How to Have an Enjoyable Sex Life During Your Senior Years

Sex, intimacy and emotional warmth are important parts of life throughout all ages. Older adults can expect changes in their aging bodies, but by no means does this take pleasurable and fulfilling sex off the table. Men and women can both experience enjoyable sex by embracing how their bodies have changed, overcoming emotional obstacles to intimacy, and getting a little playful in the bedroom.

Embracing Your Body

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    Start foreplay early. It may take longer for you or your partner to become aroused now than when you were younger, so take more time to set the stage for romance. Let foreplay last all evening by having a romantic dinner or an evening of dancing. Hold hands in public, sit next to each other at a restaurant, and try to be physically contacting each other as much as possible.[1] Kiss often and in different ways, as kissing helps you bond with your partner.[2]
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    Stay active and healthy. You will increase your energy and sex drive just by increasing your level of activity and staying as healthy as you can.[3] Eat a healthy diet, don't drink too much alcohol, and don't smoke or use illegal drugs.[4]
    • You can even make daily exercise a part of your romantic routine. Hold hands and go for a walk every evening, swim together, or ride bikes. Exercise time can also be quality time together.
    • Cooking healthy meals together can also be romantic and a way to show someone you care about them. Couples can plan a weekly menu together and visit the local market to buy fresh ingredients, or you can wow a new date by preparing a nutritious and tasty meal for him or her. Make healthy eating fun!
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    Visit your doctor regularly. Your doctor can help you manage chronic conditions and medications that affect your sex life.[5] Medications such as blood pressure pills, antihistamines, antidepressants and acid-blocking drugs can affect sexual function.[6] Illnesses that involve the cardiovascular system, high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal problems, depression, or anxiety can affect sex drive and function. Talk to your doctor about ways to work with these problems safely.
    • For example, you can tell your doctor, "I'm having a hard time keeping an erection since I started taking that new blood pressure pill, is there anything I can do about that?" They may be able to change your medication, or suggest other ways of coping with its side effects.
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    Have sex after a heart attack, but do it safely. Many older adults who have suffered a heart attack are nervous about engaging in sex. However, it’s still possible to enjoy sex safely, and studies show that the risk of dying during sex is very low. Check with your doctor beforehand, but once your condition is controlled you should be safe to resume sexual activity.[7]
    • Complete a cardiac rehabilitation program to improve your fitness.
    • If you can work out enough to break a sweat without having chest pain, sex is probably safe.
    • Abstain from sex if you have heart failure, severe valve disease, unstable angina, or an uncontrolled arrhythmia until you speak with your cardiologist.[8]
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    Use products to help with sexual dysfunction. Postmenopausal women have lower levels of the hormone estrogen, which in turn decreases vaginal lubrication and elasticity (stretchiness). This can make arousal more challenging and the friction of sex uncomfortable. Often dryness can be conquered with a water-based lubricant. If needed, your doctor can prescribe estrogen creams or hormone replacement. Men may experience impotence or have more difficulty getting and keeping erections. If non-medical methods fail, there are numerous products like Viagra that can assist.[9]
    • Impotence is more common in men who have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, which affect circulation.[10]
    • Some studies suggest that the supplement ginkgo biloba can improve impotence because it increases circulation, but others show no such effect. Check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.[11]

Getting Creative in the Bedroom

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    Experiment with new positions. Due to age-related diseases like arthritis, excess weight, and high blood pressure, some sex positions you used to enjoy might be uncomfortable now. Try out different postures that keep you both comfortable and allow for stress-free enjoyment. Ease the tension of exploration by teasing or tickling your partner, laughing together, and being playful! If you run into a physical challenge, face it together like a team and enjoy the process of finding the solution.[12]
    • If erectile dysfunction is an issue, try sex with the woman on top. Hardness is less important in this position.[13]
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    Give sex toys a try. Older couples often need more stimulation and more intense stimulation than they did at a younger age. Sex toys like vibrators, dildos, and erection rings can be great for warming up during foreplay and can add the extra sensation needed during intercourse.[14]
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    Expand your definition of sex. Other than intercourse, sex can also be about emotional pleasure, sensory pleasure, and relationship pleasure.[15] Touching, caressing, kissing, holding each other, and sensual massage are all ways to share intimacy. Hand massage of the genitals and oral sex can be enjoyable for couples.[16] Masturbation with your partner can be pleasurable and can help to teach him or her how you like to be touched.
    • Men do not have to be fully erect to enjoy fellatio or to achieve orgasm.[17]
    • Many women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, so hand massage and oral sex may in fact be more likely to help her climax than intercourse.
    • Sex toys or strap-on dildos can be used to simulate a fully erect penis while pursuing other pleasures.[18]

Overcoming Emotional Barriers to Great Sex

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    Love your body. Gray hair, wrinkles, and extra weight might make you feel self-conscious about your body. Negative body image can make sex less appealing and enjoyable, and can cause you to become less interested in sex. Embrace your aging body! Celebrate how far your body has brought you in life. Take extra time to determine what feels good now.[19]
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    Don’t worry about "performance." It’s a tough cycle, but stressing about how you will perform can lead to impotence in men and lack of arousal or orgasm in women. You might get the jitters about performance at any age, and maybe moreso when dealing with the physical effects of aging on libido. Relax, breathe, set the mood, engage in foreplay, and remember that this is a mutually shared experience that you can approach together.[20]
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    Don’t be stuck in the past. If you've lost your partner, you might not think you’ll ever find another, or you might find it hard to even think about a new relationship or dating. No matter your age, you won’t outgrow the need for emotional closeness and intimacy. Loving and appreciating someone new won’t change what you had in the past. If you need to see a grief counselor or take some time to mourn
 and prepare, that’s fine – but then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there![21]
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    Communicate, communicate, communicate. You might have a hard time talking about sex, but openly sharing your needs, desires and concerns with your partner will enhance intimacy and enjoyment of the experience.[22] Be honest with your partner about what you need and want. Discuss new ideas together. Tell your partner what you like and what you don’t like, even if you’ve been together for decades. Sensations that felt good years ago may feel different now.
    • Offer praise, be positive, and make outright requests. Say something like, "Honey, I love when you give me oral sex, and I would really like it if we could spend more time doing that before we make love." Or, "I feel so comfortable with you, let's discuss spicing things up with some toys. I'd love to hear your ideas."
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Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio
Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio Dr. Rohit Bhaskar, Physio is Founder of Bhaskar Health and Physiotherapy and is also a consulting physiotherapist. He completed his Graduation in Physiotherapy from Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences. His clinical interests are in Chest Physiotherapy, stroke rehab, parkinson’s and head injury rehab. Bhaskar Health is dedicated to readers, doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Bhaskar Health audience is the reason I feel so passionate about this project, so thanks for reading and sharing Bhaskar Health.

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