Sexuality ranks high in the anti-aging medicine because it is important for the preservation of the quality of life in old age. Post-MenopauseEarlier today, our editor posted a medical article about the importance of sexuality and a healthy libido in the long second half of life (“The greatest Taboo-Topic and the Anti-Aging-Medicine). Within 10 minutes a flood of commentaries had begun.

The hypotheses, “Sex at an advanced age is more important than sports; the more orgasms, the more the life expectancy,” stimulates the minds. One characteristic of internet communication is that all participants are perceived equally, regardless if whether he or she is a University Professor or a demagogue. Similarly to the phrase “Mom knows best,” no one knows whether the statement is made out of pure cynicism or a zest for life.

“The Last Temptation starts after Menopause!”

The results of various research studies indicate that sexuality in older people is more important than most suspect. A simple explanation was given in a press release by the GSAAM e.V., the German Society of Anti-Aging Medicine e.V., on January 22, 2010: Orgasms prolong life expectancy. During sexual climax, the body releases endorphins that boost the immune system. Furthermore, satisfaction makes us happy and thus protects against stroke. That’s why experts in healthy aging recommend a lot of sex for both men and women. But always consult a physician, especially at an advanced age.

One physician, Dr. Gerd Jansen—gynecologist, anti-aging specialist and sexologist—has been making a valid accusation since 2005: In German doctor’s offices, no topic is of greater taboo than sexuality. GSAAM-member, Dr. Jansen says, ”According to global study in twenty countries, only nine percent of the 30,000 men and women were asked about their sexuality. Only one in five women and one in 10 men with sexual dysfunction consult a physician. Sexual dissatisfaction in relationships is the leading cause of separation. Sexual dysfunction in both men and women is categorized as disease by the WHO. Sexuality has considerable influence on the development of all chronic diseases. For example, behind an erectile dysfunction may hide a coronary heart disease or diabetic metabolic disorder.

The anti-aging field offers interesting new treatment options for lack of sexual desire. post-menopauseDr. Jansen refers also to medical fees statistics for treatments in that category. In his opinion, Germany is a third world country when it comes to the subject of sexual desire. Those affected are suffering men and women who are denied valuable information and help. Particularly worrisome are the stories about “problems in bed” that Dr. Jansen gathers from German women.

Therefore, it is imminent for people in the second half of their lives to speak with their physician about sexual health. First, because it is part of a satisfying life. Secondly, because sexual dysfunctions can be a sign of an underlying disease such as diabetes or heart disease.

Chronic sexual dysfunction can be the cause of a whole array of other diseases. To colleagues, Dr. Gerd Jansen suggests: “Questions about sexuality belong as much to a consultation as questions about body functions.” While most women can maintain sexual excitability after menopause well into old age, aging men, however, are often faced with surprising changes—namely, decreased arousal, erection and ejaculation. Chronic diseases and pain can have a negative impact on sexuality in aging people as well. Speaking about it openly can lower the fear of lack of performance and increase the likelihood of being more relaxed and aroused.

Why is this eminent issue so rarely discussed at visits to the doctor’s office? Five years ago, Dr. Jansen started an initiative to educate medical students in this field. The reasons for silence among medical professionals have surfaced as follows:

  • Discomfort of the physician to embarrassment
  • Trivialization of sexuality
  • The feeling of not being competent
  • The fear to hurt the patient’s feelings
  • Uncertainty about the continuation of the conversation and for the next question
  • The feeling that it is none of the doctor’s business

The sexual advisor, C. Buddeberg, makes the following recommendation to physicians:

post menopause"The subject of sexuality is better brought up in the middle of the consultation. It should not have priority, but also not left to the end, either. The initial question should be: 'How satisfied are you with your sex life?' If the patient responds with a complaint about changes, dissatisfaction or dysfunction, it is the moment to ask the most important question: 'Would you like to change that condition?' This question addresses the severity of the condition. This determination is important to decide whether or not treatment is necessary. Only a 'Yes' authorizes the physician to continue."

Dr. Gerd Jansen doesn’t see a problem with it. “Nowadays, we can talk about sexuality in a relaxed fashion. The physician who is an expert in this field has a whole array of possibilities at his/her disposal to form a prognosis. Perhaps the physician is not qualified to operate in the field of sexual medicine. In this case, he/she should not hesitate to refer to a qualified specialist. This is not a sign of weakness. The patient will appreciate it and return. A glance at the commentaries at WELT ONLINE shows: This is not an easy subject."

  • Tenderness yes, but everything else is not so enticing, studies or not.
  • I (a male) am 70. Four times a week is enough. Or do I have to talk with my doctor about this?
  • It is inconceivable how intolerant some comments handle the subject of elderly people. Why should a couple at retirement age not have sex anymore?
  • Hopefully, some commentators and cynics will never get old!
  • I should do what?—Talk about sex with my physician? That’s none of his business!