A friend of mine recently pointed an interesting article in Newsweek about another benefit of aging. No, not discounted coffee at McDonald’s (I prefer the stuff that I make at home anyway) – but better sex!
Just when I think I’m living in a culture possibly a little too obsessed with youth, articles like this remind me that getting older definitely brings its own benefits. I’m all about aging gracefully (trying to stay healthy, washing my face every thing) but there are aspects of aging that seem to at least somewhat dance across the minds of even my most zen friends. However, articles that boast how sexy Helen Mirren looks are a nice reassurance (and damn, she is a gorgeous woman – at my age I’d be pleased to look how she does now).
The article points out that studying sexuality in older populations is still relatively new. Why is that? Did we just believe that after a certain age, there is no sex? Sure, the way someone engages in sex may change, but they can still be an extremely sexual individual and enjoy a healthy and fun sex life.
While there are things that can definitely have a negative impact on a sex life past a certain age, think of the good things – and the positive ways a person can counteract those negative things. For example, many things can cause vaginal dryness in women, with one of the most common being menopause. A little bit of lubricant can make everything better, as can vaginal moisturizers for menopausal women, and lubricants can even be helpful for those that aren’t going through menopause.
For men, it may be somewhat more difficult to get and maintain an erection as they age. There are medications that can help with that, as well as techniques that can be practiced. However, study after study will tell you that an erection doesn’t guarantee mind blowing sex, and it’s possible for a male to have an orgasm without ejaculating.
In a related note, the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) – co-led by our own Dr. Debby Herbenick – explains that it’s this exact population that might need sexuality education the most, as they are one of the groups least likely to use protection. I know from my own experiences as a sexuality educator that older populations often have never had sexuality education, and will sometimes not view STIs as a problem. Older populations that I have worked with have explained that protection is not important to them as they are no longer able to conceive.
I think it’s extremely positive to know that sex can keep getting better! If you’re interested in finding out a bit more, check out Sex For Grownups: Dr Dorree Reveals the Truth, Lies, and Must-Tries for Sex After 50, The New Love and Sex After 60, and Dr Ruth’s Sex After 50: Revving Up the Romance, Passion, and Excitement (The Best Half of Life).
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