As we grow older, our sexual prowess declines, but a loving spouse can do wonders to maintain an exciting, emotional and physical relationship. Many married couples who, as they age, make marvelous adaptations to the changes in their sexuality. But others may need a little help.
After the age of fifty, changes that may be expected in women are reduced lubrication and lessened vaginal elasticity. Men may expect delayed and partial (less high) erections, reduced fluid and force of ejaculation, more rapid detumescence after orgasm, and longer refractory period before the next capability.
Studies showed that 70% of 68 year old men and 25% of men in their eighties regularly had intercourse. So did the majority of women in their seventies, if they had an active partner. The normal sexual decline in men can be with more prolonged foreplay and genital caressing. Women with reduced lubrication may benefit from hormones or bland vaginal lubricants.
Sexual feelings for many elderly men and women endure despite all the family and cultural negatives and may continue into the nursing home (old age home). There are also a variety of constructive approaches that can help with sexual performance in the presence of arthritis, alcoholism, cardiac disease and stroke. Even in the presence of diabetes and its organic changes, sexual therapy has helped reverse impotence. Some drugs may be an obstacle to sexual performance. Also, some tranquillizers and hypnotics may cause partial erections, delayed ejaculations or impotence.
||1. BE REALISTIC
The keys to a happy and successful sexual life in the later years are realistic expectations and a sound personal philosophy of the sexual relationship. It is most important to think preeminently of quality, not quantity. There seems very little merit in the man who is a sexual acrobat, capable of considerable sexual feats, especially when his wife tells him that he wears her out or, worse, is not loving. Men who have intercourse with their wives at far less frequent intervals but who are warm and affectionate, both in and out of bed, have a far better sex life, than the former.
At any age, sex is an interaction that mirrors the underlying relation, not an isolated event occurring without any context. Great sex can occur once a week — or even far less often — yet be full of tenderness and sweetness. Routine sex, on the other hand, though performed more often, may remain devoid of the necessary emotional charge.
The quantitative decline of sex with aging will not always be accompanied by those additional qualities that infuse good sexuality. It is the higher sexual pathway that originates in the brain in response to all the meanings of a good relationship that is important. Interestingly, the emotional component as reported by many couples may make for better erections and much more satisfying intercourse. The sexuality of the real world flows from a hug, a kiss, a flood of memories and feelings. These are the essence of love at all ages. They charge up the sexual act, and they transcend the confines of the laboratory experiments.
||2. SEXUAL CHANGES IN WOMEN
The menopause, of course, is clear-cut and unmistakable. Monthly periods cease, and there may be a succession of uncomfortable changes associated with it, such as the familiar hot flushes, sweats, and sometimes minor depression and nervousness.
Because the female hormones tend to plump up the skin and produce some water retention in it, loss of the hormones following menopause may make some women's skin look older. Another common complaint is of increasing vaginal dryness and a decreased capacity to lubricate with sexual stimulation.
In addition, the passage of the years may produce some atrophy of the vaginal lining, as it becomes thinner and more delicate. Where hormone deprivation in the vagina is maximum, all the structures, including the vaginal outlet, seem to shrink and Contract. Fortunately, however, we have a quick and reliable answer to all this: The female sexual hormones, available in a variety of pills and in various combinations, prevent all these changes.
||3. SEXUAL CHANGES IN MEN
The male sexual capacity, as determined by the number of ejaculations over a defined time period, peaks in the mid- to late teens. This ability starts declining in the twenties and thirties and goes down to virtually zero in the eighties and nineties. There is no decline in the blood levels of testosterone (male hormone) over this time period, though studies have shown decline with aging. There are slight changes in the semen from youth to old age, but these are not major, and old men are therefore capable of becoming fathers.
The manufacture of testosterone and of sperm is governed by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. There seem to be mo significant changes in the hormone from the pituitary, which governs the making of testosterone, or in the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which governs sperm production.
These findings may be contrasted with those for females who experience ovarian failure that leads to menopause. This event produces a large rise in the FSH, which soars to fifteen times the normal level and which is associated with the characteristic hot flush.
|| 4. MALE SEXUAL FUNCTION AS RELATED TO AGING
The male requires a longer time to reach erection and may require greater stimulation, such as manual stimulation.
- Once response to stimuli has occurred, the erection may be somewhat less rigid.
- The erection may start to wilt earlier than has been customary with that individual.
- The spurts of semen produced in the orgasm diminish.
- The latency period, which is the time from orgasm to the next erection, may be much prolonged in the aging male. Many hours may go by in which even maximum stimulation will not produce an erection.
5. CAUSES OF IMPOTENCY WITH MEN
- Endocrine disorders.
- Vascular and neural impairment.
- Chronic, progressive or wasting diseases.