Sex does not need to end
There is no cut-off age to having sex. Knowing that sex has many benefits, you need to be aware of what happens to your body as you age.
BY: Dr Martha Lee
Most of us would agree that there are many benefits to sex. Sex acts as an immune system enhancement by not only relieving pain and tension naturally, preventing depression, and boosting self-esteem, but it also has obvious aerobic benefits, and all these qualities lead to a longer and happier life. Therefore, sex contributes towards our well-being, enhances emotional attachment, and facilitates intimacy in our relationships.
So is there is a cut-off age for sex? There is none. So with these benefits in mind, just why would we want to stop being sexual? Rather than stop being sexual at the first sign of physical changes due to ageing, one should take the time to learn what might take place and what they could do about it.
Changes as we age
With ageing, females may find vaginal lubrication decreasing; fewer orgasmic contractions; the labia losing some of their firmness; the walls of the vagina being less elastic; the clitoris becoming highly sensitive; and breasts drooping or sagging.
Males may feel their erection is slower and less full; erection disappearing quickly after orgasm; less volume of sperm; semen seepage or retrograde ejaculation; and the orgasm is shorter and less forceful. Also intervals between erections can increase in very elderly men.
In addition, there are health conditions that can decrease sexual interest and behaviours. They include: High blood pressure, arthritis, menopause, depression, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, incontinence, and coronary artery disease. A common side effect of many medications for these conditions is the inhibition of sexual desire.
Even for men and women who appear healthy, the most common cause for changes in the level of sexual desire is attributed to testosterone or estrogen hormonal imbalance respectively. Hence, a health check is in order.
Let’s be intimate
Here is some general advice to remaining sexually-active:
- Talk to your doctor – If you notice a drop in your sexual desire around the time you start a new medication, talk to you doctor to see if there is a connection. However, do not stop taking any medication without talking to your doctor first. Having an honest discussion with your doctor about your concerns revolving around your sexuality can help you make educated and more informed decisions.
- Schedule more time for sex – Anticipation is at least half the fun. In the rush of everyday life, sex too often doesn’t get time for warm-up. As we get older, our bodies take longer to respond to erotic stimuli. It may take longer for women’s vaginas to lubricate and for men’s penises to become erect. Expand your sexual repertoire, such as oral sex, manual sex, mutual masturbation, sex toys, etc. This can keep sex fun, fresh and aid in attaining stronger erections.
- Communicate with your partner – Honestly share with your partner the changes that are taking place in your body as well as your concerns. Take time to ask what she prefers sexually, and also for you to ask for sex the way you like it. Communication in bed can work wonders. Try different positions that may make inserting your penis easier and more enjoyable for both of you.
- Maintain pelvic floor strength – When pelvic floor muscle strength starts to slip (which is accelerated by loss of estrogen), you may begin to feel as though “nothing happens down there anymore”. Learn how to exercise your pelvic floor to maintain your connection with the experience of sexual arousal. Tension of the pelvic floor is critical to most people’s experience of “feeling turned on”. This applies to both men and women.
- Get professional help – Your need for intimate physical and emotional connection knows no age limit. Healthcare professionals are there to help you. A sexologist like myself can help address your sexual concerns. It is admittedly not easy to talk about the problems you are facing. However by being open and honest, you can make sure that you get the best healthcare support.
Continuing to share your life in a fulfilling intimate relationship can have positive effects on virtually every aspect of your life, from physical health to self-esteem. This often includes a healthy sexual relationship, and is possible at all ages.
Dr Martha Lee is founder and clinical sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy.
(**PHOTO CREDIT: Warning!! Sex in progress, do not disturb, nevit, stock.xchng; people series: graphic design, ilco, stock.xchng)