Sex & the Elderly

Smart Health Sex and the Elderly Graphic

As you get older, the act and discussion of sex become an increasingly taboo subject.
Younger generations view it as gross to think about their parents or grandparents having sex, while the participants themselves oftentimes grow uncomfortable and frustrated with the changes that come with old age.
Issues like erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and medical conditions can be discouraging, but forgoing sex and other physical intimacy in your later years can actually impact your well-being.
In fact, studies have shown that active, satisfying sex life can improve not just your mood, but also your overall health and life expectancy.

But as you get older, it can get more difficult.

The key is to have a willing spirit and the ability to be flexible.  You have to adapt to change in order to maintain, reignite or even expand on your sexual intimacy.
Dr. Marlon Russell, a primary care physician with Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group in Barstow, will be giving a talk on Sept. 18 on the subject of “Sex and the Elderly” and how your age should not dictate your sex life. Here are some helpful tips for maintaining intimacy as you get older:

Slow Down

Sexual arousal can take longer and even require more manual stimulation as you get older. Both men and women experience slower arousal responses in their later years, and this can lead to anxiety among partners. This is the basis of this article about Sex & the Elderly.
Remember that this is perfectly normal. Delays in erections, lubrication, and even orgasms are simply the byproducts of old age. This should not be cause for embarrassment. Knowing that things can take a little longer to get going, and using that extra time to explore and enjoy your partner, can turn a frustrating moment into an incredibly enjoyable journey.


Whether you are with your husband or wife of 40 years or a new partner, communication in the bedroom is of the utmost importance.
Affirming physical attraction, explaining what does and doesn’t feel good, and even suggesting trying something new can help avoid awkward moments and make sure both parties feel comfortable and at engaged in the moment.
One of the many benefits of being older is that the distractions like children and jobs no longer apply. Odds are you have a lot more free time to spend with your partner. So you want to make sure you are talking about how you both want to spend it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Studies have shown as much as 50 percent of men suffer from some form erectile dysfunction by age 50. That number only goes up as you get older. Vaginal dryness occurs mainly during or after menopause and is experienced by as much as 30 percent of women.
Add in things like heart and lung conditions, arthritis and hypertension. The medications that come with them are extensive. Just simply getting in the mood and being able to perform can be a laborious exercise.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Talk to your health care provider about the problems you’re having and let them help you come up with a solution. Sex & the Elderly is a topic they are trained to discuss with patients. It may be as simple as taking a medication or trying something different that can open up a whole new world for you.

Marlon Russell  - Heritage Physician

Marlon Russell, MD, is a primary care physician with Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group in Barstow. He is now accepting new patients.

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