Monday, November 26, 2012

Sex, Drugs, & Rock n' Roll, Part 1: Sex

Attitudes about sex changed just about when we boomers were coming of age sexually. Now they tell us that a good early sex life leads to a good sex life later, so I guess we had it right from the beginning, no matter what our parents tried to tell us. By the time we reach retirement age, we know exactly what we want, and we know how to get it.

People are ageing better now than we used to. We are more fit, we look and feel better, and we are more interested in sex. Seventy-year-olds are healthier than they were thirty years ago. They have fewer distractions, more time and privacy, and no worries about pregnancy.

Many people remain sexually active into their 70s and 80s. A Swedish study that reported on seventy-year-olds said that 58% of the men and 62% of the women were sexually satisfied. Another study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine said that of people aged 57 - 64, seventy-three percent had recently engaged in sexual activity. In the 65 - 74 age group, it was 53%, and for those between 75 and 85, it was 26%. Just look at what we have to look forward to!

Seven Reasons Why Sex is Better After 60

This is adapted from Jim Selman's blog on Huffington Post:
  1. We have more patience; we can slow down and relax.
  2. We know that the more we give, the more we receive.
  3. We have better conversations - before, during, and after.
  4. We are less judgemental in the bedroom.
  5. We are present in the moment with no worries about past or future.
  6. We are more about the journey than the destination.
  7. We understand love. We can relate to others without needing to be in control. Sex is a gift that we give to each other.

The Relationship between Sex and Happiness

In a study of married couples over the age of 65, in the group that had sex at least once a month, 80% said they were very happy with life in general. If they hadn't had sex for the past twelve months, only 59% reported that they were happy with their lives. And of the ones who had been celibate for more than a year, it was only 40%. I have to wonder if the sex makes them happy or if a couple who is happy together naturally has more sex.

It doesn't just happen all by itself; it takes some effort to keep the passion alive. It helps a lot if you can talk to your partner - share your hopes and dreams and your sexual thoughts. It will probably never again be like it was in your twenties and thirties, but it can be better. At this stage of our lives, intimacy and love are often more important than orgasm.

Nine Tips for Hot Sex After 60

This is adapted from Joan Price's Eldr blog. (There were 10 but I missed one.)
  1. Slow down. Foreplay can last for hours.
  2. Kiss, kiss, and kiss again. It helps you bond with your partner.
  3. Appreciate, decorate, and celebrate your own and your partner's bodies with lingerie, feathers, massage oil & candlelight.
  4. Do sexy things together. Dance. Buy sexy clothes. Go to a sex shop.
  5. Make love during high energy times. Try a morner or an afternoon delight.
  6. Explore sex toys.
  7. Use a silky lubricant.
  8. Enjoy quality snuggle time before, during, and after.
  9. Laught a lot.

When Problems Arise

Loss of libido, or just not being interested anymore, can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, such as depression, stress, diabetes, low testosterone in men, or as a side effect from some medication.

Other problems can come from heart disease, arthritis, surgeries, medications, high blood pressure, anithistamines, anti-depressants, or acid-blocking drugs. Erectile disfunction can be dealt with by taking Viagra or Cialis. They may be expensive but can be well worth the expense.

Viagra has only been around since 1998, but it is one of the most prescribed drugs out there. It only works if the man is sexually aroused, just like normal. Possible side effects include headaches, long-lasting painful erections, and heart attacks, which is why it requires a prescription. It cannot be taken with nitroglycerine, though. The good news is that Viagra's patent expired in March of this year, so generics should bring the price down.

A huge part of sex is the desire to be desired. When women report sexual disfunction, it is usually from lack of desire, which is often connected to a woman's sense of intimacy with her partner. Experiences from her past can add to the problem. Medical conditions can also affect libido.

If the Thrill is Gone...

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, talks about viewing our partners, both men and women, as beautiful flowers. When we first get together, we want to do anything that is possible to keep our flower happy. We give it lots of love and attention and our flower responds to that love by thriving. 

But over the years, we get kind of lazy and take our flower for granted. We get busy with our own lives and forget to pay any attention to our flower. Our flower responds by getting kind of droopy and not so pretty anymore. Then maybe we don't like our flower so much anymore. Maybe we think about throwing it away and getting a new flower.

But what can happen when you remember the old days and how much you loved your flower. Remember how happy your flower was and how it thrived? And when your flower thrived, weren't you happy, too? Maybe if you start paying attention to your flower again - give it some of the loving care that you used to - it will respond by perking up and becoming happy again. And then you can be happy again, too.

Play Safely

I've heard a rumor, completely unsubstantiated, that the 81,000 seniors living at The Villages in central Florida can give the youngsters a run for their money in the sex department. They have ten women living there for every man, and the competition is tough. One night stands and quickies in golf carts aren't unheard of. The market for Viagra is thriving, but so is the rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Most of them spent the better part of their lives married to their first love who has now died and left them alone. They don't have to worry about pregnancy and are too old to have had sex education at school, so they never learned about STDs. They need some young people to go stand on the corners passing out free condoms in lots of pretty colors.

And finally, the Mayo Clinic's Senior Sex Tips

  1. Talking with your partner can help you both enjoy sex more.
  2. Talk to your doctor if there is a problem. He or she can explain if it is a medical condition or medications.
  3. Expand your definition of sex. Orgasm isn't necessarily required; contact and intimacy are really more important.
  4. Adapt your routine to your needs. Try different times of day. Try new positions. Try it in a golf cart. (No, they didn't say that.)
  5. Don't give up on romance after death or divorce, but practice safe sex.
Take good care of yourself. Eat healthy. Stay active. Don't drink too much alcohol. Don't smoke or use illegal drugs.

Thanks for reading. And have more sex!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kathy-- love your blog.I'm a 59 year old,married ,retired Nurse Practitioner. The issues you discuss are on the mind of many "seniors!" My patients ALWAYS had questions about their sex lives!!!!!

    What a wonderful, healthy article/post!!

    Sex in the middle and elder years is often better than it ever was! You did a great job of covering ways to overcome or work around the various issues that may keep some folks from enjoying sex as much as they could.

    I hope your readers enjoy your post and read it...twice!!