Posted: June 15, 2021
Sexual health is important at any age. While the frequency of sex may decline with age, many seniors can and do enjoy a healthy sex life. Sex isn’t just a physical act, but an emotional expression of intimacy that benefits the physical health and emotional well-being of seniors.
With age, desire may wane and medical conditions can cause sexual problems, but that doesn’t mean that sex has to be over at a certain age. Understanding how sex changes with age and what common sexual problems might occur can help both men and women enjoy a physical and emotional healthy sex life into their 70s, 80s, and beyond.
Sex later in life can be more enjoyable for seniors who focus more on building intimacy and developing close relationships instead of focusing on performance or physical gratification. By focusing on affection and closeness, older adults can find enjoyment not only in lovemaking but in cuddling and kissing and intimate touch. Many people have greater confidence later in life and are less afraid to voice what works for them when it comes to sex, which leads to a more satisfying sexual experience.
Life changes, like retirement, illness, or death of a spouse can lead to depression which can reduce desire. Body image issues and concerns about aging and performance can also lower libido. Seniors with heart conditions may be concerned that sex could lead to a heart attack. After a heart attack, it is important to talk to your doctor about when it is safe to resume sexual activity.
It’s normal for aspects of our sexuality to change as we age. It’s important to communicate your feelings and fears to your partner, doctor or counselor.
Sex has the power to improve physical and emotional health. Some research suggests a correlation between sexual frequency and a longer, healthier life. This could be due to the fact that frequent sex means a close personal relationship and many studies show that social isolation is a detriment to health. Our need for intimacy does not decrease with age and being in a close relationship where there is physical touch and closeness – even if it isn’t a sexual relationship is important to our emotional well-being. At Bella Vita, residents can develop lasting friendships and find a sense of belonging with their like-minded neighbors, leading to fulfillment, joy, and immeasurable mental and physical benefits.
There are physical reasons to have sex as well. Orgasm releases oxytocin, a hormone that aids in sleep, boosts mood, and can reduce anxiety. Sex is a great form of exercise and can reduce blood pressure, minimize the risk of incontinence, and lower the risk of prostate cancer.
A study published by Sexual Medicine found that both men and women who enjoy a greater frequency of intimacy have a higher quality of life and self-describe their life as more enjoyable. While there is no age limit on sexuality and sexual activity, it can be difficult for single older adults to find a partner later in life. The ‘partner gap’ is greater for women who tend to live longer than men. In an AARP study, only 32 percent of women 70 or older have partners, compared with 59 percent of men in the same age group.
There are a variety of sexual problems that are more common in older adults. Illness, surgeries, medications, disabilities, hormonal, and emotional changes affect overall health which in turn can impact sexual health. According to the National Institute on Aging, normal physical changes that most seniors experience are vaginal dryness for women and erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. The good news is there are many effective treatments for both of these conditions.
Arthritis and chronic pain can interfere with intimacy as can changes to cognition like the onset of dementia symptoms. Some drugs can cause ED or reduce a woman’s desire or lead to difficulty with arousal or orgasm. If you are experiencing sexual problems, talk to your doctor to determine if there are underlying medical reasons or to find out what treatments are available.
Some sexual problems are the result of overall poor health. As we age, our physical movements become even more important in sustaining strength, balance, and flexibility. Lack of exercise, loss of muscle mass and poor nutrition can impact sexual health. One of the amenities Bella Vita residents can enjoy is a well-equipped fitness center, open 24 hours, which means you can stay fit regardless of the weather.
Intimacy and companionship are an important part of healthy aging. Senior retirement communities realize that sexual health is just as important as physical and spiritual health and emotional well-being. At Bella Vita, we make it easy for residents to enjoy what we call a beautiful life. Our inclusive community features a wide array of activities and places to connect, including a new dog park, a lush community garden tended by residents, a coffee bar, café area, a game room, and craft area.
For singles looking for companionship, a move to a 55+ community may offer a better chance of finding romance than living alone at home. Our beautiful affordable luxury community in Aurora, Colorado is conveniently located right next to The Havana Business District, which includes a shopping center, restaurants, and cultural attractions so you are steps away from everything you need.
At Bella Vita, we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for active older adults. We’re always here to answer your questions about our vibrant active adult community and help you find life’s next adventure. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a live, virtual tour.