Sex among older adults has grown significantly, but the conversations around it are still in hushed tones. We present this seniors’ guide to sexual health to spark a healthy discussion between partners on sexual equilibrium.
Many parts of our bodies become weaker and less functional as we grow older. Our sexual organs and our sexual drive are no different. Changes in the body may cause several common problems, such as erectile dysfunction in older men, and problems with arousal in older women are quite common.
At the same time, sexual activity in seniors is rising due to the availability of many treatments and drugs that help alleviate these sexual problems of old age. Safe sex methods have changed a lot in the last four decades, so seniors need to remain updated about STDs and protect themselves.
This guide will talk about some of these aspects related to sexual health in older adults.
Sexual health plays a vital role in the overall health of a person. There are many ways through which you can enhance your sexual health.
Educate yourself about it first.
You can educate yourself related to sexual health. You can use various self-help materials if you have any sexual issues. You can either visit a local book store or browse the internet.
Being an elder, you are already aware of various things, but you still have few resources. If you cannot directly communicate with your partner, you can seek help from each other to overcome any problem.
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Devote time for yourself
As we age, our sexual response reduces. The intensity of sex slows down. Stamina is another factor that reduces over the period, and your partner can improve your sexual activity by finding a quiet and comfortable place.
Trying to understand the physical changes in your body will take time to get aroused. Don’t fall into the Trap of age and sex-related myths. Many people feel that sex is a bad thing in old age. Do not believe in these myths. It’s all about your physical needs and lovemaking routine.
Try to use lubrication.
Your partner may suffer from vaginal dryness in the postmenopausal period. You can use lubrication so that the dryness is reduced. This will avoid the growing relationship tensions. If the dryness persists after the use of the lubricants, then you can discuss other options to figure out this problem with your doctor.
Try to maintain physical affection.
It doesn’t matter your age. You can maintain physical affection with your partner. Try physical affection with your partner if you are tense, upset, and tired about the problem. It strengthens your physical and emotional bond. Being an older adult would be great since it will lead to satisfaction and stronger bonds.
Try to practice touching.
Many older adults complain that they have lost physical intimacy. Sex therapists suggest that you establish your physical intimacy again without being under too much tension. Conclusion: there are a lot of educational videos and books that will help you with this. You can even practice some exercises suggested by the sex therapists.
You can even ask your partner’s expectations from yourself. This will help you analyze what your partner needs.
Try multiple sex positions.
You can try different sexual positions. Being an older adult, you are already aware of various sexual positions. You can browse the internet for more and understand how things are changing. It not only adds interest in lovemaking but also energizes your entire day. This can lead to good orgasms and increase pleasure levels.
Try to write fantasies.
You can write everything that stimulates you and your partner. You can explore what things you used to do at a young age. This might be a turn-on for you to try to share an experience of a movie with your partner. A great memory that you both share can prove to be helpful for people who have a low or reduced desire.
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Try to perform kegel exercises.
Old age leads to reduced metabolism and energy levels. Men and women can all enhance their sexual fitness by performing these kegel exercises.
These exercises work the pelvic floor muscles. It tightens the muscles. You can even stop urinating in the mainstream and hold it for two to three seconds. Then release it. You can repeat it ten times and perform two to three sets at your convenience.
Postmenopausal women have lowered muscle resistance. You can add vaginal weights to strengthen the muscles’ resistance. You can even talk to the therapist.
Try to relax
Try to relax so you can perform your hobbies. You are playing games to enjoy a soothing dinner. You can even try relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises before having sex. It will enhance your energy levels and calm you.
Try to cope with sexual diseases.
Many men have erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation in old age. There are various reasons which contribute to this disease. Try to treat the underlying cause which is responsible for this disease. Make sure that you adopt a healthy lifestyle and focus on exercising.
Foods To Eat For Better Sexual Health
Foods to boost libido: Food with higher zinc content can improve libido. Zinc helps the body to boost cell metabolism, stamina and regulate testosterone levels. You may include foods like
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What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Various sexually transmitted diseases are transferred through sexual intercourse. Sexually transmitted diseases are also called venereal diseases. Some of the STDs are transferred through needles as well as breastfeeding. The following is the list of sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia is a disease that occurs due to the infection of a certain kind of bacteria. It is more commonly found amongst Americans. The symptoms of the disorder are not noticeable in the early stages. This disease can be easily prevented by consuming antibiotics.
The symptoms of this infection include-
- Urination during sex
- Pain or discomfort
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Discharge from penis or vagina. It can be either green-colored or yellow-colored.
If this disease is left unattended, then it might develop into:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Infection in the testicles
- The urethra and prostate gland get infected.
If a pregnant mother is affected by chlamydia, she might transfer it to her baby. The symptoms of this include
- Eye infections
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disorder, and a person develops this infection due to bacteria. The symptoms of syphilis aren’t detected in the earlier stages. The first symptom that a person develops is chancre.
The chancre is a round sore. A person might develop this round sore in the genitals, mouth, and anus. If it is diagnosed early, it won’t damage our bodies.
