Aging and Sexuality: Desire can be flamed into life
My husband and I just came back from celebrating our 32nd anniversary. And while we are certainly not as frisky as we once were, we still enjoy being intimate together. So, since I am still aglow with warm fuzzies, I thought I should write a bit about sexuality and aging.
Bodies change as we age. Hormones decline, tissues sag and thin, our bodies change, fluids alter their consistency, all of these may affect our desire or our enjoyment of sex. But an AARP survey of men over 70 years old, 75% of men claimed to have few, if any erectile issues. And while a woman’s lubrication decreases and vaginal walls thin, her clitoris still works well, although she may require more foreplay.
Intimacy with or without sex is important. A lot of pleasure and satisfaction can be had from touching or holding each other and for some couples is enough.
Your health affects your desire and your ability to perform. Too much sugar or alcohol impedes your body’s ability to make hormones and can affect the needed blood flow that assists in arousal. A regular exercise practice and a diet rich in lots of fresh vegetables and nutrient dense foods will help with circulation and improve stamina.
And while desire may not be what it once was, it can be flamed into life. Turn off the TV and computer. Turn on some music. Light some candles. Do not be afraid to communicate with your partner about what is going on. Be romantic. Be creative. Try new positions or activities to help with arousal, erections and lubrication. Sometimes topical lubricants or hormones can make huge differences. And if you are starting a new relationship, don’t be afraid to start an honest conversation about sexuality and intimacy. Arousal starts in the brain.
Natural libido enhancers can help. L-arginine with citrulline improves stamina and blood flow. Panax ginseng can help with energy. Gingko improves circulation. Maca root helps hormone balance. Lubricants can reduce discomfort. But if you are having a lot of difficulties with arousal or libido, it’s time to see your doctor. It may be a sign of a more serious health issue.
Whatever your age or your gender or your sexual orientation, relationships are challenging. Adding the stigma of aging to the equation adds to the challenge. But don’t be afraid. Quality time with your partner in and out of the bedroom can reduce stress and deepen your connection to each other.
By Dr. Jennifer Means who, along with Elizabeth Elliott welcome you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. Contact us at 503-641-6400.