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Age well

Seniors and sex

Having sex is a normal and natural part of life, and that doesn’t change as people age. In fact, maintaining a healthy sex life in the golden years can have many benefits for emotional and overall well-being, and can even slow aging.

The majority of seniors remain interested in sex and able to engage in sexual activity. That being said, the experience of sex and sexual activity can change in several ways as people get older.

Physical and psychological challenges

As we age, both men and women can face certain physical challenges to sexual activity. Both sexes may find it takes longer to get aroused and may notice decreased desire and stamina. Orgasms may take longer or be weaker than they used to be.

As a result of hormonal changes that come with menopause, women may experience vaginal dryness, breast sensitivity or pain during intercourse. Men may take longer to reach erection, and their erections may not be as large or as hard as before.

Certain other conditions can lessen sexual desire or physical ability in older adults. Things like having diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, prostate problems, high blood pressure, incontinence and emphysema can make sex more challenging, as can being on certain medications.

Aging can also be very difficult psychologically. Mental and physical challenges can affect overall well-being, and things like depression, low self-confidence and performance anxiety can make sexual activity less satisfying for seniors.

Factors to avoid

To stay sexually potent, avoid the following as you age:

  • Smoking
  • Carrying extra weight
  • Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day

Benefits to maintaining sexual activity

Remaining sexually active as you age can have many perks. In many ways, sex can be better and more satisfying than it has ever been. You may have the luxury of having more privacy, having less stress in your life and, often, no worry about pregnancy.

Sex is good for you for many reasons:

  • It’s pleasurable
  • It releases endorphins that increase good feelings and lower anxiety
  • It releases substances that pump up your immune system
  • It can actually slow aging and prevent wrinkles around your eyes
  • It’s good exercise
  • In men, it releases hormones that strengthen bones and muscles
  • Having sex actually helps you to keep having sex. Studies show that sexually active people naturally produce more sex hormones

Proceed with caution

As with having sex at any age, sexual activity at an older age comes with certain risks. Seniors may not have to worry about unwanted pregnancy, but they are not protected against getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and should always practise safer sex.

As an older adult, you should make sure you have the stamina and physical ability to have sex before moving forward. There are many things you can do to have the sex life you want. 

There’s no reason seniors shouldn’t have the full, fun sexual life they want. In fact, doing things to help us stay healthy today, which includes having an active sex life, can help us all stay healthy for years to come.

Keeping your sex life healthy

The following tips will help you keep your sex life going strong:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat well
  • Foster open communication with your partner
  • Limit alcohol
  • Maintain intimacy and affection
  • Manage your weight
  • Practise safer sex
  • Stay active
Seniors and sex
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