What Sexuality in Seniors is Really Like
It seems that a majority of people, some seniors included, assume that a decline in sexuality is a universal part of getting older. In general, people rarely think of seniors as sexual beings. This stereotype doesn't portray the reality of sexuality in seniors. Of course, it is true that many experience a declining libido as they age, and that they may have less frequent sex as they get older. However, there are still many older adults out there who maintain a satisfying and robust sex life despite their age.
Sexuality Changes With Age
Many seniors experience higher levels of confidence and freedom as they get older, which can lead them to explore their sexuality in ways they wouldn't have when they were younger, as noted by a study published in the journal Leisure Sciences. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2011, 72 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 59 are still sexually active, as well as 57 percent of people over the age of 60.
Although many people continue having sex into old age, there are many others who do in fact experience a decrease in sexual satisfaction, and this is also normal. There are many factors that can affect your sex life in old age that wouldn't have been an issue during youth. Getting older often comes with a general physical weakness and lack of energy that can make the physical act of sex more challenging. There are some chronic health conditions that can impact sexuality in seniors. For example, nearly half of people over age 65 have had arthritis at some point in their life. The aches and pains of this condition can easily make sex more difficult or less enjoyable.
Gender-Specific Obstacles Affecting Sexuality in Seniors
There are gender-specific reasons why sex changes in old age. Men's testosterone levels decline as they age, which can result in a lower sex drive, erectile dysfunction and less-satisfying orgasms. Difficulty getting an erection is very common, with 40 percent of men in their 60s experiencing it at least from time to time. This condition is often very distressing for men and detrimental to their romantic relationships.
Just as men experience a decrease in testosterone as they age, women also experience hormonal changes. The average age of menopause in women is about 51. After menopause, the female body stops producing most of the estrogen that it used to. The effect that this has on sexuality varies from woman to woman, but it can lead to decreased sexual desire. The number of women that experience low sex drive after menopause varies depending on which study you look at, but it could be up to 52 percent. Aside from low sex drive caused by menopause, older women also often experience vaginal dryness. This can make sex painful and difficult, which can be very frustrating to a woman that wants to enjoy sex.
Tips for Maintaining a Good Sex Life as You Get Older
Everyone's experience is different. Although many people are faced with a lot of obstacles to sex as they get older, these obstacles can be overcome. It's crucial to take care of your health. If you have a medical condition or any symptoms that interfere with your sex life, talk to your doctor about treatments and symptom relief. Practice preventative self-care by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly as you get older. Supplements containing herbs like maca can help rekindle a flagging libido. Older people often benefit from low-impact exercises that don't hurt the joints, such as walking and swimming. Regular exercise will keep your muscles and cardiovascular system strong enough to partake in sex.
Aside from physical health, it's important to take just as much care of your mental health. Emotional problems can have just as much of an impact on sexuality in seniors, if not even more. Outliving your loved ones can lead to a lot of grief and loneliness. Grief counseling, psychotherapy and staying connected to other people can improve the quality of life.
Anyone can still enjoy sex as they grow older. One of the keys to enjoying sex in old age is to not expect it to be the same as it was when you were in your 20s. Aside from treating any underlying physical or mental conditions, you may need to find new sex positions that are easier for you, adjust to having sex less frequently, or spend more time on foreplay and romance. Staying open to change will help you make the most of senior life.