Tomlin Paul | Your sex life after 50
"I don't business with that anymore" is Mrs. T's reply to my probing about her sex life. "Since my husband pass I just keep to myself". At 60 years, she is in good health and having a happy life without sex. Or so it seems!
ARE YOU STILL DOING IT?
Older persons tend to be mistakenly viewed as asexual people who have lost either the interest or capacity for sexual behaviour. Cephalus was an honourable senior citizen in ancient Greece. When asked by Socrates about his sex life, he answered by quoting the poet Sophocles who said he was glad to be free from the rabid and wild master of sexual desire. Apart from the toning down of passion that comes with age, the older you get you may well get caught in society's perception that your time for these things has passed.
JUST A NUMBER
After 50, sex appears to be the least of my patients' concerns. Back pain, knee pain, getting pressure and sugar tablets, yes; but who comes in to complain about sex? Well, let's see. I get a few men, who, after voicing some minor complaints, remark "oh, by the way, doc, you have anything for down there?" Although it is brought up in passing, it is really the main reason for the visit. At the same time, I have seen the frailest of men encumbered with disease asking for medications to "get it up" and similarly, I have had the very old woman voicing her dissatisfaction with her partner's inability to please her.
AFTER 50 SEX MYTHS
Here are a few myths older couples really need to throw out of the bedroom!
- Women over 50 have lost their sexual function due to menopause
Women over 50 are generally sexually healthy and where there are menopause-related problems such as vaginal dryness, these can be easily addressed with simple solutions like lubricants or oestrogen creams.
- Men think women over 50 are not sexually attractive
Not true! The male sex drive is not simply tied to looks so changes in body image should not be a biggie. A man can, however, be turned off if his partner has stopped being interested in sex or where communication challenges exist.
- Your sex life is dead without spontaneous sex
Nonsense. Plan for sex with your partner. Think about it, set the date, plan the evening and the atmosphere and all that goes with it.
If you accept that there is no age limit and you desire a more fulfilling sex life after 50, then go for it!
Here are some tips:
- Keep working on building a committed relationship.
- Communicate! Talk about stuff, including your needs and desires.
- Get a check-up from your doctor and treat chronic diseases, including depression.
- Get help for problems such as vaginal dryness, erection weakness, prostate issues and urinary tract infections.
- Work on letting go of past heartache, trauma and failed relationships.
- Learn that real sex is not just about intercourse and orgasm and be creative and open to new sensations.
- Dr Tomlin Paul is a family physician at Health Plus Associates in Kingston; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.