Sexual Life is a big part of our existence, but the way we do sex, and the frequency with which we do sex, changes greatly over time. Although studies suggest frequency of sexual activity may decline as you get older, for many older adults, sex is still a big part of their lives.
As some studies show, older adults are not without their desire to have sex, and having an active sexual life is something to encourage. That so many are still having sex when they are older is great news, because the less sex older adults have, the more they are likely to have mental and physical health problems. While some health conditions may impact sexual libido and ability, many people want and need to be intimate, or they feel sexual desires, as they get older.
Some medications may cause side effects that can hinder sexual performance, such as ED, difficulty with ejaculation, difficulties with aroused, orgasmic sensation, decreased sexual desire, and vaginal dryness. Certain surgeries and many medications, such as blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, and acid-blocking medications, may impact sex. Older adults who experience medical problems affecting their sexual function tend to accept broad definitions of sexuality and sexual activities. Many older women define sexuality as intercourse within the vagina, which can magnify a decrease in sexual activity when the male partner is less healthy or unavailable.
Women are found to have lower levels of sexual activity as they get older, but studies have shown that, just as men do, many women want to keep having sex as they age. Some 75% of women are not reaching orgasms exclusively via sex, and that proportion is probably higher among older women, though there are no studies that compared intercourse-based orgasms among older women with those among younger women. A large percentage of older people are still having vaginal intercourse, whereas many masturbate and engage in oral sex. As men age, they seem to maintain their desires and interests longer than women, with as many as 70% of people over the age of 70 reporting having sex, and actual sex is defined mostly as penetration of the penis-vagina.
While it is true that frequency and the ability to engage in sexual activities inevitably decreases as we get older, studies tell us that most men and women 50-80 are still happy and passionately continuing their sexually active lifestyles. If you enjoyed a vigorous sex life during your younger years, there is no reason why it should slow down as you get older–unless you wish it did. Sex might not be what it was when you were twenty, but it may be more fulfilling and satisfying in many ways as we get older. If sex was a centerpiece of your lifestyle and well-being in your thirties, it is likely still going to be a major one at sixty.
Good sex when you are older is safer sex when you are older As an older adult, you will want to exercise the same caution you would when having sex with a new partner. As a precaution, older adults who are sexually active should get tested for STDs before having sex with a new partner. Just remember that STDs (sexually transmitted infections) do not respect age boundaries; so, if you are sexually active, always practice safe sex practices. While there are physical health benefits that come with maintaining sexual relationships, as you age, there are things to watch for as well, so that you can make sure that you are keeping yourself and your sex partners safe.
Many older adults who are Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGMs) do not disclose their sexual orientation to health professionals, and some have reported adverse reactions when they do. SGM older adults may be less open about their sexual orientation in assisted living, assisted care, or other long-term care settings because they are afraid they will be treated poorly and discriminated against.
Lifestyle and emotional issues that may inhibit sexual functioning at all ages can be more acute for adults 65 years and older. Aging brings with it changes in life that may present opportunities for older adults to redefine what sexuality and intimacy means to them. Recovering from sexual dysfunction is a common experience in older women because of the effects of menopause and age-related changes to womens bodies.
Many men experience issues with erectile dysfunction, while women who are past their childbearing years can experience discomfort in penetration sex because of hormonal changes. After menopause, some women can experience vaginal dryness, which may make sexual activity rather uncomfortable. Because of causes, some discomfort and even pain may occur while having intercourse, so using a good lubricant can make all the difference in engaging in penetrative sex.
For older women, sex helps to build up their vaginal tissues and pelvic floor muscles, which may help to prevent problems such as incontinence and prolapse. While the problem is not exclusive to older couples, many find that talking with a marriage counselor helps them address their relationship issues and reignite feelings of sexual desire and attraction
It’s also important for everyone to be aware of different ways that ED can be treated in older adults. One common approach is medication therapy.
There is no question that the three most popular drugs for treating erectile dysfunction in men are Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. All three work equally well, but they do have some differences.
Men who are 65 and older tend to keep three to eight times more sildenafil in their bloodstream 24 hours after taking VIAGRA than healthy men. Younger men may do better being treated with tadalafil (Cialis), and older men who have other health problems may do better using either sildenafil (Viagra) or sildenafil-containing drugs
Viagra is the oldest of these drugs and has been around since 1998. It works by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), which normally breaks down a chemical called cGMP that is involved in getting an erection. This allows cGMP to build up and helps produce an erection.
Cialis was introduced in 2003 and works similarly to Viagra by blocking PDE5. However, it lasts for up to 36 hours compared with 4-6 hours for Viagra. This makes it a good choice for people who want longer-lasting erections or who plan on having sex more than once over a weekend period.
Levtra was introduced in 2003 as well and also blocks PDE5 like Cialis does; however Levitra generally starts working faster than either Viagra or Cialis.