Sexual health and aging: Keep the fires burning

Couple Bicycling at the Beach

Sexual feelings are with us for life, even as we grow older. Sexual health is important at any age and intimacy is not something that has to disappear, it is impossible to remain youthful forever but that does not mean we cannot continue to enjoy a healthy sex life. Read on to find ideas on how you and your partner can adapt.

Communication is key

Maintaining a healthy sex life requires talking to your partner. Make time for one another and aim to be sensual and sexual. When you get some alone time, share your thoughts on intercourse. Being open with one another will bring mutual understanding of what you both expect from your sex life. Be completely honest about your experiences.

Practising safe sex

If you have been with your partner for a long time then this topic has probably been discussed and solved, although if you are having sex with a new partner always use protection. Your doctor is the best person to seek advice from if you have any queries.

Long term relationships have less need for worrying about protection, especially if you have both tested negative for any STI’s. Although it is advised that if you have not been tested it is better to use a condom until you know for sure that you have no STIs.

Sexual Health in men

Testosterone is the male hormone. As a man gets older his testosterone levels will naturally drop which can in turn affect libido and performance. By the age of 60 many men report that it takes longer to get an erection and that the erection is harder to maintain. Erectile dysfunction can also become more common. Herbal remedies such as Tribulis Terrestris are a popular way to tackle these problems, medical research also shows that penis pumps like these can work or alternatively medications can be prescribed through a doctor.

Sexual health in women

Oestrogen is the female hormone and as women get older, they reach the menopause and their oestrogen levels decrease and can lead to vaginal dryness and slower sexual arousal. Some women can experience quite extreme emotional changes aswell. Some women lose libido because of the change in shape of their body caused by menopause, making them feel less desirable. Whereas others enjoy sex more because they lose the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Medical conditions and sexual health

Many medical conditions can affect your sexual health. The body works as a unit so any illnesses can have an effect on sexual activity and frequency. Illnesses including the cardiovascular system, diabetes, blood pressure, depression or anxiety can have a direct effect. These conditions often require medication which can also alter sexual health.

Surgical procedures around the pelvic area or central nervous system can have a temporary but significant impact on sexual response. Thankfully the body can counteract this over time until you become fully responsive again in your private area.

Medication and its effects on sexual health

Some medications can inhibit arousal and sexual response; they can also reduce your lack of desire to have sex. If you feel you are having severe sides then consult your doctor to see if there is a better alternative with fewer sexual side effects.

If you take several medications, each of which can have a different effect on your sexual function, use this as an incentive to explore new grounds in sexual activity to find a way to respond well to the situation. Worst case scenario is you learn something new about yourself and the best case scenario is that you and your partner will unleash a whole new arsenal of ways to sexually satisfy one another. Leave no stone unturned!

When you or your partner becomes ill

When you become ill, your sex life can sometimes be less of a priority. Pain, discomfort and anxiety can overcome your sexual desire. Try and find other ways to bond with your partner in this time and don’t think that just because you cannot have sex that you have to lose intimacy.

For the caregiver, demands of caring may impede your sexual desire toward your partner. Draw a fine line between roles of caregiver and partner. Make sure you are still allowing yourself time to be nurtured and avoid that feeling of neglect. This will keep sexual encounters mutually satisfying.

Differences in personal desire

We all have different levels of libido regardless of age. Couples can become stuck in a routine of one being the instigator and the other partner avoiding sexual contact. If you usually avoid sex, try and initiate sex sometimes. If you are usually the instigator, let your partner know if you are unhappy with this. Learn to express your feelings to each other and work out problems together in a positive way.

Cherish the past and embrace the future

Instead of trying to defeat the aging process by coming up with ways to magically revive the sexual experiences you had in your 20s, 30s and so on. Look for ways to improve the way your body responds NOW. Ask yourselves what satisfies you sexually and what you are mutually willing to try.

There are many books that can give great advice on how to maintain a great sex life as you get older, You could even consult an expert. Ask your doctor to point you in the direction.