The good, the bad, and the ugly parts of sex as we get older

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | General Health | Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 08:00 AM

good bad ugly sexLet’s admit it: we are all sexual beings. We crave and desire it, and it takes up the majority of our thoughts throughout the day—even in seniors!

In current society, sex in the elderly population is generally frowned upon, with sexual activity being considered exclusive to only the younger demographic. But as all the “silver foxes” out there know, having sex doesn’t suddenly stop as you get older—it just gets better.

According to recent surveys, 74 percent of women aged 65 and older are having sexual intercourse weekly compared to only 68 percent of women 18–26. Married couples who say they are happy in their marriage report having the most sex—the majority of elderly adults say that their desire has not diminished over the years. Despite the illnesses and health issues associated with old age, such as diabetes, arthritis, and erectile dysfunction, there is always going to be the desire to have sex. It’s just in our nature.

Benefits of having sex:

  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Burns fat, releases endorphins, and reduces anxiety
  • Increases life span
  • A form of exercise that helps regulate hormones
  • Strengthens relationships

While the desire may be strong on both sides, it is true that men and women are not as well-equipped for sexual intercourse in old age. Men may have lower levels of testosterone, preventing sustained erections, while women may have lower levels of estrogen, decreasing lubrication. However, these are all things that can be remedied with or without pharmaceuticals. Eating a healthy diet and staying active can go a long way in increasing libido.

Admittedly, there are several shortcomings the elderly face that may be out of their control, putting a hindrance on the enjoyment of sex. Previous surgeries, poor health, heart disease, medications that affect sexual function—these all can be a physical and mental block for even initiating sexual intercourse. It is up to the discretion and medical opinion of your current physician as to what treatment you should try to have better sex.

However, despite not having any concern of becoming pregnant, there is still a concern of getting a sexually transmitted infection. It was reported that, in the majority of long-term care facilities, elderly residents are having a lot of sex.

Since talking about sex with the elderly is pretty much taboo, many of the problems that plague the younger demographic are also seeing a resurgence in the elderly population. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis—these are just some of the infections running amok in some of these senior homes, where sexual education is nonexistent. So, for anyone finding themselves in a situation like this, practicing safe sex to prevent the spread of STIs falls on your shoulders.

Related: Can you have sex with a UTI?


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Sources:

http://seniorsite.com/sex/index.php#.WNAk4DvyuM8
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/senior-sex/art-20046465?pg=1
http://www.medicinenet.com/senior_sex/article.htm

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