Older women renewing sexual health-Attitudes about sexuality and aging - Harvard Health

January 24, A new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society article reviews common issues in caring for the sexual health of older women, noting that physicians often lack sufficient training. Only a minority of older women report discussing sexual issues with a physician, and when discussions do occur, they are usually initiated by the patient. Physicians should ask regularly and proactively about sexual activity and function. Important interventions include offering practical advice to common chronic medical conditions and sexual problems that confront older women; treating vulvovaginal atrophy; and providing screening, prevention strategies, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections when appropriate.

Older women renewing sexual health

Older women renewing sexual health

Finally, starting a new sexual relationship after divorce or the death of a spouse can present its own dilemmas. She may need to undergo a few weeks of therapy reenwing medication or dilators before she can comfortably resume intercourse. The Medical Clinics of North America. Only Vaginal dryness and erectile difficulties loom large as you hurtle past

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Rss Twitter Facebook Read a recent enewsletter Advertise with us. Menopause means that women no longer have to worry about pregnancy. Summary of the recommendations on sexual dysfunctions in women. With so many demands on your time and attention, you and your partner may neglect to nurture your relationship. Biggeest titties in the woorld Older women renewing sexual health of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. Bdsm preview lets this hot mother i'd like to Older women renewing sexual health strokes his large cock and eats cum 5 min Combs Marianne - Lubricate As a woman ages, natural lubrication for sexual intercourse decreases. She decided they should schedule regular dates for sex and initially they agreed three day intervals might work for both of them. The fatigue and stress of the caretaker role may also dampen desire. The result is that an addressable physical issue becomes a morass of anger, resentment, and frustration. This inattention can cause your sexual connection to fray as well. By communicating with your partner, taking care of your health, and maintaining a good emotional perspective, your sex life can grow even richer over the years.

Many people want and need to be close to others as they grow older.

  • Do women want steamy sex or just a companionable cuddle?
  • Correspondence to Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan e-mail: lustinarasimhanm who.
  • Fantasies can help rev up your sex life.
  • A total of 10 articles based on primary studies, reporting about the sexuality or sexual health of older women and older people , and published between —, were deemed suitable.

Fantasies can help rev up your sex life. Myths, on the other hand, can stop desire dead in its tracks. Such myths aren't the legends from classical history. They're the stories we tell ourselves and each other to support the notion that older people shouldn't, can't, and wouldn't want to have sex. This type of myth, however, bears as little relationship to reality as do the fanciful sagas of ancient gods and goddesses. The culture we live in exalts youth. Turn on the TV or open a magazine and you'll be barraged with images of supple skin, firm flesh, and lustrous locks.

But if your mirror is reflecting a different picture these days, you may feel like the party is going on without you. Sure, thinning hair, laugh lines, and a paunchy midriff are no picnic. But think back on what it was that made you attractive in your younger years.

Was it your soulful brown eyes, your crooked smile, or maybe your infectious laugh? Chances are, those attributes are still as appealing as ever.

Whether it's the white-haired grandmother fussing with her knitting or the loveable old codger puffing on a pipe, society is inclined to desexualize older adults. When older adults do express their sexuality, it's often viewed with derision — for example, the stereotype of the "dirty old man. People are living longer and remaining healthier. Former president George H. Bush went skydiving to celebrate his 75th birthday, John Glenn returned to space at age 77, and Carol Sing forged a new world record at 57 by becoming the oldest woman to swim the English Channel.

With this trend toward later-life vitality, why shouldn't seniors be allowed to cast off outdated and ill-fitting stereotypes in order to express their normal, healthy sexual appetites? The myth: Men and women lose their ability to perform sexually after a certain age. Vaginal dryness and erectile difficulties loom large as you hurtle past You may be feeling that you should just listen to what your body is trying to tell you: Sex is a thing of the past.

While a certain degree of physical change is unavoidable, this fact of life doesn't necessarily translate into insurmountable sexual problems. For women, high-tech vaginal lubricants and hormone creams and rings are viable substitutes for what nature no longer supplies. What's important for both sexes to remember, though, is that a softer erection, reduced natural lubrication, or a less intense orgasm doesn't mean you're no longer interested in your partner or in sex itself.

