We at POP notice that, whenever we blog about seniors and sex – whether the topic is about sex in nursing homes, finding partners, aging bodies – we get a large audience. Men pay more attention and interact more often. What does this increase in interest and attention reflect?
Well, it seems pretty obvious that, despite aging, many of us – and yes, male and female seniors – are still very interested in sex. We are interested in enjoying sex more fully, having more fun “playing” at last, being pain free during sex, knowing how to improve how it and how to remain confident as sexual beings.
So, here at POP, we are creating a new series of articles. This is the first. The series is called:
“Seniors and Sex – The Ultimate Guide: 65 and Beyond!”
“Sexual health among older adults doesn’t get much attention but is linked closely to quality of life, health and well-being,” writes Erica Solway, Ph.D. She is co-associate director of the University of Michigan’s 2018 National Poll on Healthy Aging. And the good news she is spreading along with POP is that seniors today – men, women, people of all sexual predilections – have more control over their sexuality, more available information, including videos that show how to do just about everything, and more access to others interested in having sex (with us?) via the Internet than ever before.
According to Solway’s poll which questioned 1,002 people, 40 percent of those aged 65 to 80 identified themselves as still sexually active. 73 percent reported “satisfaction” with that activity, and 76 percent agreed with the statement that “sex is an important part of a relationship at any age.” Similarly, in England, In a 2015 study from the University of Manchester of over 7,000 participants, 54 percent of the men and 31 percent of the women over 70 said they were still doing the deed, “Thankyouverymuch.” Roughly a third of that group said they were having sex frequently.
Our sex drive generally declines with age because our bodies change. How much we change and when is very much a direct result of the steps we’ve taken over the years to maintain our health. According to the National Institute on Aging, some of those changes may involve vaginal shapes changing, hormonal shifts making it harder to get lubricated and erectile dysfunction. Conditions commonly associated with seniors such as arthritis, heart disease, and certain medications can make sex seem less pleasurable and/or more risky. Among Michigan’s survey subjects, about one in five men and three percent of women reported seeking medical intervention to get back in the saddle. You, too, might decide to seek medical attention should one or more of those conditions prevent as full an enjoyment of your sexual life as you’d like to have.
Again, there is more good news, of those who sought out help for this, a full 77 percent said it helped them to perform and feel better! We all can benefit from learning more about how age-related changes in physical health, relationships, lifestyles and responsibilities (such as caregiving), might be affecting us sexually and affecting the seniors we love.
If you stop and examine these fascinating statistics (who knew?!) and you look at us vibrant seniors, you’ll quickly recall that, WE are, indeed, the “Baby Boomer Generation!” WE are the original “Peace and Love” generation! WE are the experimenters and enjoyers of “drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll.” It would stand to reason that, notwithstanding that years have gone by, WE still have a lot of spirit, energy, and more time and money than many of us used to have.
As we age, we often quite naturally “become” more ourselves rather than less ourselves. We often have learned to become more tolerant of ourselves and others, and therefore we’ve embraced our strengths as well as recognized, but not necessarily given in to, our vulnerabilities. We know ourselves better than we ever have. We have incorporated the “discriminator” facility – that is, we know much more quickly if we like something/someone/some place than we did 50 years ago when we were geeky, gawky teenagers.
So, let’s ‘fess up to it and admit it: we seniors are still interested in enjoying sex, finding sexual partners if we don’t already have them, and we’re even interested in learning some “new stuff.” Hmm, what might that be?
We at POP are inviting you to take a more active role in our blogging about what you want to know more about relating to “Seniors and Sex: 65 and Beyond!” We also encourage everyone to give us your feedback on this entire arena and what might be most helpful to you right now.