How Aging May Change our Sexual Bodies
Starting to think concretely about the physical changes you experience as you age can be a good first step in getting creative about how the sex you have could be different.
One of the first obstacles you may have encountered when thinking about your body’s changes (or upcoming changes) is that seniors are bombarded with a depressing list of “have-nots” to expect. The fact is, as we age, our bodies change in all sorts of ways, some of which can affect our sexuality.
Here is a list of some of the most common changes you might experience
- Both muscle tension and muscle strength can change. This can change the sensation of penetration, but it can also change the sensation of orgasm because muscles are involved in contractions and spasms during orgasm.
- The amount of vaginal lubrication in women changes over time (there are a variety of reasons for vaginal dryness), and vaginal lubrication generally decreases with age. However, sexual experts say that the changes are not as noticeable with regular sexual stimulation (masturbation or with a partner). Women of all age groups can enjoy the numerous benefits of regular sexual stimulation. And all kinds of female sex toys can be useful to keep you in shape.
- Erections also change with age. For some men, it takes longer to get an erection, and for some men, the erection does not feel the same as it used to.
- Automatic male strokers and gland massagers help men build up better orgasms and promote longer and stronger erections. Often one of the symptoms is decreased sensation as a result of aging, disease, injury, or the side effects of medication. The strong vibrations can provide exceptional sexual sensations that a man cannot experience with manual masturbation.
- There are also frequent changes in orgasm. It may take longer to reach orgasm, and the familiar feeling of buildup and release may be weaker.
- Men may notice changes during ejaculation. The refractory period may lengthen and the amount of ejaculate may also change. I have not found anything yet about how female ejaculation changes with age.
If you are experiencing any of these changes, and it is having an impact on your sex life or your overall sexuality, there are many ways to address this:
- You may want to start by taking a good inventory of where you are at sexually. Creating your own “sexual blueprint”, mapping out the things that work and don’t, the things you want to change, the things you wish could be the same, and the areas where you need more information or support is a useful first step.
- Start communicating. Whether it’s with friends, partners, family or service providers, talk to people you feel comfortable with about sex. As you age you are given the not-so-subtle message that you shouldn’t talk about sex. That silence is a huge obstacle to getting the kind of information, encouragement, and validation that we all need to feel good about ourselves sexually.
- A trip to the doctor may be worthwhile. It’s no secret that as we age things start to breakdown, work differently, and mysteriously fluctuate without warning. This doesn’t have to be something you just “live with”. If you’re experiencing pain, or are on any medications that are having an impact on your sexuality, talk to your doctor about it and find out what alternatives you may have.
Unfortunately, it is easy for all of us to become burdened with the things we are told we can no longer do and just give up. Since sex is considered a luxury by society, it is often one of the first things we give up.
Some aspects of getting older are difficult and it can be depressing to deal with so many changes when you have less social support and less power and independence.
One important reason not to give up on your sexuality is that feeling good about your sexual self and being able to give yourself sexual pleasure, however that works for you, can give you the energy and motivation to continue to deal with all the negative messages that are put in your way as obstacles, whether they are specifically about sex or just about getting older in general.
- American Association of Retired Persons 2005 Sex Study
- The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex. June Reinisch St. Martin’s Press, 1991.