There’s a myth among younger generations that makes sort of a common sense assumption that seniors don’t have sex. Nothing further from the truth: they have interest in sex and they actually do have sex. However, if sexual problems arise, they’re quickly dismissed by the inevitability of ageing and, quite frequently, seniors don’t seek professional help.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Lindau and his colleges answered some questions in regard to prevalence of sexual activity, behaviors, and problems. From a sample of 3005 people, 73 percent of those aged 57-64 reported sexual activity, as did those between 65-74 (53%) and 75-85 (26%). Within the sexually active group, half reported at least one sexual problem. The highest ranking problem identified in females was diminished libido (43%) followed by lack of vaginal lubrication (39%) and inability to reach orgasm (34%). On the other hand, among men, erectile difficulties topped the list of problems (37%). The authors also conclude that only 38 percent of men and 22 percent of women discussed their sexual issues with a physician.
Talking to a physician is fundamental: the full understanding of underlying physical issues may allow for their resolution. For example, after menopause women have less vaginal lubrication and this can be treated with lubricants or topic hormonal preparations. Male impotence may be due to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even as a side effect of the drugs used to treat these or other medical conditions. Its resolution can be achieved by treating the disease or changing the drug regimen. Impotence by itself can be treated with a pill called sildenafil, self-injection of drugs (papaverine or prostaglandin E2), vacuum devices, or penile implants. Note that sildenafil can’t be taken by men having drugs containing nitrates and its use requires medical surveillance for possible side effects. Issues such as joint pain and urinary incontinence can eradicate sexual activity and may also be specifically treated.
Being sexually active doesn’t necessarily mean having intercourse. Knowing your partner, listening to his or her needs will allow for a full and satisfying sex life.
Seniors must also concern about safe sex. Advanced age doesn’t elude infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, and HIV. Unsafe sex is responsible for the increase of sexual transmitted diseases. In fact, between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia infections among americans over 65 increased by 31 percent and syphilis by 52 percent. A study published by Jena and her colleges in the Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that HIV is rising among men using erectile dysfunction drugs.
Sexual activity contributes to a good quality of life at any age. Believing that old people lack interest or simply don’t have sex corresponds to a stereotype that shouldn’t exist.