Senior sex: Tips for older men

What you can do to maintain a healthy and enjoyable sex life as you grow older. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Senior sex isn't the same as it was in your 20s — but it can still be satisfying. Contrary to common myths about sexuality and older adults, sexual interest is not just for the young. Many seniors continue to enjoy their sexuality into their 80s and beyond. A healthy sex life is not only fulfilling, but it's also good for other aspects of your life, including your physical health and self-esteem.

Senior sex: What changes as men get older?

As men age, testosterone levels decline and changes in sexual function are common. These physiological changes can include:

  • A need for more stimulation to achieve and maintain an erection and orgasm
  • Shorter orgasms
  • Less forceful ejaculation and less semen ejaculated
  • Longer time needed to achieve another erection after ejaculation

You may feel some anxiety about these changes, but remember they don't have to end your enjoyment of sex. Adapting to your changing body can help you maintain a healthy and satisfying sex life. For example, you may need to adjust your sexual routine to include more stimulation to become aroused.

Senior sex and health problems

Your health also can have a big impact on your sex life and sexual performance. If you or your partner is in poor health or has a chronic health condition, such as heart disease or arthritis, sex and intimacy become more challenging. Certain surgeries and many medications, such as blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants and acid-blocking drugs, can affect sexual function.

But don't give up. You and your partner can experiment with ways to adapt to your limitations. For example, if you're worried about having sex after a heart attack, talk with your doctor about your concerns. If arthritis pain is a problem, try different sexual positions or try using heat to alleviate joint pain before or after sexual activity. Stay positive and focus on ways of being sexual and intimate that work for you and your partner.

Jul. 16, 2011 See more In-depth