Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

Plenty of articles have been written about people 65 and over engaging in voracious sexual relationships. And while the fascination around senior sexcapades can be rather patronizing at times, it has in fact spawned some enlightening research that has helped to debunk many myths about senior sexual health. By understanding the truth about seniors’ sexual health and wellness, you can be sure to have a fulfilling and lively sex life, no matter your age.

Seniors Don’t Have Sex

Let’s get this one out of the way early: seniors have sex – and have it well. According to the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging, 40 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 80 are having sex. This number jumps to 54 percent among seniors with spouses. Better yet, 73 percent of the surveyed seniors report being satisfied with their sex lives.

Sexual activity does decrease with age, however. According to the same poll, 46 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 70 are sexually active compared to 39 percent of those between 71 and 75 and 25 percent of those between 76 and 80. Also, sexual activity and desire were found to differ between senior men and women. Just 31 percent of women reported being sexually active compared to 51 percent of men, while 12 percent of women reported being “very interested” in sex compared to 50 percent of men.

Seniors Shouldn’t Have Sex

Another common misconception is that seniors shouldn’t have sex. Some people, including seniors themselves, believe that sex becomes dangerous after a certain age. While sexual abstinence may be advised by doctors on a case by case basis depending on underlying conditions, there is no age limit for sex. In fact, seniors may be more likely to stop having sex due to minor and treatable problems rather than serious complications.

Loss of sensitivity, weakening libido, erectile dysfunction, and arthritis are four common causes of sexual stagnation, all of which have solutions. Lube, extra stimulation, and healthier habits that increase blood flow can help regain sensitivity; trying new activities and exploring new areas of the sexual landscape can strengthen libido; exercise, healthy eating, and therapy to treat psychological triggers like stress, performance anxiety, and depression can do wonders for ED; and switching to less-demanding acts and positions can give elderly partners control over arthritis and general aches and pains. As such, seniors should keep having sex as long as they’re willing and able – even if that willingness is retained until life’s final moment. Sexual activity can boost mental and physical health until the very end.

Seniors Don’t Need to Use Protection

We all know that after a certain age reproduction becomes nearly impossible. One bright side to this milestone is that condoms and other contraceptives become redundant – or do they? Considering that from 2014 to 2017 the STD rate among U.S. seniors doubled the rate of the rest of the population, this is a myth also and one that is legitimately dangerous to believe. Contraceptives protect seniors from prevalent diseases like herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia– not to mention the occasional birth. The oldest known male to father a child was 101 while the oldest known female was 74.

People can have exciting and fulfilling sex lives well into their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Seniors need not stop because age and societal pressure tell them otherwise. They can keep going as long as they want – just as long as they use protection when the situation demands it.

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