Family Favorites

You Won’t Age Out of Sex

February 18, 2020

Knowledge is power — the more you know, the more sex (or better sex) you could be having after 60.

[button color=”blue” size=”normal” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=””]Sign up to receive our Nola Boomers newsletter![/button]

Your friends may not talk about it, but a lot of them may still be having sex. In fact, according to the University of Michigan’s 2018 National Poll On Healthy Aging, 40 percent of adults aged 65 to 80 are sexually active, and 54 percent of them say sex is important to their quality of life.

“It’s still very much a taboo subject across the board,” says Amanda Fitzgerald, a local pelvic floor physical therapist whose majority of patients, men and women, are over 60. But she says sex is imporatnt to bring up during doctor appointments. Hormones, erectile dysfunction, overall health, and natural aging can all challenge the mood. Learning some of the obstacles that sex and aging present can help you lead a better sex life.

Hormones and changes to the body. For women, levels of estrogen decrease during menopause. The vaginal walls get thinner and drier, which can make sex painful, Fitzgerald says. For men, testosterone and estrogen also nosedive. This can make it difficult to get an erection.

Lubed condoms, water-based lubricating jelly, and vaginal moisturizers could bring the pleasure back to the bedroom. Other remedies to discuss with a doctor include vaginal estrogen, which comes as a cream, a pill or tablet, or an insert.

Erections just don’t pop up as much anymore. The penis might not get as hard or able to stay as rigid as long. Fitzgerald says that about 1 in 7 men admit to taking some form of ED medication. Of the ED medications available, some could clash with drugs that contain nitrates, so it’s important to talk about with a doctor.

Health. Diabetes, especially type 2, can also cause ED. Over time, poor blood sugar can damage nerves and blood vessels that supply sex organs. Women with diabetes can also have less feeling in their genitals. It also causes more vaginal yeast infections.

According to WebMD, a heart attack during sex is unlikley to happen. However, it does narrow and harden the arteries, making erections more difficult. Weight gain, arthritis, chronic pain, bladder control, cholesterol levels, side effects from medications, depression, and stroke are all factors that impact sex life.

Sexually transmitted infections. A study from the University of Virginia says that patients over 60 make up the largest increase of in-office treatments for sexually transmitted infections. Diagnosis rates for herpes simplex, gonorrhea, syphilis, and more rose 23 percent between 2014 and 2017. By contrast, the entire age range from 13 to 59 reported only an 11 percent increase during the same period.

One cause for this increase may be from a lack of awareness among people 60 and older, especially for married couples. Reentering the dating scene after a decades-long monogamous relationship could have prohibited someone from learning about STIs and prevention. They simply didn’t need to know before.

“Sexual health is directly related to physical health,” Fitzgerald says. You can have sex for as long as you like, no matter your age, if you’re paying attention to the signs.

Tim Meyer is the managing editor for Nola Boomers and its sister publication, Nola Family.


Newsletter Signup

Your Weekly guide to New Orleans family fun. NOLA Family has a newsletter for every parent. Sign Up