Friday, September 25, 2015

Factors Affecting Sex Life In Senior Citizens

Graying hair, loose muscles and weakening voice are all signs that remind a person that age is taking a toll on him or her. Another thing that is mostly only whispered is about boosting sexual desire and sex drive. While the gusto of youth may have diminished, does it mean that seniors can’t enjoy good sex up to their sunset day? Why is it that there is general assumption that senior citizens past a specific age have already had their sex days and should live in relative celibacy?

Why seniors are perceived as asexual
There are many factors that contribute to this concept.  A few of these include:

Societal views about sex
In some communities, sex is perceived as a means for procreation only. This makes it difficult for senior women past the productive age to display their sexual feelings lest they are seen in bad light in the unwritten rules of the society.

Men are not spared either by the judgmental society. Derogatory terms such as ‘dirty old man’ are common for seniors who show that despite their age they still have sexual needs to be met.  While sexually active older men can easily ride against such a tide of criticism, it is much more difficult for women.

In addition to the above, religious believes also play a major role in creating the wrong impression about sex. Many create a picture of sex being a sinful desire of the flesh that needs to be suppressed. With this believe, sex in old age is given little attention.  As studies have shown, sex is like a muscle – you use it or lose it. When the larger population sees such asexual seniors, they get the impression that that is how all good senior citizens should live (or behave).

Diseases and disabilities

It is true that advancing age increases the risk of certain diseases. For men certain health conditions can reduce or even kill their sexual desire and function. Such disorders include:

·        Cardiovascular diseases like hypertension
·        Vascular disorders including atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis
·        Metabolic disorders including diabetes
·        Lack of libido
·        Obesity
·        Low testosterone levels
·        Depression
·        Prostate tumors
·        Operations like prostatectomy

The prevalence of these health problems make many people assume that old people should only be actively swallowing pills to keep them alive than being busy engaging in sex.

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Women are also not spared by the increased risk of disease that comes with age. There are conditions that can also greatly reduce their sexual desire and drive. To the unknowing population they might think that these women have reached their ‘sell by sexual shelf life’. The burden of disease and society expectations can end up killing any remnants of sexual desire in such women. Common conditions that can lead to this sexual state include:

·        Falling estrogen levels
·        Falling testosterone level. Women need this hormone not only for healthy sex but for overall good health. The hormone levels are however, much lower than in men.
·        Bone disorders including arthritis.
·        Pelvic operations including hysterectomy
·        Systemic and metabolic disorders seen in men.

It must be noted that despite this conditions many older women still desire and enjoy sex even after extensive and invasive pelvic surgeries.

How can seniors retain better sexual health right into their ripe old age? That is a topic for a future article.

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