On the contrary, the older man has better control of his ejaculations. Less penile sensitivity means he may be able to enjoy a wider range of erotic sensations and maintain his erection longer. And his experience may pay off in improved sexual technique and a better understanding of what will please his partner.

Many women begin to find sexual confidence in their 30s, and this blossoms with maturity. After menopause, when she's free of any worry about pregnancy, she can give herself over to the pure enjoyment of sex. Although longtime partners do have to contend with issues of familiarity in their relationship, these problems can be offset by greater emotional intimacy and trust.

Because inhibitions often lessen with age, sex at 50 or 60 may include a level of experimentation and playfulness you wouldn't have dreamed of in your younger years. In , Modern Maturity magazine and the AARP foundation polled 1, adults age 45 and older about the role sex played in their lives. The findings paint a detailed picture of sexuality at midlife and later.

Over all, the majority of men At age 75, the proportion dropped to one in four. However, when the group was examined as a whole, one out of five men and two out of five women had not participated in any form of sexual touching or caressing over the last six months.

Self-s timulation on a regular basis was also about eight times higher among men. Not surprisingly, one of the major factors associated with respondents' satisfaction was the availability of a partner. In the 45—59 age group, roughly four out of five individuals had partners; by comparison, only one in five women over 75 had partners. Declining health also appeared to have an effect on sexual activity and satisfaction. On a list of features that might improve their sexual satisfaction, the men ranked better health for themselves or their partners at the top.

Although impotence emerged as a significant issue for nearly a quarter of the men, less than half of those men had ever sought medical treatment for the problem. While the initial prerequisites for sexual activity are physiological — functional sex organs, adequate hormone levels, and freedom from healt h conditions that interfere with the body's ability to respond to erotic cues — these elements don't guarantee sexual satisfaction. Stress, anxiety, self-esteem issues, negative past experiences, lifestyle demands, loss of loved ones, and relationship conflicts can weigh heavily.

During midlife and beyond, these factors, combined with naturally occurring physical changes, can make you vulnerable to sexual problems. It may seem obvious that not having a partner is an impediment to an active sex life, but it's an especially important issue for older people. By age 65, many people find themselves alone, through either divorce or widowhood. This affects sexuality in a variety of ways.

Should a woman want to remarry, her chance of finding a new mate in her age bracket dwindles yearly; there is an average of only 7 men for every 10 women age 65 and above. All this boils down to the fact that, compared with men, women are likely to live a greater portion of their lives without a mate.

Finally, starting a new sexual relationship after divorce or the death of a spouse can present its own dilemmas. People often fear that they will not become aroused or be able to have an orgasm with a different partner. They also may be self-conscious about baring their body in front of someone new. Tension in a relationship can be deadly to a couple's sex life. In many cases, conflict is at the root of a sexual problem.

Other times, a sexual issue strains a couple's ability to get along. The following issues are often connected to sexual problems. Anger and frustration. Accumulated anger, hurt, disappointment, and resentment can fester, destroying closeness between partners. These pent-up feelings often extinguish the flames of desire.

For men, anger and frustration can interfere with arousal and getting an erection. Likewise, the breakdown of trust can be devastating to a woman's ability to reach orgasm. Both partners can suffer loss of libido in a conflict-ridden environment. This type of disappointment turns toxic when one or both partners resort to criticism and defensiveness — two of the major harbingers of divorce. In addition, one member of the couple may unconsciously withhold sex as a way of expressing anger or to maintain the upper hand in a situation where he or she feels otherwise powerless.

Poor communication. Communication is essential for partners to build the trust needed for a successful sexual relationship. By talking frankly about your feelings, you can foster acceptance and understanding in your relationship.

This makes it easier for you and your partner to collaborate on finding solutions to issues, and it can prevent resentments from piling up. When conversation breaks down, anger and resentment are likely to build.

Dialogue is especially vital as physical changes take place. Vaginal dryness or erection difficulties can be wrongly perceived as waning interest in sex, which can trigger feelings of rejection and resentment. By articulating feelings, couples can sort out the physiological factors from the emotional and relationship issues, and address each appropriately.

