1. People & Relationships

Healthy Senior Sex, Part II

Age-Related Physical Changes Can Create Challenges

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Testosterone is the magic hormone that regulates human sex drive. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman; testosterone is the key.

Fortunately, most men and women continue to produce enough testosterone as they age to maintain their interest in senior sex. If you find yourself losing interest in sex, one of the first things to do is to have your health professional check your testosterone level.

At the same time, the aging process leads to other changes in your body that may make senior sex more challenging for you and your partner.

Instead of being the beginning of the end, these changes can give you both new reasons to talk about your changing needs and to explore new positions and techniques.

Age-related changes are different for men and women, and it is important for you to understand what you and your partner are experiencing:

If you are a woman, most age-related physical changes that affect female sexualy are linked in some way to menopause and reduced estrogen levels.

As you age, intercourse may become less comfortable or even painful. Your vagina loses elasticity as you age, which means it doesn’t stretch as far or as easily, and lubrication takes longer even when you are sexually aroused. Some women experience a burning sensation during intercourse or light vaginal bleeding afterward.

Longer foreplay may help stimulate your natural lubrication, and you can use a water-based personal lubricant to make up the difference. You may also want to talk to your health professional about estrogen cream, and estrogen ring, or another estrogen replacement therapy to improve your body’s hormone balance.

Actually, having intercourse regularly can help you maintain lubrication and elasticity. On the other hand, if you haven't had intercourse for a while, it will take time to stretch your vagina enough to accommodate a penis comfortably.

Talk to your partner about what you’re experiencing, and take it slow to enhance your arousal and to minimize your discomfort.

If you are a man, it may take you longer to achieve an erection as you get older. In addition, your erections may not be as firm or last as long as they did when you were younger. Aging also will lengthen your time between possible ejaculations.

Talk frankly with your partner, and try different positions that may make inserting your penis easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

You should also talk to your doctor or health professional if you're having trouble with impotence, maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm.

You may require medication that can help you achieve and maintain an erection. In some cases, vascular surgery, penile vacuum pumps or other therapies may be advised.

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