How To Maintain Your Sexual Health After 50
Sexual intimacy is one of life’s great pleasures. It is also strongly associated with both physical and mental health. All too often, however, we imagine that only the young should be concerned with maintaining a healthy sex life.
In reality, though, sexuality is an important aspect of life at any age. Sexual desire or enjoyment need not diminish as you age. The key lies in understanding how your physical, emotional, and sexual needs change over the years. Armed with such knowledge, you and the one you love can continue to enjoy a pleasurable and fulfilling sex life throughout the years to come.
Understanding Your Body
Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean that the need or desire for sex simply evaporates. However, normal physiological changes across the lifespan can impact both your sex drive and your ability to perform.
Hormonal changes, for instance, can play an especially significant role in decreased energy levels as well as libido. Testosterone levels in both men and women naturally decline with age, leading not only to a loss of sexual desire but also to issues with erectile dysfunction in men and lack of sexual arousal in women.
Estrogen levels in women also dramatically decline after menopause, which can further exacerbate the loss of sexual interest.
The good news, though, is that there are many things that you can do to rebalance your hormone levels and slow or even reverse hormonal declines. This includes not only physician-prescribed hormone replacement therapies but also evidence-based lifestyle changes. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet have been proven to increase energy, stamina, and libido by helping to regulate hormone levels and supporting overall physical health.
The Impact of Chronic Illness
As we age, we are more likely to experience the onset of an array of chronic medical conditions that may take a toll on sexual health. Erectile dysfunction, for instance, is often one of the first and most significant indicators of cardiovascular disease.
Similarly, the development of common musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, may make some sexual positions difficult or uncomfortable for your partner.
Conversely, sexual dysfunction can be a frequent side-effect of many common medications, particularly those used to treat hypertension, high cholesterol, or gastrointestinal disorders.
If a health condition, or its treatment, seems to be impacting your libido or sexual performance, the best thing you can do is speak to your gynecologist or primary care physician. They will be able to advise you on the safest and most effective solutions to address the issue and help you and your partner regain the sexual intimacy you deserve.
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Mind and Body
The physiological changes associated with aging may not be the only factors impacting your sex life. Because the aging process often brings with it a host of lifestyle changes that may not always be welcome, you may be experiencing anxiety or depression without even realizing it.
Significant life events, such as retirement, the death of a spouse, empty nest syndrome, or a new medical diagnosis, are common experiences of aging. Though they may be expected as the natural order of things, this does not make them any less psychologically taxing.
However, you may not even realize that you are struggling until you begin to notice that you have withdrawn from those you love and have begun to lose interest in the things you once enjoyed. This may well include a loss of interest in sex.
This is why communication with your partner and, ideally, with a qualified mental healthcare provider is so important. Your loved one can provide the understanding and support you need to navigate life’s most challenging moments. Likewise, a trained therapist can equip you with the tools you need to gain perspective and find the motivation you need to begin enjoying life — and sexual intimacy — again.
Making a Plan
Getting older isn’t for wimps. The things that once came naturally and easily to us when we were young often require effort as we age. When it comes to maintaining, or restoring, your sexual health, self-care and self-compassion are essential. This means ensuring you are taking care of yourself in all ways, from getting sufficient sleep and regular physical activity to eating healthfully and attending to your medical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
This can seem overwhelming at times, to be sure, but some simple hacks can help make it easier. For instance, creating a flowchart can give you a visual aid for diagnosing the challenges in your life that may be taking a toll on your sexual health.
You may discover, for instance, that you are undertaking too many physical chores in the afternoon, which may leave you too exhausted to be intimate with your partner at night. You might then use your flowchart to modify your daily schedule to help you rediscover the energy and stamina you need for a satisfying evening with your loved one.
Sex is a critical attribute of a happy, healthy life at any age. As we get older, however, maintaining a healthy, satisfying sex life can prove challenging. That does not mean, though, that you have to give up the gift of intimacy just because your body is changing. The key is to understand how age and lifestyle are affecting your libido and overall sexual functioning and to take proactive steps to resolve these challenges. For both you and your partner, the effort to regain the sexual intimacy you deserve will be more than worthwhile.
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NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Nannocare. Nannocare is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the author of this article, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.
Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.