Contrary to popular belief, a healthy sex life is still important to many as they age. Every individual possesses a fundamental psychosociological need for love and affection. It only makes sense that longing for intimacy carries on as we age. Sexual health is essential to our overall well-being. With that being said it is important to bring awareness to sexual health and the possibilities of STDs/STIs.
Changes That Can Affect Sexual Health
Many older couples have reported increased satisfaction in their sex lives in comparison to their younger years. Often they say they can enjoy sex more now that they have fewer distractions, more privacy, and no pregnancy concerns. Additionally, improved communication about desires and needs often leads to greater intimacy.
Physical changes occur that may affect sexual experiences. These changes can include shifts in weight, skin, and muscle tone, leading to some individuals feeling insecure about their bodies as they age. Other concerns such as health conditions, stress, and other worries that can hinder intimacy and enjoyment of sex.
As we get older there are two common experiences that pertain to sexual organs. The vagina may become shorter, narrower, and have thinner, stiffer walls. Reduced vaginal lubrication can also occur. Consequently, certain sexual activities, such as vaginal penetration, may become painful or less appealing. However, your healthcare provider can suggest some over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers to use.
Furthermore, impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction (ED), becomes more prevalent with age. ED involves the inability to achieve or sustain an erection. Occasional ED is not a cause for concern, but if it becomes frequent, seeking medical advice is advisable.
Safe Sex Remains Important
As we age, we don’t necessarily need to be concerned with pregnancies. Although, protecting yourself from STDs/STIs remains important. Condoms and dental dams should be used as protection even into our later years of life. Especially if you are having sex with multiple partners.
Communication Is Key When It Comes To Sexual Health
Engage in conversations about sex with your partner. Share what you believe a healthy sex life looks like. If one or both of you face challenges caused by aging, communicate those challenges with one another. It is important to be understanding of each other’s challenges or concerns.
If you are still unsure how to navigate your sexual health, talking with a therapist may be an option that you find to be helpful. You can speak to a therapist as a couple or independently. Some therapists specialize in helping those navigate their sexual health.