The person who was once so electrifyingly mysterious to you may become as comfortable — and as alluring — as an old shoe. While the deep trust and intimacy created from years of shared experiences are the building blocks of a truly loving relationship, such familiarity can take the edge off desire.

Sex may not even seem worth the trouble when you're facing the same old lovemaking routines. When sexual activity wanes, other types of physical affection often fade, too. This lack of physical connection can extend the emotional distance between you and your partner. But it's possible to do so.

One frequent motivator for a person to have an affair is a quest for newness. This yearning may arise from a need to banish midlife drudgery, a desire to find out what sex is like with someone else, or an urge to recapture the heart-pounding sexual highs of youth. Other times, an individual searches out a new partner to meet unfulfilled emotional or intellectual needs.

An affair sometimes occurs because of sexual dysfunction in the marriage. For example, men who have erection difficulties or women who can't reach orgasm may seek out new lovers to prove that the sexual problem is their spouse's doing, not their own.

Likewise, the partners of those with sexual difficulties may try to seek reassurance that they're still sexually appealing in the arms of someone else. The reverberations of an affair can extend throughout a couple's relationship like ripples on a pond. Sometimes the straying partner isn't able to respond sexually to his or her spouse because of guilt over the affair, fatigue from juggling two sexual relationships, or a negative comparison of the spouse with the new lover.

If the spouse discovers the affair, he or she may withdraw emotionally. An affair can be a serious, sometimes fatal, blow to a relationship. However, it's possible for a marriage not only to survive infidelity, but also to grow from this painful expe rience. To do this, though, both partners must face the personal and relationship issues that led to the affair in the first place.

Couples therapy is a good place to turn for help in doing this. Sex therapy can also be useful if the affair has caused or resulted from sexual problems. In the years since the famous "little blue pill" entered the market in March , millions of couples have seen firsthand what this drug can and can't do. In many cases, Viagra sildenafil citrate is the answer to a prayer for men who have been unable to have an erection. But the drug offers no help in untangling the emotional and relationship pressures that frequently accompany erectile dysfunction.

For one thing, Viagra only works if there is desire to have sex. If emotional issues are impinging on libido, the pill won't help. It's important that the partner of a man who has begun taking Viagra understands this.

Women were not satisfied with the questions about sexual issues on medical forms. Pagman VC, Seguire M. To do this, though, both partners must face the personal and relationship issues that led to the affair in the first place. For instance, post-menopausal changes to the lining of the vagina can reduce innate protective mechanisms against infection. Older Aussies on the scrapheap.

Older women renewing sexual health

Older women renewing sexual health

Older women renewing sexual health

Older women renewing sexual health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Immune function also declines across the life course and this increases vulnerability to HIV infection. A considerable amount of clinical research on sexual dysfunction in older women has been conducted. Some of these studies have dealt with post-menopausal changes. In resource-poor settings, inadequately treated conditions such as incontinence and vaginal fistula can lead women to become withdrawn and reclusive.

The sexual needs and desires of older women need to be acknowledged and respected, regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation. For health systems, the implications of this are far-reaching. In women, the menopause marks a period of important physiologic change. In some settings it also entails a shift in social role and a change in self-image. During this period, women may benefit from access to health education to learn how to adjust to these changes and to find ways to express their sexuality.

To facilitate this adjustment health professionals, in turn, will need to develop a better understanding of sexual needs in older age and a greater willingness to discuss sexuality openly with older patients, who may feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject. As people age, differences in their health status and in their level of social participation and functioning become accentuated.

Still, many other women will face serious health problems or live in cultural settings where sexuality in older age is frowned upon and where traditional gender roles limit their ability to express their sexual needs. Older women need access to health services that take account of all these factors.

Yet the problems these women face can be compounded by the failure of health-care workers and policy-makers to accept that older women have sexual needs and by a lack of evidence-based information on how to help women overcome their problems in the area of sexual health. Towards the end of their lives, many older people lose the ability to live independently.