If a pregnant mother transfers this disease to the child, it may prove fatal. The use can treat it with antibiotics.
The symptoms of syphilis include:
- Heart disease
- Loss of memory
- Brain infections
- Poor development of spinal cord
- Joint pain
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Loss of vision
- Loss of hearing
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Gonorrhea is a disorder that occurs due to bacterial infection. Initially, people with Gonorrhoea do not develop any kind of symptoms. It can be transferred from the mother to a newborn child. It may result in severe problems in the baby’s health, so pregnant ladies are screened with Gonorrhea. You can treat the disorder with the use of antibiotics. The symptoms of Gonorrhea include
- Itching in the genitals
- Sore throat
- Frequent urination
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- A green, white and yellow-colored discharge from the penis or vagina.
If you leave this infection untreated, then it may result into:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Crabs or pubic lice:
Pubic lice are the lice that reside on the pubic hair of a person. They feed on the blood. You may notice eggs of the lice and the lice on the roots of the pubic hair.
If this disease is left untreated, then you may be transmitting it to other people by sharing clothes, touching, and using each other’s towels. It is essential to treat this immediately as the scratch by the pubic lice may get infected.
You can remove it using some cream as well as tweezers. To stay away from this kind of crabs, it is essential to maintain good hygiene.
Symptoms of this infection are-
- Low energy
- Itching in the genitals
- Red bumps across the anus or genitals.
This illness occurs in a tiny protozoan organism. It is transmitted from one to another through genital contact. Many people develop the symptoms of this disorder. When women suffer from this disease, the most common symptom is discharge or an unpleasant smell from the vagina. Antibiotics can cure this disorder.
The symptoms of Trichomoniasis are
- Constant urination
- Burning and itching across the penis or vagina
- Penis and vaginal discharge
- Discomfort during an intercourse
If you do not take care of it, you may develop
- Urethral infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
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Herpes is also known as called the herpes simplex virus. The two strains of the virus are HSV-1 and HSV-2, both strains transmitted through sexual contact. HSV-1 leads to cold sores. It is transmitted from one person to another through oral sex.
HSV-1 commonly causes genital herpes. It can also cause genital herpes. A person initially develops a symptom of source across the genitals. The most common symptom is originally a person who suffers from oral herpes and develops it around the mouth.
It can be healed within a few weeks. In the initial stages, they are more painful. A pregnant lady may transfer this to her child. It may be dangerous for the newborn. You may overcome it with the help of proper treatment and safe intercourse.
What are the symptoms of herpes?
HIV: HIV is known to damage the immune system to a greater extent and leads to various diseases. If you do not detect it in the earlier stages, it may lead to AIDS.
In the earlier stages, people usually don’t get diagnosed with HIV as they misunderstand it with flu. There is no proper cure for HIV. But there are many treatments through which you can manage its symptoms.
Adequate treatment of the disease can prevent a person from transferring it to others through sexual activity. Many people don’t realize that they have HIV, and thus it leads to the development of AIDS.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Sore throat
- Stomach ache
- Stomach issues
HPV (human papillomavirus): HPV can is a virus that can be transferred to another person through sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact. There are various strains of the virus. The most common symptom that a person can develop to HPV is warts on the mouth, throat, and genitals. It may lead to various types of cancers like-
- Penile cancer
- Vulvar cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Oral cancer
- Cervical cancer
If HPV is left untreated, 70% of people develop cervical cancer. There is no proper treatment for HPV. To protect against HPV 16 and HPV 18 – there are some vaccinations.
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What happens in erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a disorder that occurs in men. When a man suffers from this disorder, he cannot erect his penis during sexual intercourse. It happens due to a lower blood supply to the penis.
How to manage erectile dysfunction?
You can manage erectile dysfunction, so medical treatments, oral treatments, and some lifestyle modifications. Here are the three ways to overcome ED:
Oral medications: You can treat erectile dysfunction by consuming oral medications like
- Top Avana
These tablets enhance the blood supply to the penis and result in erection in response to sexual stimulation. It consists of a component named nitric oxide.
Sexual stimulation is significant to see the effects of these medicines. It is a natural chemical that our body produces and relaxes the muscles of the penis. You must consume it before one to two hours of sexual stimulation.
Some people have erectile dysfunction due to lower testosterone levels. With the help of testosterone replacement therapy, they can overcome erectile dysfunction.
Alprostadil urethral suppository
In this therapy, a small alprostadil suppository is placed inside the penis in the panel urethra. A unique applicator is used to insert it into the penile urethra. The erection begins within 10 minutes after its usage and lasts between half an hour to one hour.
A person may suffer from side effects like minor bleeding from the urethra, formation of a small fibrous tissue in your penis, or feeling of burning sensation in the penis.
This medical treatment involves placing devices on both sides of the penis. The inflatable or bendable rods are inserted into the penis. With the help of these inflatable rods, you can self-control the time for which you want to erect your penis.
The bendable rods help your penis in bending and keep them firm. This surgery is not usually recommended until and unless other methods are tried. Certain risks may occur after the surgery, such as urinary tract infection.
