Sexuality and Aging

When do we actually feel ‘our age’? Most likely when we look in the mirror! I for one certainly don’t feel as old as my passport says I am.

How old we feel can often be measured by our physical ability, for example, we just got back from a holiday in Bali. Now most people would think that means we sat by the pool and drank cocktails…? Not us! We shared a villa with 2 other couples and we were very busy for 5 of the 6 days we spent away. We went hiking in the hills, cooking class, 4 wheel buggy driving, push biking through villages and white water rafting. And can I tell you I’m still suffering a few aching muscles.

So back to the topic, our ability to comfortably do physical things decreases as we age, our ability to recover after we have, slows down. This also affects our sexual life. Flexibility will decrease and muscular or skeletal pain may stop us from sexual positions we have always enjoyed.

Although medical science has us living much longer healthier lives than we were 100 years ago, there are side effects on some medications. Many antidepressants stifle the hormones that run your sex drive. Some pain medications can do the same. For women Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can affect their Sexuality too. Of course we have all heard about the seemingly wonderful invention of Viagra, allowing men to regain the ability to get and keep an erection hard enough for penetration. These little blue pills can be dangerous for men with heart conditions.

Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and many other afflictions will also change our sexuality and that of our partner. It may be physical limitations, psychological issues or biological. How we feel affects our partner, if we are going through a difficult time, it will change the way they see us.

Contrary to the belief of most under 30 years of age, there is no ‘off’ button when it comes to sexual feelings, intimacy and needing to have physical contact. We are sexual beings from our first heart beat to our last. No one has the right to take that away from anyone. I think we need to be more aware of how our sex and sexuality will change as our bodies slow down. Talk to your doctor about illness and medication and how that may affect sex. Unfortunately it is often skipped over and can then cause issues for the couple.

We can eat well and exercise to stay healthy and strong for as long as possible. It is just important to talk to our partner as things change. Always ask your doc if you have not received enough info and remember to ask if one medication may mix with another, in detriment to your sexuality. It is a big part of our lives, it will continue to change and evolve as we get older, don’t fight it, and it just means finding new ways to be intimate.