partner sitting down. This one makes for extra intimacy as you gaze into each other’s eyes. Bonus move: start out slow with a face to face lap dance or make out session to really get things going.
8 – Side-by-Side
Similar to spooning, except you’re facing each other. This is another position where eye gazing can take front and center stage. It’s also a good one for people who find sitting for long periods of time to be painful. Any position where partners are lying on their sides tend to be great options for those with back pain. But this one in particular doesn’t work for all types of back pain, so don’t be afraid to communicate and try something else if it doesn’t feel optimal.
9 – What Works Best For You
You can read expert tips and tricks all day long, but at the end of the day, nobody knows what feels good to your body better than you. Try to look at it as a new fun erotic exploratory journey you get to go on with your body and with your partner. You’re discovering new ways of doing things together. Finding the positions that work best for you is all part of the fun!
8 Other Tips for Great Senior Sex
Sex in older age (or any age) is more than just a set of positions, however. The brain is the biggest sex organ and other body parts beyond the genitals also play a part. Here are some tips that go beyond just sex positions for seniors.
1 – Expand the Mind
As mentioned before, through all stages of our lives, we must challenge some of the cultural narratives we’ve been taught to believe. If we broaden our definition of sex, we find there are endless ways to explore intimacy, pleasure, and excitement within our bodies and with our partners.
When sex is no longer all about penetration with the end goal of orgasm, we can take our time and focus on the feeling rather than getting hung up on the function. Wonderful love can be made with a soft-on. Orgasms can be reached without penetration. Great sex can happen without orgasms. Eroticism is about play and imagination. We don’t need bodies functioning like they did when we were 20 in order to find ways to play. Anyone with the right attitude and the right effort of imagination can spice up their lives if they’re truly willing.
2 – Get Enough Sleep
According to one study, quality of sleep has a direct impact on arousal levels. Be sure you’re doing what you can to ensure you’re getting good ZZZZs. This includes exercise, stress reduction such as meditation or deep breathing practices, or even a melatonin supplement. Consult with your doctor on what might be best for you.
3 – Stretch
Take several minutes to stretch before sex, especially in places where you hurt. Waking your body up will do wonders. Consider yoga for seniors, both for the sex and for your general health. Bonus points if you can make it sexy and playful by sharing erotic thoughts or fantasies simultaneously.
4 – Relax
Try taking a hot shower together to relax your body before and/or after sex. Deep breathes. De-stress. Relax.
5 – Seek Pain Relief
Growing old isn’t easy. If pain is a concern, take an over the counter pain reliever. Some seniors are even finding relief in CBD.
6 – Get Cliterate
(If your partner owns a clitoris.) Have you heard about the orgasm gap? Do you know that the majority of the clitoris in internal vs. external? If your lover is a clitoris owner, remember that the majority of clits need external stimulation in order to reach orgasm. The good ole jackhammer just doesn’t do the trick the way mainstream porn has led us to believe.
7 – Emotional Quotient
Otherwise known as emotional intelligence, practice it with humor, courage, and self-acceptance. At all stages of our lives, sex is naturally messy and sometimes embarrassing. Condom flubs, strange noises during orgasms, loss of erections, the need for more lube, pain, gas, and all sorts of things happen. Going into it with the right attitude is key. So, you peed a little bit. So what! Your partner tickled the pee out of you! That’s why the washing machine was made. It’s a great story, not the end of the world.
8 – Mantra
Have a go-to mantra to repeat to yourself if you tend to get caught up in your head. Something like, ‘this feels so amazing’ or ‘my body loves this pleasure’ will help you stay focused on the feeling rather than getting hung up on function or what your partner might be thinking.
Want to keep reading on the subject? Consider these books:
- Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sexy After Sixty – by Joan Price
- Grandpa Does Grandma: TheABCs of Senior Sex – by Phil Parker, Cindy Elseberry, and Rafael Nazario
- Great Sex Starts at 50: Age-Proof Your Libido & Transform Your Sex Life – by Tracey Cox
- Naked at Our Age – by Joan Price
- Sex After Seventy: It Gets Better – by James Grant
- The Sex Bible for People Over 50: The Complete Guide to Sexual Love for Mature Couples – by Laurie Betito
I hope these sex positions for seniors (and the associated tips) prompt you to try something new in the bedroom.
Have something I missed? Please share in the comments section.
About the Author: Mal Harrison is a certified clinical sexologist, eroticism philosopher, TEDx speaker, member of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, and the Executive Director of the Center for Erotic Intelligence.