Maintaining a Healthy Sex Life as a Senior Man
While women experience quick and marked changes through menopause, within a period of just a few years, reproductive aging in men occurs more gradually through a process sometimes referred to as andropause. It’s a controversial term, and experts debate the very existence of the condition. Regardless, around age 50, a man’s testosterone levels begin to fall and measurable changes occur.
Fertility declines slowly in men due to both sclerosis (hardening) of the tubes that carry sperm and a decrease in sperm cell production, even though ejaculate volume typically doesn’t change. Testicular mass shrinks, and 50 percent of men experience prostate enlargement, which can in turn slow urination and ejaculation.
Decreasing testosterone levels can result in changes to muscle mass, body composition, bone density, strength and energy. Libido may also decline, and sexual arousal may be a slower process, which can also be the result of a changing pace of life. Your lifestyle plays a role in decreasing sexual health, as do choices such as smoking and alcohol use. Chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, can accelerate changes, too.
Common problems that impact sexual health
Erectile dysfunction (ED) happens when men have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, and it’s one of the most frequent issues suffered by men as they age.
Some men with ED also experience premature ejaculation, when men ejaculate before either partner would prefer. This condition impacts 31 percent of men in their 50s.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in men with enlarged prostates, whereas prostate gland infections and inflammation, as well as prostate and bladder cancer, are more common in older men.
Softer erections and the possible need for more stimulation to get one are normal parts of aging and do not necessarily indicate erectile dysfunction. However, both ED and age-related sexual challenges can significantly impact a man’s sex life and relationships. Once these issues surface, they have a habit of snowballing: The inability of the penis to get hard may prevent penetrative sex, which may result in anger, frustration and miscommunication with partners, which in turn decreases self-confidence and impacts libido.
How to handle the struggle
Many conditions men experience due to age are not preventable; they are simply inevitable and all part of getting old. That said, though, frequent checkups to monitor prostate health and chronic conditions can detect developing problems early, and that can prevent diabetes-related erectile dysfunction, for example.
If you are experiencing ED, or have symptoms related to sexual wellness, your doctor can recommend treatment options. Ask questions, including those related to sexual function. These problems are common in older men, and difficult as it can be, opening up to family or friends may be a source of comfort, as well as the realization that other people share these issues and are happy to discuss them with you.
You should not have to face these changes alone.
Tips for a healthy sex life as a senior man
Countless medical devices, medications and lifestyle changes can help address obstacles and allow you to still reach your sexual goals.
And here’s some good news: If you have more sex, that will help you have even more sex. A 2008 Finnish study showed men who had sex at least weekly were 50 percent less likely to develop erectile dysfunction.
Sex doesn’t always have to be what you think it is. Stop thinking about sex as penis-centered penetration. Doing so places a lot of pressure on erectile function, which declines with age regardless of whether you have ED. Use your fingers, your mouth or sex toys, or nothing at all, and let your partner do all the work. All sexual experiences with a partner can and should go beyond penetration.
In other words, explore the world of outercourse: body massages, oral sex and external stimulation.
You don’t need a pill to help you have great sex, either. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of men take Viagra and similar meds. If your female partner is also older, you may find that you’re (finally!) moving at the same pace and enjoying long, steamy sessions together rather than quick flings.
Ready for some afternoon delight?
Communication is your best friend. Be open with your partner(s), talk about your needs and desires, and listen hard to their needs and desires when they reciprocate. Come up with strategies together to maintain a strong sex life, perhaps working with a sex therapist.
It’s a good idea to make changes to your schedule: Perhaps enjoy an afternoon delight rather than waiting for the sun to set. Change positions, add foreplay to the mix, and pay attention to what’s working for you and your partner, so you can repeat that behavior next time.
Most of all, try to keep the romance alive because there’s nothing like a loving or sexy gesture to set the mood.
Getting older is an inevitable ane the end of your sex lifd beautiful part of life. There are challenges, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Be prepared to open to a new chapter in your sex life, and welcome more intimate sexual experiences and adventures.