Although there is a trend towards home-based care, some will require institutionalization. Their sexuality will not be left at the door and health-care workers will need to be trained on how to attend to the sexual health needs of those in their care. On the other hand, older people who are institutionalized are vulnerable and need to be protected from abuse. Ethical dilemmas can arise when dementia is also involved. Although the data are sparse, the importance of sexual health among older women is becoming increasingly evident.

These concerns are likely to evolve quickly as the number and proportion of older women in the population increase. International and national policies and programmes on sexual health will need to be adapted to better meet the changing sexual needs of older women. Health Topics. World Health Statistics. Also, arthritis and other pain conditions are often less severe at certain times a day.

This varies from one person to the next, though you can try having sex when your pain is the least severe. We live in a culture that is constantly showing us images of youth and beauty. As women age , they may feel less sexually attractive, which can interfere with sexual desire. Sure, your body changes as you age, but that does not reflect on your worth or desirability.

Poor health can interfere with sexual satisfaction. As women age, they may need to undergo surgical procedures that alter the reproductive organs. However, they can dramatically change how a woman perceives her own attractiveness.

Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, are on the rise in older adults. Naturally, with age comes a longer sexual history as well and many infections can remain dormant for years.

Do not assume that an older sexual partner is a safe sexual partner. It's always best to practice safe sex. If you or your partner are having sexual difficulties, talk to your doctor. There may be simple solutions that can help, such as changing the time of day that you take a medication or making lifestyle changes. Expect that you will have to make adjustments in your life and sexual habits as you age. For men, trouble having an erection is an expected part of aging.

If this happens to your partner, gently help him troubleshoot this problem. Lifestyle changes and medications can help and a conversation with his doctor is a good place to begin. Sex and orgasms bring both emotional and physical benefits.

Women should not feel guilty about masturbation. Vibrators and other devices can help tremendously. Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life.

Talk With Your Partner. Lubricate As a woman ages, natural lubrication for sexual intercourse decreases. Experiment With Positions and Times Pain caused by arthritis or other conditions can interfere with sex. Feel Beautiful We live in a culture that is constantly showing us images of youth and beauty. Take Care of Your Health Poor health can interfere with sexual satisfaction.

Sex, desire and pleasure in later life: Australian women's experiences

Many people want and need to be close to others as they grow older. For some, this includes the desire to continue an active, satisfying sex life. With aging, that may mean adapting sexual activity to accommodate physical, health, and other changes. There are many different ways to have sex and be intimate—alone or with a partner. The expression of your sexuality could include many types of touch or stimulation. Some adults may choose not to engage in sexual activity, and that's also normal.

Normal aging brings physical changes in both men and women. These changes sometimes affect the ability to have and enjoy sex. A woman may notice changes in her vagina. As a woman ages, her vagina can shorten and narrow. Her vaginal walls can become thinner and a little stiffer. These changes could make certain types of sexual activity, such as vaginal penetration, painful or less desirable.

ED is the loss of ability to have and keep an erection. ED may cause a man to take longer to have an erection. His erection may not be as firm or as large as it used to be. ED is not a problem if it happens every now and then, but if it occurs often, talk with your doctor. Talk with your partner about these changes and how you are feeling. Your doctor may have suggestions to help make sex easier. Some illnesses, disabilities, medicines, and surgeries can affect your ability to have and enjoy sex.

Exercise , drugs, and possibly joint replacement surgery may help relieve this pain. Rest, warm baths, and changing the position or timing of sexual activity can be helpful.

Chronic pain. Pain can interfere with intimacy between older people. Chronic pain does not have to be part of growing older and can often be treated. But, some pain medicines can interfere with sexual function.

Always talk with your doctor if you have side effects from any medication. Some people with dementia show increased interest in sex and physical closeness , but they may not be able to judge what is appropriate sexual behavior. It can be confusing and difficult to know how to handle this situation. Here, too, talking with a doctor, nurse, or social worker with training in dementia care may be helpful. This is one of the illnesses that can cause ED in some men. Less is known about how diabetes affects sexuality in older women.

Yeast infections can be treated. Heart disease. Narrowing and hardening of the arteries can change blood vessels so that blood does not flow freely. As a result, men and women may have problems with orgasms. For both men and women, it may take longer to become aroused, and for some men, it may be difficult to have or maintain an erection.

