If we take good care of ourselves, our sexual system can outlast just about every organ system we have. People have the opportunity to enjoy sexual pleasure well into their older years. Couples that have attended to their relationship through the years can enjoy lovemaking based on sexual and emotional maturity, life experiences and a deepening of their intimate relationship. This can all help with some of the following challenges of sexuality in the older years:
- Women can develop some vaginal dryness due to hormonal changes such as decreases in estrogen levels. (Lubrications, hormonal balancing and some other medications can help with this challenge).
- Men may need more stimulation to get aroused and have orgasms. It is only natural and part of the aging process and like women, it may be due to hormonal changes, in this case- a gradual decrease of testosterone. With emotional maturity comes sensitivity, patience and acceptance of the human condition.
- Medical challenges can affect one’s sexuality. Prostate problems for men and hysterectomies for women definitely can affect sexuality. Also, cardiac problems, cancer and fibromyalgia as well as other chronic conditions can affect sexuality.
- Prescription drugs can sometimes lower libido and the ability to be aroused and/or orgasm.
I work with many older couples that have one or more of the above challenges. These couples are relieved to realize that there are solutions to these challenges. Sometimes it involves lifestyle changes that can help revive sexual health; sometimes it involves intelligent compromises where people don’t avoid physical intimacy even though they may not be able to do all that they did before. Some couples experience their best sexuality in their older years. Sex increasingly becomes a way to communicate love. There are less hang-ups and less ego. There is often more time to slow down and savor the relationship and each other. Those that are already there – please feel free to comment and share your wisdom. Those that are younger, if you play your cards right, you have much to look forward to!