The age-old excuse "I'm too old for this…" doesn't apply to the sex life of seniors.
Contrary to common beliefs, sex and aging go together just fine.
The subject of sexuality is gaining attention and popularity.
Many older adults – being relatively healthy due to advances in medicine and changing dietary patterns – continue an active lifestyle.
That includes an active sex life.
We are designed to live longer and better if we enjoy an active sex life.
Wanting and having sex into old age is only natural. It keeps us connected – which is a good thing for our psychological health.
Also – and again contrary to popular belief - the physical capacity for male erection and male and female orgasm continue almost indefinitely, and achieving orgasm is desired albeit not always achieved.
Research has also found that sexual practices are varied and include intercourse, masturbation and oral sex.
But here's the most surprising part -- sexual satisfaction increases, yes increases, as mature adults enter into their senior years.
Of course, both men and women undergo physical changes throughout life.
Women go through menopause or have a hysterectomy. Often these "liberate" them to enjoy sex more freely.
Changes in women's vaginas that come with aging, such as a lessening of vaginal lubrication, could adversely affect sexual pleasure. But this can easily be remedied with over-the-counter lubricants.
For senior men the big issue could be impotence. In today's world it's often referred to as erectile dysfunction (ED).
It is fast becoming more common, because hypertension, arthritis, heart disease and stroke, and diabetes (mostly due to the Standard American Diet) are reaching epidemic proportions.
These diseases or disabilities (and the medications – with possibly severe side effects -- to treat them) are impediments to satisfying sexual activity.
Atherosclerosis, which leads to narrowing and hardening of the arteries, restricts blood flow to the penis. This results in difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
Of course, the pharmaceutical industry has products to address these problems.
Their drugs, however, don't cure anything. They only suppress symptoms.
Incontinence affects both men and women. Age-related loss of bladder control (urine leakage) can be treated. Ask your doctor about it.
Surgical procedures such as prostatectomy and mastectomy can cause loss of sexual desire or the feeling of desirability in some older adults.
The latter are medical and mental issues that are best dealt with between patients and their medical and mental health professionals.
Sex and aging is often a balance of mental (or emotional) issues and physical ones.
Blaming yourself – or your partner -- for difficulties in sexual matters doesn't make anything better.
Again, seeking the advice and counsel of health professionals can often help.
Sensual activities other than intercourse can be part of a healthy sex life for seniors.
Take time and pay attention to the wants and needs of your partner. Both of you are facing changes that are easier dealt with in a loving relationship.
Old sexual patterns may not be useful. Alternate times of the day, different positions, and extended touching and foreplay may provide new excitement.
For seniors who are widowed, divorced, or whose partner is chronically ill, masturbation can be a satisfying sexual activity.
And, as I say on most pages of this website, both sex and aging can be joyful and rewarding experiences – if you follow a healthy lifestyle.
The two pillars of senior health are
Additionally, frequent hydration is always advisable for older adults. Simply drinking lots of water is best.
Alcohol is not what I consider good hydration, as it causes erection problems in men and orgasm difficulty in women. As well, your mental health suffers from the abuse of alcohol.
Reducing stress, a healthy mental attitude, maintaining a positive outlook on life, and staying socially connected, are equally important to your senior health.
Sex and aging should be a mutually inclusive part of a fulfilling life.
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