How Sex Can Change as You Age (And What You Can Do About It)
Sex is often at the foundation of a romantic relationship, but that doesn’t ensure that it’s always easy. Many people have heard that sex changes as you age, but most are unprepared for these changes in their sex life.
Sexual health is important for all ages. Unfortunately, it’s often seniors who face negative associations with sex at advanced ages. Of course, growing older doesn’t mean that you should stop having sex.
However, you should be informed about the ways the body can change, how that affects sex, and what you can do to treat that. Here is a guide to help you understand sex and aging.
Benefits of Sex
Many women and men find sex to be a fun and satisfying act. But there are also many physical and emotional benefits to having sex.
Sex release brain chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine, which can promote better moods and relaxation. It also releases neurotransmitters that can help reduce physical and emotional stress.
Sex has also been found to lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, and possibly lower the risk for heart disease. A healthy sex life can also help you sleep better.
These physical and emotional benefits of sex are not only for younger people to enjoy. Seniors can and should benefit from sex.
The Importance of Sex in a Romantic Relationship
Sex isn’t a necessary part of all relationships. But for some, sex may be important to create a healthy romantic relationship. For most, sex is a way to feel a connection to their partners and foster intimacy within the relationship.
Feeling closer to and showing affection to your partner is the main reason why couples have sex. And obviously, most people find sexual acts fun and pleasurable. Sex can also boost confidence and allow you to feel confident and sexy and for your partner to feel that way about you.
Of course, there are other ways to achieve all of these feelings. Sex is just one way, which is why it’s not necessary. Though having less sex or infrequent sex doesn’t always signal issues within the relationship, for most romantic relationships, sex is a cornerstone.
How Sex Affects Aging Women
As women age, they often experience decreased libido or discomfort during sex. Women often feel a mind-body disconnect when trying to have sex.
Estrogen production falls after menopause, which is often the cause of changes in women’s sexual organs. The vulva and vaginal walls thin and shrink, and the vagina produces less lubrication. Sensitivity also changes. All of this can lead to sex and touch feeling painful.
Women may also experience more time to feel aroused, which can mean it takes longer for sex to be initiated or to feel ready for sex. Orgasm may also be delayed.
How Sex Affects Aging Men
Men can face longer times to become aroused and longer refractory periods after reaching orgasm. This prevents them from being ready to begin a new sexual cycle.
As men age, testosterone levels drop, which can often be the cause of age-related conditions or medications. Erectile dysfunction also becomes more common as men age, especially over the age of seventy.
Changes You Can Make During Sex
If you’re experiencing any changes or challenges to your sex life, it’s a good idea for both men and women to consult a physician to ensure these aren’t due to any underlying conditions.
However, if the changes in your sex life are not due to underlying health conditions, there are some changes you can make in the bedroom.
- For Women: As stated, women often feel a disconnect, meaning in their mind, they want to have sex, but their body doesn’t listen. It may take them more time to feel aroused or ready to have sex. So more touching and talking can be a way to improve those challenges. Begin engaging in foreplay hours ahead of time to help prepare the body. Make sex more comfortable with lubrication and communication.
- For Men: Men should check the side effects of the medication they take to see if any have erectile disfunction listed. Medications for high blood pressure, pain, ulcers, and atrial fibrillation are only some that can affect sexual health.
Approaching Sex With Common Senior Health Challenges
Aging adults should be open about sex and may want to consider the use of new techniques or devices to maintain a healthy and satisfying sex life.
It’s also important to take your physical health into account. Those with heart conditions, for example, may be worried about sex after a heart procedure or heart attack. Be sure you’re taking care of your heart and staying in shape before having sexual activity.
Body pain can also make sex challenging. Positioning may become more important, as will the time of the day. Morning sex may not be as comfortable as sex in the middle of the day.
Medical Treatments for Sex Issues
If you’re having issues with sex or other health issues, it’s always recommended to speak to your physician. Be honest with the challenges you’re facing, and the physician may help recommend treatment to improve your sex life.
For some, this may be medication for erectile dysfunction or hormone therapy to combat the issues caused by menopause. Sex therapy may also benefit a couple who are looking to work through the challenges of aging together.
Sexual Health for All Ages
Sex is natural, and it doesn’t have to stop because of aging. It’s not only for young people.
Sex brings romantic relationships closer and also has benefits for physical and emotional health. Aging doesn’t mean that sex is no longer on the table.
Sexual health is just as important for young people as it is for seniors. But it’s important for everyone to be prepared for the changes that aging can bring when it comes to sex. Being ready to adapt and creating strategies to tackle issues will keep your sex life healthy and fun.
Talk about all areas of your health with a trusted medical professional at Brown & Toland Physicians. Contact us and allow us to connect you to the services and doctors that are best for your needs.
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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care.