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Sex after 60? Many mature couples have better love lives than they did in their more youthful days.
There are lots of reasons for this. They have deeper intimacy with partners, fewer distractions, no pregnancy concerns, and just plain more time to get busy. Plus, they have much more know-how and done-that than those young things on TV. Around midlife -- age 45 or so -- new issues can temporarily dampen your love life, though.
Why are older women disappointed with their sex lives?
Sex hormones take a big dip. For women, menopause brings a plunge in estrogen and androgens. Your vaginal walls get thinner and drier. Men see a nosedive of testosterone and estrogen about the same time. This can make it difficult to get an erection erectile dysfunction, or ED. Changes in the brain and your blood flow switch things up, too. The main sexual problems for women tend to be trouble getting to orgasm, lack of desire, and vaginal dryness. Your vagina shortens and narrows with age.
Sex and the older woman
This can cause pain when you have sex. Lubed condoms, water-based lubricating jelly, and vaginal moisturizers might do the trick. Your doctor might also prescribe vaginal estrogen, which comes as a cream, a pill or tablet, or an insert.
The main age-related sexual problem for men is erectile dysfunction, or ED. Your penis might not get as hard or big as before. One of four ED drugs might be the answer. But they can have side effects.
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They can also clash with drugs that contain nitrates. Be wary of herbs and supplements that promise a fast fix. Always talk to your doctor before you try them. Diabetes can cause ED for men, especially those with type 2.
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Poor blood sugar control can, over time, damage nerves and blood vessels that supply sex organs. Meds, a penis pump, or even a penile implant can help.
Women with this condition can also have less feeling in their genitals. It also causes more vaginal yeast infections, which can irritate this area and make it difficult or unpleasant to have sex.
You might find it hard to get aroused or have orgasms. Be sure to tell your doctor about any chest pain, problems breathing, or symptoms that get worse. Other medical conditions that can affect your sex life include weight gain, arthritis, chronic pain, bladder control problems, dementia, high blood pressure or cholesterol, side effects from meds, depression, and stroke.
Also, surgery -- especially in sexual areas -- can affect your self-image and how you feel. Talk with each other about ways you can stay close.
Put aside caregiving roles when you can to focus on being a partner. You might not find it easy to talk about this subject with your doctor.
The truth is, they might have trouble talking about it, too. They might be more likely to bring it up when it relates to other conditions. It can help to ask direct questions, such as: Can you recommend a sex counselor, and is this covered by Medicare? Do any of my meds cause sex problems? Would it help me to take estrogen?
The causes of sexual problems in older women
Is there an alternative to ED drugs? Maybe the answer is more foreplay, or more direct stimulation. If a condition like arthritis makes it hard to enjoy sex, they can suggest new positions that are more comfortable and satisfying for you both.
Common sense and a creative spirit can spark new ways to enjoy sex. If you have problems getting aroused, a vibrator can help get blood moving.
But just having sex can help you relax and let desire take the lead. These include chlamydia, genital warts or herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. You should always keep up on your checkups and tests, use condoms, and keep up honest communication with your partner.
With better health, meds, and more ways to meet people, such as online, older adults can enjoy dating -- and sex -- at any age. But you need to stay savvy. Both of you should get tested first, too. Always use a condom and water-based lubricant, which protects against sores or cuts that can raise your chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease STD.
Couples clash at times about sex drive -- or lack of it. For women, the drop in estrogen, bowel and bladder problems, breast atrophy, or cystitis after sex can dampen desire.
I asked a bunch of women over 50 about their sex lives
Why bother, you ask? Short answer: The benefits of sex are many. Just a few reasons to keep at it and going solo counts : It boosts your immune system, burns calories, lowers blood pressure, helps you relax, eases pain, keeps your mind sharp, and may lessen the risk of heart attack and prostate cancer. It keeps you and your partner close. It just may help you live longer.
Oh, and it makes you happy. You can be intimate and loving -- and sexy, too -- without intercourse. Lovemaking includes caressing, hugging, kissing, and manual or oral stimulation. Any loving or intimate expression can make your intimate life full. This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.
It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
Guide to sex after 60
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