As we age, our sex drive and other bodily functions change but that doesn’t mean sex can’t be enjoyable. Sex isn’t just for the young as many seniors continue to enjoy their sexuality into their 80s and beyond. Having a healthy sex life is great for your physical and mental health and your self-esteem.
Physiological changes happen over time for both men and women which can affect how we enjoy our sexuality. I will discuss tips to help resolve these issues. You may feel anxious about these changes but adapting will help you maintain a healthy, fulling sex life.
Having sex with a partner or going solo has many benefits. Your immune system gets a nice boost. It burns calories to help with weight management. It lowers blood pressure and lessens the risk of heart attack and prostate cancer. If you live with pain it helps to relax and ease it.
As you age, your sex hormones take a dive. Menopause decreases estrogen and androgens resulting in your vaginal walls get thinner and drier. Older women may have trouble getting to orgasm, or have no desire to participate. Your vagina shortens and narrows with age and you may experience pain if you do have sex. Try the following to help:
Water-based high-quality lubricating jelly
Prescribed vaginal estrogen (a cream, a pill or tablet, or an insert)
Loss of bladder control or leaking of urine is an issue as women get older.
Change positions and empty the bladder before and after sex.
Pelvic muscle exercises (Kegel exercises) strengthen the muscles that support the bladder
Medications may be prescribed to help with bladder control problems (for men and women)
Electrical nerve stimulation sends mild electric currents to the nerves around the bladder that help control urination and your bladder’s reflexes (for men and women).
Bulking agents can help close the bladder opening. A bulking gel or paste is injected that thickens the area around the urethra.
Men will notice a decrease of testosterone and estrogen as they age. This can make it difficult to get an erection (erectile dysfunction, or ED). Erections may not come at all or stay hard or big like they used to. ED drugs might be the answer but consult with your doctor for the side effects. There is a possibility they may interfere with medications. Incontinence in men is related to the prostate gland. Surgery can help if it is caused by a change in the position of the bladder or blockage due to an enlarged prostate.
As we age our systems have limited homeostatic reserve resulting in enhanced toxicity of many drugs. This can cause a decrease in libido, vaginal dryness or Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in men. If you are on medication and have these symptoms, discuss with your doctor if your medications may be the cause. Here are some symptoms of certain medications that can affect your sex life.
Medications for your nervous system such as some serotonin inhibitors may cause a decrease in your libido.
Tricyclic antidepressants have less negative effect on sexual desire, but may cause urinary issues.
Erectile Dysfunction is common in diabetic men and desire decreases with diabetic women.
High total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in men experience ED.
Hypertension is associated with ED (due to vascular insufficiency) but can be resolved with blood pressure adjustment.
Arthritis causes pain and stiffness which may interfer with sexual activity. It may also increase the risk of alcohol abuse and depression.
Low testosterone is present in men with renal failure but this can be resolved with erythropoietin and by renal transplantation.
Beta-blockers may lower your sexual desire depending on the degree of beta blockade.
Timolol eye drops may cause ED and can be overlooked as a cause.
Smoking and obesity may cause ED in senior men.
Benzodiazepines (treats anxiety, insomnia, agitation and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures) may lessen sexual desire and interfere with production of testosterone (a necessary hormone to promote sexual desire).
Heart disease may reduce sexual desire and the ability to have orgasms.
Sex Without Penetration
For many reasons, some older people cannot have sex with penetration but there are plenty of ways to enjoy sexual intimacy. We can still arouse each other, enjoy orgasms and express ourselves sexually.
Touch your partner’s body all over. It’s a good way to discover each other’s erogenous zones
Give each other a whole body massage using a scented massage oil. It’s highly relaxing and may lead to arousal and orgasm.
Oral sex provides our partner warmth, pressure and wetness of the mouth and a better chance of orgasm.
Stimulation of the vulva or penis with hand and fingers can bring you to a strong orgasm. Communicate with your partner about what you like – finger stimulation, slow and steady or fast movements.
Vibrators are very successful at bring you to orgasm. You can choose between clitoral stimulation or a vagina penetration. And yes there are sex toys for penises as well.
Many couples find it very intimate to enjoy self-pleasuring together. You can wach each other or masturbate at the same time.
Most importantly, ask for what you want and you’re more likely to get it. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind and figure it out on their own.
More Sex Tips
Have sex before eating. When you eat, the blood flows to your digestive system instead of your genitals.
Exercising before sex can increase the blood flow to your genitals.
Your brain is your most powerful sex organ so use it to fantasize or read and view erotica content that turns you on.
If you don’t use it, you lose it. The more you engage in sex, the more easily the blood flows to your genitals.
If you have new partners use barrier protection such as condoms for intercourse and fellatio, dental dams for cunnilingus every time.
Schedule sex at least weekly with your partner or solo. The anticipation makes it even hotter when it happens.
If you and your’re partner are having sexual problems, seek out a sex therapist. Therapy will help you identify the underlying issues and teach you how to communicate with your partner.
Figure out what time of day you feel most sexually responsive and set aside time for solo or partner sex.
Masturbation is sex and it’s good for you! Give yourself sexual pleasure frequently.
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