Often the language you hear around sex at the Noon stage is not the most erotic. Chat about fading libidos, vaginal dryness and pain is not exactly a turn-on. But help is at hand – literally, in some cases, with our guide to sex toys for women in midlife. Women in midlife deserve pleasure, and if a partner is not part of your current set-up, that doesn’t mean orgasms can’t be. In fact self-pleasure is a great aid to sleep, wellbeing and improved mood. So what are you waiting for?
Sex toys can really help, and with an astonishing range of good quality kit available online there’s no need to go shuffling awkwardly into Ann Summers.
Jules Margo, founder of new-generation sex toy outlet, Hot Octopuss says: “In women, oestrogen levels drop before and after menopause, which causes dryness and fewer feelings of sexual arousal and emotional changes. With these impacts on sexual health and body image, sex toys are amazing at changing how you experience your body and seeing the positives. Did you know hormonal changes can actually mean better and more prolonged orgasms than before?”
So if you are looking for an effective sex toy for a midlife body, what works best?
Sex toys for older women: What should you look for?
A good sex toy for midlife bodies should be strong enough for less sensitive vulvas, but the experience it offers should build in intensity instead of going from nought to 60. They should also be comfortable to hold for long periods of time (there’s a condition called white hand syndrome where your hand goes numb from the vibrations) and slim for vaginas that aren’t necessarily able to take a lot of girth.
Plus, for Sex and Relationship expert Annabelle Knight, midlife is not just about hormonal changes. There’s also the, let’s call it, ‘bed death’ of a long-term relationship. Knight says, “There’s a tendency for women to go, ‘I’m happy with my lot, I’m not reaching for the stars any more. This’ll do.’” It doesn’t have to be that way. “Couples have a joint responsibility to sort it out because a lack of sex does wear on people over time. In my role as couple’s counsellor, I find a lot of problems loop back to sex.”
With Knight and Margo’s help, Noon has curated a list of the top ten sex toys for midlife. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed, pleasure has no age limit – we deserve joy, fun, excitement – all the good stuff.
- Lube is the unsung hero of sexual pleasure and sex toy world and it’s a real shame it’s long had this stigma. Using lubricant doesn’t mean your body is broken or your partner can’t turn you on. It means you’re taking control and aiding pleasure. It’s like dimming the lights, simply a release from the pressure of our bodies to perform. It is so useful. Silicon products like Lovehoney’s Indulge are more long-lasting and better track the texture of our own body fluids. While water-based lubricants are recommended for use with sex toys and condoms (silicon can degrade the material), they can dry out quicker and feel less natural. Noon recommends Liquid Silk and says it’s worth spending a little extra on lube. A bit like wine and lipstick, you get what you pay for.
- Clitoral Stimulators – These are palm held, and are all about external stimulation. Nothing to do with penetration. “Not many women use sex toys internally. For decades they all more of less have a phallus shape. It’s a sure sign that sex toys were first designed by men.” A clitoral stimulator looks more like a computer mouse. Masturbation is excellent for increasing vaginal lubrication and elasticity. “You could say, ‘A wank a day keeps the dryness away’ and that, every orgasm is like a mini facelift.” And, says Knight, if your sex life has been a bit moribund of late, “the more you masturbate, the easier you will find it to reach an orgasmic state.” Sex expert Tracey Cox’s clitoral stimulator is made with a layer of super squishy liquid silicon, which is designed to sit like a comfy marshmallow. Cox recommends “nestling it against the clitoris during penetration.” Knight’s own, Aha! has a tongue-like tip and “pleasure nub”. (Others in the range include Wow, Yes, and Ooh Yeah.)
