Sex and Aging: What You Need to Understand

by Robert Carver
mature couple getting intimate in bed

A lot of misconceptions revolved around sex and aging. Though there’s a difference when having sex while younger compared to when you’re older, it doesn’t mean you no longer deserve to enjoy sex in old age. It’s true that a lot of changes has occurred since you became a senior.

But if you know how to handle and keep up with these changes, you’ll still enjoy every day of your life including your sexual relationships. You don’t have to overlook this bodily pleasure because it still contributes to your health and self-esteem. There can be problems that can interfere with your sexual pleasure later in life, but they’re not too big for you to handle.

Common Sex Concerns in Older Men

  • Impotence

Impotence happens when older men have difficulty achieving or keeping an erection strong enough for sexual intercourse. This problem is often caused by health issues, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Even the medicines used to treat these problems can also cause impotence.

  • Longer time needed to get an erection

While younger men get aroused quickly, it takes longer time for older men to achieve an erection. If they do, it no longer as firm or as hard as it used to be. There will be less semen ejaculated and it takes a longer time before another erection is possible. All these things are due to a decrease in testosterone levels in men, which is a natural part of the body’s aging process.

Health Problems Affecting Your Sex Life

lower back pain from arthritis1. Arthritis

Apparently, no one is able to have an enjoyable sex when his joints are aching. Yet, this can’t stop you from ruining your sex life. There are many ways you can do to reduce the discomfort caused by arthritis. Joint surgery is one option. You can also take pain relievers to treat the pain, have warm baths, or choose a sex position that’s more comfortable.

2. Chronic pain

The aging process is also associated with pain occurring throughout the body. This pain may continue for longer periods of time or may keep coming back after it’s gone. Chronic pain can be caused by bone conditions, improper blood circulation, or problems in the blood vessels. It would be hard for you to move or keep intimate with your partner when you’re suffering from chronic pain. The medical community offers treatment for this problem. First, your doctor will give you an assessment and find out if your chronic pain can be treated and what kind of treatment suits your need. Chronic pain isn’t the end of your sexual enjoyment when you seek help.

3. Diabetes

Erectile dysfunction can be a warning signal for diabetes. It’s because of the nerve damage, blocked arteries, and hormonal problems that are caused by too much glucose in the body. Though not all men who have diabetes face sexual problems, as an older person you should make it a point to have your blood glucose levels checked regularly. What may seem a sexual problem brought about by aging may mean something more. Another thing is, diabetes treatment can also cause impotency. Make sure to open up with your doctor the possible reactions of your body to your drugs and be sure it can’t harm your sexual relationship.

4. Incontinence

Leak of urine is more common in both older men and women. While this problem is more common in aged women than in men, it’s still a problem that may interfere with your sex life. Urinary incontinence could also be a symptom for other problems, such as chronic cough, constipation, urinary tract infection, weak pelvic floor, nerve damage, enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. Treatment of incontinence varies depending on the symptoms. But if your incontinence problem is mostly associated with aging, some form of treatments may include lifestyle changes, exercises, and medications.

5. Heart disease

Heart problems can also prevent you from enjoying sexual pleasure in old age. Atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, can damage the blood vessels and prevent proper blood circulation. Since more blood is needed to attain an erection, any problems affecting the nerves can cause you to have erectile problems. That’s why heart care is important when you’re getting older. Men who had been through a heart attack may have fears having sex with their partners again. But there’s nothing to be scared when your heart condition is already stable. You can start having sex three to six weeks after the attack. Get your doctor’s advice to be sure and don’t be ashamed to ask about sex issues in relation to your condition and medication.

6. Stroke

man having a stroke and heart attackMost problems associated with stroke is getting an erection after the experience. This may be caused by a damage in the neurologic connection between the brain and the penis. But some men have improved their sex drive dramatically months after the stroke. Erectile dysfunction may not only be the contributing factor to the loss of your sex drive after the stroke. You may be dealing with problems in finances, temporary paralysis, lack of self-esteem, fear of another stroke, or depression. You should have an open communication with your partner in order to go through these situations more smoothly. A sex therapy might also be of help.

7. Surgery

Oftentimes, surgery is needed to repair one’s body. Some older men who suffered from enlarged prostate may have to go through prostatectomy, the process of removing all or part of a man’s prostate. This process, however, can’t cause sex problems because the doctors may save the nerves going to the penis. Erections will then be possible.

8. Stress

Older people have more things to worry about compared to younger ones. Aside from life’s daily stressors, you’ll also be worrying about an illness, lifestyle changes, getting old itself, and retirement. Worrying constantly may affect your health more as well as your sex life.

You can’t prevent yourself from getting old. It’s just the way it is. Though you can’t no longer achieve the strong and firm erections you had in your younger years, it’s not enough reason to surrender to the idea of sex. There are many things you can do to enjoy your sex and intimacy with your partner. You can prolong your foreplay, which your partner may enjoy more, or you can shower her with sweet nothings. A woman appreciates it more when you’re more affectionate and sweeter. And this may not even require you to always engage in sex.

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