Romance After 60

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The chaste older person. The dirty old geezer. The horny old broad. Stereotypes all.

“The stereotype is grim,” says Walter M. Bortz II, MD, author of We Love Too Short and Die Too Long. “The reality is that older people are a lot sexier than younger people think. The common notion is that when you are old you don’t — and maybe shouldn’t — have sex. Our studies have shown that older people are sexier in attitude and performance than they have been credited for.”

And that performance has some interesting documentation.

“You must realize that in the U.S. the biggest use of prostitutes is on the day Social Security checks come out,” says John Morley, MD, director of the division of geriatric medicine at St. Louis University.

So who’s responsible for the myth that exercise. If we agree sex is good for you, you shouldn’t stop — regardless of apathy.”

Finding What Works for You

Sex for seniors is not the same thing as sex for young people. The concern is with recreation rather than the possibility of procreation — and for same-sex couples, the stress is less on performance and more on satisfaction. This allows more room for expanding one’s sensuality — an important aspect of sex when the natural aging process may mean changes in sexual function.

“We don’t necessarily get worse, but our physiology changes as we get older,” Bortz says.

“One myth to put aside is that sex equals intercourse,” Blank says. “I call it the tyranny of sexual intercourse. Alternatives to intercourse are not just for people who don’t want to low testosterone levels, a dangerous medical condition known as hypogonadism. But many of these men are not getting testosterone treatment. Morley says new studies put the number of hypogonadal men in the U.S. at 10 million to 15 million.

 

Even so, both Morley and Bortz warn people to get reliable tests of their testosterone level before attempting testosterone therapy.

 

“Giving testosterone to every older male would be wrong,” Morley says. “Give it to hypogonadal men. There is a large number of studies that show libido will improve in older men when you improve testosterone levels. The reason to give testosterone to older men is not limited to sexual activity. Sex is nice, but living is even more fun. As we get older, memory goes down — and we males tend to lose our ability to remember at a greater rate than females. We have shown that the single best predictor of poor memory in middle-aged men is heart disease, and difficulty in attaining an erection could be an early symptom.

 

“If you see someone with impotence, the first thing you do is fix all the cardiovascular problems — it is a very important thing to pick up early,” he says.

 

One of these problems with safe sex.

penicillin. In fact, some can’t be cured at all.

Here are a few simple rules:

Ask your doctor about other ways to make your sex life safer.

The Bottom Line

“If a grandfather clock stops running, your choices are to junk it, fix it, or wind it up,” Bortz says. “Aging isn’t a disease. Do you feel used up? Well, you could give up. Or you could fix what’s wrong and wind back up. My main contribution is that most of what we think is aging is disuse. And that applies strongly to sexuality.”