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Penis pumps consist of battery-powered pumps. It is placed inside the penis. The pump sucks the air inside the tube and generates a vacuum that pulls the blood into the penis.
Once your penis gets erected, a tension ring is slipped around the base to keep the penis firm and hold the blood. After that, you can remove the vacuum device.
The erection can last long enough to have intercourse. You can remove the tension ring. You may suffer from not-so-serious side effects like bruising on then the penis or penis may feel cold to touch.
You can make some lifestyle modifications to overcome erectile dysfunction. Such as losing weight, destressing, staying sexually active, moving, eating healthy food, sleep properly.
Exercising is a great way to prevent erectile dysfunction. If you already have erectile dysfunction, then you can begin exercising regularly. Weight management through exercising is another way to avoid erectile dysfunction if you are obese. Seniors can include various activities like
- Brisk walking
- High-intensity workouts
- Climbing the stairs
Extreme stress and anxiety can also result in erectile dysfunction. By psychological counseling, you can manage your stress levels and get rid of erectile dysfunction.
Quit smoking and alcohol
Drinking alcohol and smoking can lead to erectile dysfunction. Try to avoid alcohol and quit smoking gradually.
Elders are more commonly deficient in various vital nutrients. It can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Make sure that you consume all the macro and micronutrients, protein, and essential nutrients in your diet.
You must include items that are rich in flavonoids to maintain an erection. Watermelon is an effective fruit that can be used in curing ED. Some foods rich in flavonoids are –
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Can Low Testosterone Be Managed
Older men can suffer low testosterone levels because of various reasons, including age, chronic illnesses, obesity, usage of corticosteroid drugs, alcoholism, chemotherapy.
Yes, low testosterone levels can be managed in multiple ways so that the person doesn’t suffer from hormonal imbalance. Some of the ways include using:
- Testosterone Gels: The gel is spread on the thighs, shoulders, and upper arms. The testosterone penetrates through your skin. It is imperative to clean your hands and cover them with a cloth so that others don’t get in contact with testosterone gel.
- Skin patch: Small patches are applied once a day. It releases small amounts of testosterone hormones into your skin.
- Injections: An injection is injected to raise testosterone levels in a person. Doctors usually inject it in the time duration of 7 to 14 days. Testosterone levels may rise after a few days of using these injections, and they may come down afterward.
- Pellets: Pellets are placed under your skin. They are placed around your buttocks and hips. They are changed every 3 to 6 months, slowly releasing testosterone.
- Oral therapy: Doctors provide the capsules, which can be swallowed directly or placed inside the cheek two times a day. The testosterone hormone is directly absorbed in your bloodstream after that.
Psychologist On Aging And Sex
Aging can cause a lot of differences in the quality of your sexual drive and hence the dynamics of your relationship. Our understanding of the body’s changes after midlife and its impact on the mind has vastly improved over the last few decades.
Psychologists today stress the need for older adults to understand that, unlike traditionally when the length of a relationship was considered the true test of its strength, many other factors weigh in.
Some of the most important aspects are getting to a satisfactory sexual equilibrium where both parties are comfortable, emotional intimacy, and autonomy in a relationship. Psychologists
Stress on three aspects of sexuality in aging:
- Sexual Drive
- Motivation and Beliefs
- Sexual Equilibrium
Changes in the body can affect both capacity and need for sexual stimulation. Therefore psychologists stress the need for getting to a sexual equilibrium where both parties are happy and comfortable with each other.
If such an equilibrium is not reached, it can cause a lack of trust, feelings of guilt, and shame remorse and may end up creating marital problems.
Conversations About Consent And Capacity
As we age, various factors result in no sexual activity. It is extremely important to have a healthy conversation with your partner related to consent. Make sure that both of you are clear on each other’s abilities and whether you are “in the mood” at the moment or not.
You must discuss the capacity of your partner. Make sure you are not pressuring your partner and handling things by being calm. It would be great if you understood your partner and supported their mood swings.
Sometimes, people might be going through sexual problems but will not open up to others, including their partners, about them. Do not force your partner at this time, and try to cooperate even if you have a sexual urge.
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Same-Sex Marriage No Matter Your Age
While earlier, people did not accept sexuality; however, the acceptance of people having feelings for the same sex is rising. Surveys suggest that the acceptance of same-sex marriage in older adults is rising rapidly, and currently, it is close to 40%+.
Data suggests that having the same sex partner in older adults can lead to better health results; the incidence of depression-related symptoms in such couples is significantly lower.
Growing old does not mean giving up on sex any longer. Sexual health is an important aspect at any age, and we should take even more care of it when we are growing old. In this article, we have talked about good habits to maintain sexual health, some of the common sexual problems in older adults, and some of the psychological aspects of sex as we age.
We hope this guide has helped you understand aspects of sexual health that are relevant with age. If you have further questions about the sex and the elderly, feel free to drop us a comment below. And if you liked the content, kindly share it with others who are looking for similar information.