Kegel Balls – They say weight-bearing exercise is the most important training for midlife health to serve you into old age, and this runs as true for your pelvic floor muscle as it is for your glutes. Kegel Balls are tiny dead lifts to keep your vagina fit, basically, though much less exhausting to use. Once they’re in your vaginal canal, your body will naturally clench around them. You’re working out! Kegel balls just keep giving, they increase your chance of trampolining without an “accident, make it fitter for f***ing, and give an enhanced sexual pleasure during masturbation.” They work on the same principle as Gwyneth Paltrow’s notorious yoni eggs. These — though attractive to look at and available in a range of healing crystal options — are not recommended by our experts because they are too heavy.Knight thinks Kegels are so important that mothers should be giving these items to their daughters at those early landmark birthdays. The bestselling 50 Shades of Grey balls come in the average weight of 78g, while Kegel Balls from Knight, Cox and others have a number of different weights. They recommend starting at the lower end.
- Non Demanding Touch – OK this is not technically any kind of a toy. But all our experts recommend sensory sessions. Knight recommends initiating touch that removes sex as the primary goal. “Just have a pleasurable time, hug, stroke each other, make an emotional and physical connection with your partner. Massage is great. If you feel self-conscious doing it with your hands buy a simple tool.”
- Love Rings – Let’s be blunt here: 80% of women don’t orgasm during sex, they need external stimulation and cock rings allow that while also encouraging the blood flow to stay in the chambers of the penis. Men will love how great it makes their penis look, and women will receive the stimulation they need. Tracey Cox’s Supersex Powerful Rechargeable Vibrating [more politely named] Love Ring is made from soft pliable silicon, and will stay in place and comfortable even during vigorous enthusiastic sex.
G Spot Vibrators – It’s the old rampant rabbit, once a radical concept on Sex And the City. Margo has updated the Rabbit specifically for midlife bodies with the Kurve – users can control the amplitude as well as the frequency of vibration. “The vulva and clitoris can become both more and less sensitive with the hormonal changes that come with all stages of menopause, plus it has a soft gel tip which feels nicer against less lubricated vaginal walls,” says Margo.
- Erotica rather than porn – Gets you into a powerfully creative sexual headspace, “Because the most powerful sexual organ is the brain,” says Knight. For a practical approach, try Tracey Cox’s book Great Sex Starts at 50. Although it’s good to keep in mind with sexy reading: One woman’s erotica is another woman’s rape trigger crisis. Knight has two of her own books: Chasing Clouds and The Endless Autumn.
- Massage Wands – “Use your vibrating massage wand all over your body, don’t concentrate only on sex organs.” Wherever you think you have an erogenous zone, go for it.
- Sucking Technology –This is the cutting edge of vibrator tech. A new mechanism involves fluttering sucking pulsing air. “Sometimes, frankly, ‘the new’ is sexy,” says Knight. For Margo the comedic sounding Satisfyer Pro 2 “is the best example of a new line of products which use air waves to stimulate the clitoris. Because pressure is caused by air moving around the clitoris [it feels] like a sucking vibration. Nothing comes in direct contact with skin so it’s very suited to sensitive vulvas and doesn’t require lube.”
- Dilator Kits – This is definitely at the more specialist end of sex toys, but for those with vaginismus, or serious problems with dilation, they can be a lifesaver. “When sex is painful it carries over to the next time as anxiety, getting yourself prepared and opened and warmed-up can really help when things are difficult.” Explains Knight. The G Spot Stimulating Intimate Part Spreader features on the same Lovehoney page as kinky looking speculums and gloves, but is simple and practical toy that will open the door to sex if this is a real problem for you. Knight suggests reading something erotic to aid the process.
What monkeys can teach us about dating
An evolutionary biologist reveals 5 lessons she learned about relationships from studying monkeys
My unexpected love affair – with my husband
After thirty years of marriage, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown found a renewed passion
‘I went to a sex club after my divorce’
After her divorce, one woman decided to visit a sex club. The results surprised her
Sexier with age: I feel sexier at 55 than at 29
Long-lost photos made Rosie Millard realise that despite her wrinkles, she’s gotten sexier with age
I had sex every day of the year – it changed me forever
Quantity, or quality? Daisy Buchanan takes one for the team…