Senior sex and emotional issues

At any age, emotional issues can affect your sexuality. Many older couples report greater satisfaction with their sex life because they have fewer distractions, more time and privacy, and no worries about pregnancy. On the other hand, some older adults feel stressed by health problems, financial concerns and other lifestyle changes. Depression can decrease your desire for and interest in sex. If you feel you might be depressed, talk to your doctor or a counselor.

Senior sex tips

Sex may not be the same for you or your partner as it was when you both were younger. But sex and intimacy can continue to be a rewarding part of your life. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy and enjoyable sex life:

  • Talk with your partner. It may be difficult to talk about sex if you grew up viewing it as a taboo subject. But openly talking with your partner about your needs, desires and concerns can help you both enjoy sex and intimacy more.
  • Visit your doctor. Your doctor can help you manage chronic conditions and medications that affect your sex life. If you have trouble maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm, ask your doctor about medications or other treatments for these problems.
  • Expand your definition of sex. Intercourse is only one way to have fulfilling sex. Touching, kissing and other intimate sexual contact can be just as rewarding for both you and your partner. Realize that as you age, it's normal for you and your partner to have different sexual abilities and needs. Be open to finding new ways to enjoy sexual contact and intimacy.
  • Adapt your routine. Simple changes can improve your sex life. Change the time of day when you have sex to a time when you have the most energy. Try the morning — when you're refreshed from a good night's sleep — rather than at the end of a long day. Because it might take longer for you or your partner to become aroused, take more time to set the stage for romance. Try a new sexual position or explore other new ways of connecting romantically and sexually.
  • Don't give up on romance. If you've lost your partner, it can be difficult to imagine starting another relationship — but socializing is well worth the effort for many single seniors. No one outgrows the need for emotional closeness and intimacy. If you start an intimate relationship with a new partner, be sure to practice safe sex. Many older adults are unaware that they are still at risk of sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS.

And a final piece of advice for maintaining a healthy sex life: Take good care of yourself. Eat healthy, stay active, don't drink too much alcohol, and don't smoke or use illegal drugs. And be sure to see your doctor regularly, especially if you have any chronic health conditions or take prescription medications.

Jul. 16, 2011 See more In-depth