“When we talk about sexuality, most people focus on the negative, like preventing STDs,” says Beverly Whipple, PhD, Professor Emerita from Rutgers University and member of the National Coalition for Sexual Health. “I’m all for that, but it’s still negative. Any talk on the benefits of sexual expression has been almost entirely absent.” In which case, Dr. Weeks’ research may be the positive steam today’s sexual health conversation needs.

For anyone without a partner, don’t worry: masturbation is just as beneficial, says Whipple, also known as “the inventor of the G-Spot.” It can also be cuddling or kissing. And clinical sexologist Ava Cadell, PhD, a spokesperson for The Experience Channel, agrees. “I contend that regular intimacy is even more important than sex,” says Dr. Cadell. “Kissing, hugging and holding hands also release the feel-good bonding chemical oxytocin.” (See how else oxytocin can help you be a better lover.)

But before any of that, you must rid yourself of the myth that your sexuality declines as you age, says Dr. Cadell. “Instead, embrace your mature years as a time of enhanced sexuality, free from the worries of pregnancy, rich with knowledge and wisdom. At this point in your life, you know exactly what turns you on and off and you have the ability to communicate it.”

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