People who have had a heart attack, or their partners, may be afraid that having sex will cause another attack. Even though sexual activity is generally safe, always follow your doctor's advice. If your heart problems get worse and you have chest pain or shortness of breath even while resting, your doctor may want to change your treatment plan. Extra pressure on the belly during sex can cause loss of urine. This can be helped by changing positions or by emptying the bladder before and after sex.

The good news is that incontinence can usually be treated. The ability to have sex is sometimes affected by a stroke. A change in positions or medical devices may help people with ongoing weakness or paralysis to have sex. Some people with paralysis from the waist down are still able to experience orgasm and pleasure. Lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, such as intimacy and sexual activity, can be a symptom of depression. It's sometimes hard to know if you're depressed.

Talk with your doctor. Depression can be treated. Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman's uterus because of pain, bleeding, fibroids, or other reasons. Often, when an older woman has a hysterectomy, the ovaries are also removed. Deciding whether to have this surgery can leave both women and their partners worried about their future sex life. If you're concerned about any changes you might experience with a hysterectomy, talk with your gynecologist or surgeon.

Mastectomy is surgery to remove all or part of a woman's breast because of breast cancer. This surgery may cause some women to lose their sexual interest, or it may leave them feeling less desirable or attractive to their partners. In addition to talking with your doctor, sometimes it is useful to talk with other women who have had this surgery. Programs like the American Cancer Society's " Reach to Recovery " can be helpful for both women and men.

If you want your breast rebuilt reconstruction , talk to your cancer doctor or surgeon. Prostatectomy is surgery that removes all or part of a man's prostate because of cancer or an enlarged prostate.

It may cause urinary incontinence or ED. If you need this operation, talk with your doctor before surgery about your concerns. Some drugs can cause sexual problems. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, Parkinson's disease or cancer medications, appetite suppressants, drugs for mental problems, and ulcer drugs.

Some can lead to ED or make it hard for men to ejaculate. Some drugs can reduce a woman's sexual desire or cause vaginal dryness or difficulty with arousal and orgasm. Check with your doctor to see if there is a different drug without this side effect. Too much alcohol can cause erection problems in men and delay orgasm in women.

Age does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Older people who are sexually active may be at risk for diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, genital herpes, hepatitis B, genital warts, and trichomoniasis. To protect yourself, always use a condom during sex that involves vaginal or anal penetration. Talk with your doctor about ways to protect yourself from all sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Go for regular checkups and testing. Talk with your partner. You are never too old to be at risk. Sexuality is often a delicate balance of emotional and physical issues. How you feel may affect what you are able to do and what you want to do. Many older couples find greater satisfaction in their sex lives than they did when they were younger. As we age, our bodies change, including our weight, skin, and muscle tone, and some older adults don't feel as comfortable in their aging bodies. Older adults, men and women alike, may worry that their partners will no longer find them attractive.

Aging-related sexual problems like the ones listed above can cause stress and worry. This worry can get in the way of enjoying a fulfilling sex life. Older couples face the same daily stresses that affect people of any age. They may also have the added concerns of illness, retirement, and lifestyle changes, all of which may lead to sexual difficulties. Talk openly with your partner, and try not to blame yourself or your partner. You may also find it helpful to talk with a therapist, either alone or with your partner.

Some therapists have special training in helping with sexual problems. If you sense changes in your partner's attitude toward sex, don't assume they are no longer interested in you or in an active sex life. Talk about it. Many of the things that cause sexual problems in older adults can be helped. There are things you can do on your own for an active and enjoyable sex life. If you have a long-term partner, take time to enjoy each other and to understand the changes you both are facing.

Don't be afraid to talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life. He or she may be able to suggest a treatment. Your doctor or a pharmacist can suggest over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or moisturizers to use.

Moisturizers are used on a regular basis, every 2 or 3 days. Or, your doctor might suggest a form of vaginal estrogen. If ED is the problem, it can often be managed and perhaps even reversed with medication or other treatments. There are pills that can help. They should not be used by men taking medicines containing nitrates, such as nitroglycerin.

Older women renewing sexual health

Older women renewing sexual health