Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Sex and Aging!
Sex through all stages of life
Yes – your grandparents are probably still having sex! As are your parents. And the truth is, age does not have to stop anyone from enjoying having sex. Our sexual health is an important part of our lives regardless of age. But the natural aging process does impact our physiological make up, which then can impact some aspects of sexual activity.
How does aging impact sexual health?
The many physical changes that aging can bring may impact one’s sexual activity. This can include everything from age related illness, lower libidos, hormonal changes, muscle loss/weakness, to the many side effects of medications. But there are ways to navigate these changes to continue to have an active and healthy sex life into one’s later years.
The reality is that as we age our bodies change. This is true of our reproductive organs and hormones as well. These changes may bring about new obstacles that may include the following:
Many of these concerns can be dealt with through speaking with your health practitioner for assistance. There are medications, creams and naturopathic options to help alleviate many age-related sexual health concerns.
Communication is Key
As with so many things in our lives, communication is the key! As we deal with the many changes aging brings into our lives, we need to maintain open discussions with our partners. This will allow both parties the opportunity to express their changing needs, if any, that are the result of age-related changes.
It may be as simple as more intimacy before any sexual activity, using lubricant, discussing any shame related to body changes or sexual activity so everyone can move forward within a trust-filled relationship, or simply acknowledging that things are different. But different does not have to mean bad. Different can be exciting and fun as you find new ways to express your sexual lives together.
Safer Sex Practices are for All Ages!
The Mayo Clinic states that an ongoing interest in sex, as well as satisfaction with the frequency and quality of sexual activity, is positively associated with health in later life. Older adults can continue to enjoy an active sex life. This can be with a long-term partner or, due to divorce or the death of a spouse, with new partners. With this in mind, sexual activity at any age requires one to continue to implement safer sex practices to aid in the prevention of STIs. This includes the use of condoms, oral barriers (dams) and lubricants. STIs can be transmitted at any age!
Many older adults view prevention from a pregnancy point of view only. This results in a false belief that one does not need to use prevention. This becomes apparent when we see that overall STIs are on the rise in North America, with infections among adults age 65 and older more than doubled between 2007 and 2017. Regardless of one’s age, safer sex practices need to be incorporated so that one can stay sexually healthy while having a viable and healthy sex life.
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