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How to Stay Sexually Healthy as You Age

A healthy sex life is an essential part of overall good health, and it’s a myth that sex has to suffer as you get older. If you give sex the attention it deserves, you can maintain a healthy and active sex life no matter what birthday you just celebrated.

Age-Related Changes in Sexual Health
As we age, changes in our bodies may affect our sex lives. This can lead to problems such as less enjoyment during sex or difficulty becoming sexually aroused.

In women, hormonal changes after menopause or a hysterectomy can cause the vagina to become shorter, narrower, and less lubricated. These vaginal changes can make sex somewhat uncomfortable and less pleasurable. In addition, the psychological effects of aging may make sex less enjoyable for some women.

In men, aging is associated with an increased risk of becoming impotent, or being unable to have or keep an erection. Some men find that when they get older, erections can be less firm or smaller than they used to be, and that they produce less ejaculate during an orgasm or lose an erection faster after orgasm.

Health problems are more common in old age, and certain age-related conditions can also affect sexual satisfaction in both men and women, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Stroke
  • Incontinence

Maintaining a Satisfying Sex Life
While you cannot stop the aging process, there are plenty of ways to preserve your sexual health as you get older:

Pay attention to your overall health. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and managing the stress in your life can help to keep your sex life active and satisfying.

Communicate with your partner. Your relationship with your partner is an important part of your sexual health. Talk to your partner about his or her sexual desires and discuss any sexual changes you are experiencing. Be a good listener if your partner has sexual concerns.

Try something new. Exploring sex without intercourse, trying new sexual positions, having sex at different times of the day, and focusing more on foreplay can make your sex life more exciting and satisfying.

Solving Sexual Health Issues
If you have a sexual problem you are concerned about, talk with your doctor. In some cases, treating an underlying health problem or adjusting a medication, such as blood pressure or diabetes drugs, antihistamines, or antidepressants can help with sexual problems such as impotence.

When a health problem or medication is not the problem, there are simple ways to treat many of the common sexual issues people experience as they age. For example, women who have poor vaginal lubrication can often find satisfaction using lubricants or vaginal estrogen supplements. Impotence in men can frequently be managed or reversed with medications, hormone replacement therapy, penile implants, surgery, or sexual counseling.

The bottom line: Don’t assume that your sexual self disappears as you age. You can remain sexually active for years to come.