There is sometimes a misconception that as you get older, your sexual desires suddenly begin to disappear. Seeing as you don’t suddenly turn into a robot and all stimulation in your body doesn’t cease to exist, this certainly cannot be the case. The reality is that although aging can result in you slowing down sexually, it doesn’t eliminate your need for intimacy. This means that no matter how old you get, sexual health should still be prioritized if you want to live a vibrant and fulfilling life.
Even if sexual health should continue to be a priority amongst seniors, statistics show STI rates have doubled among 50 to 90-year olds in the past decade. This infers that seniors likely aren’t being given the knowledge and resources they need to ensure they’re having safe sex. One reason for this could be that medical professionals don’t feel that seniors have sex, so they don’t discuss safe sex with them at all. These negative cultural stereotypes result in seniors missing out on valuable information about how to make their sex lives as vibrant as those among the generations after them.
To help ensure you’re getting the most out of your sex life as a senior, this article will explore barriers when it comes to sexual health. Most importantly, you’ll find tips on how you can have both enjoyable and safe sex in your golden years.
STDs Remain Prevalent Amongst Seniors
STDs are becoming more common in the U.S. and there are 20 million new cases every year. This means that seniors are at risk of contracting one, but unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to see a senior feature in the average condom or safe sex advertisement. As a result, it’s easy to miss the memo that condoms are necessary for the older generation too.
According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, condom use for vaginal intercourse is lowest among the oldest adults, likely because they don’t think they need to use them anymore due to not having to worry about possible pregnancy. What is not taken into account is that preventing pregnancy isn’t the only reason to use a condom, and not using protection can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The risk is indeed increasing for seniors as it has further been established that infection rates for sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise for Americans aged 45 and older. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case as there are condoms for women if senior men aren’t keen on the idea of using one. However, note that at the moment, the only brand of female condom that’s FDA approved and available in the United States is FC2.
Your Medical Needs Are Different
It is important not to ignore the fact that as you age, your sexual health needs may change. Aside from the fact that your care needs as a baby boomer tend to increase as you become more vulnerable to illness, health complications can also be a barrier to intercourse as you once knew it. Aside from your back not being able to work that magic that it once could or you running out of energy much quicker, chronic illness is a challenge many older adults are faced with. Depending on the type of illness you have, it could result in you not being as adventurous in bed as you once were.
These things could easily knock your confidence in bed, but know that they aren’t changes to be ashamed of. By simply taking better care of your physical health, it could help improve your sex life and improve your stamina.
You should also take STD prevention seriously, and perhaps take it a step further than just condoms. A way to do this would be to take prescription medication like Truvada to keep you from getting HIV, as you may have a higher risk of getting the disease as a senior.
Your Sexual Satisfaction Matters
Aside from helping to keep your spirits high, having sex on a regular basis could be doing wonders for your brain. This can be proven by research that has linked frequent sex to increased brain function. Sexual satisfaction can be a little more challenging as you age, but it’s still possible to achieve if you’re ready to be creative. With that being said, what can be done to ensure sex in your golden years has nothing on your younger years?
If you’re a man who suffers from erectile dysfunction, instead of taking treatments like Viagra, you could try a self-injection drug that is said to result in better erections than pills. You could also get advice from a professional as there are ones trained to give you the information you need.
Sadly, a study shows that only 38% of men and 22% of women have discussed their sex life with a health care provider after they reach 50. Break the silence and talk to your healthcare provider, no matter how awkward it may be at first. Not only will doing so give you the chance to receive valuable sexual health information, but it will also help remind such professionals that seniors still have enough stamina for sex too.
If you’re a woman, look for a gynecologist who’s comfortable talking about sex. Men can see a urologist for their sex-related questions. For those who are having intimacy challenges in their relationships, see if going to see a sex therapist will help you. The therapist should listen to your concerns and provide you with coping mechanisms and encouragement for change.
You Can Empower Yourself
Since sex education isn’t always targeted at the older generation, it can be easy to dismiss the importance of safe sex. However, educating yourself on the latest forms of contraception and being adamant that your partner uses it can be empowering. When engaging in sexual intercourse, look for partners who you can be honest and open with. You should be able to discuss your sexual health history as well as STIs. The ultimate goal should be to agree on the types of contraception you’re both comfortable using and also to laugh about how much contraception has changed over the years.
Being able to discuss your sexual needs and preferences is also something you should do with your partner. For instance, as a woman, due to the thinning of your vaginal wall after menopause, you may notice reduced lubrication during intercourse. This would be an opportunity to look at a range of lubricants with your partner to help enhance intercourse. You could also introduce sex toys to the bedroom so that you’re able to see what the buzz is all about. Not only could toys help improve stimulation, which sometimes reduces as you age, but they could also buy you time on nights when you don’t have enough energy to go the full length.
Having sexual intercourse as a senior is something that should be seen as natural and fun. After years of experience and getting to understand your sexual needs, these years should be filled with further exploration and fulfillment.