Is there sex after 60? Often the answer to that question depends on who you’re talking to. Younger people may think it stops at 50 while those in their 50’s may say 70 or 80. And some people say, “Great sex never stops. It only gets better.”
In my experience with a wide range of patients the major difference is attitude. Of course there are physical changes and health challenges with aging, but in working with many older couples I have found that these can be overcome.
The article (CLICK HERE) focuses on how people view sex and the major change that makes for a successful sex life for seniors. So the answer to the question, Can senior sex be the best sex? is a resounding “Yes,” if your heart and your mind are in the right place. So check it out, and even if you are younger, you can learn some ways to improve your sex life right now.
Can Senior Sex be the Best Sex?
Some women are of the opinion that the best sex they’ve had in their lives is with an older man. How can this be when a younger man might be fit, healthy, have a firm erection and a strong sex drive? An older man may have health problems, have more difficulty getting an erection and is generally nowhere nearly as driven to have sex as a younger man. How can a man over 50 possibly compete?
In a way the answer lies in the changes that come from aging. Faced with lower desire and decreasing physical abilities, some older men just give up on sex. Others realize that sex is more than an athletic event and begin to appreciate the sensual and emotional side of sexuality. These men are the senior lovers that women really appreciate.
As a man ages there are changes that take place which affect his sex life. But it’s a gradual process. Men over 30 experience about a 1% drop in their testosterone levels each year on average. (1) Since testosterone is an androgenic hormone this change has gotten the name, the andropause.
The change in men is different from menopause. When a woman enters menopause there is usually a rapid drop in the production of female hormones, producing symptoms like hot flashes, moodiness and changes that can lead to sensitive vaginal tissue and reduced lubrication. For men the transition is a very slow process and it can take 20 or 30 years to become aware that something is different.
One option seems to be taking supplemental testosterone to deal with the problem. A review of the literature in Healthline concluded that taking supplemental testosterone can help in cases of very low testosterone, but that otherwise the side effects outweigh the benefits. (2) Side effects include possible heart problems. Also the testicles can shrink because they don’t need to produce so much in the way of hormones. For the majority of men this isn’t the answer.
Another approach is to take one of the drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED), Cialis, Levitra or Viagra, which are effective, but have some drawbacks. First of all, never combine these medications with nitrates taken for heart pain as it may cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Check with your doctor for other cautions. There are also some strange, though rare, side effects like blue vision which seems like looking at the world through blue colored glasses.
For many men these drugs are effective in producing a firmer erection, but with advancing age even this may fade. Besides a man can become dependent on the drug and feel that he can’t function sexually without it. As many a man over 50 has found, the raging erection of a teenager isn’t the only thing that matters in sex.
Along with the drop in testosterone there are other challenges that can reduce sexual desire and make it more difficult to have an erection. Some of these are:
Arteriolosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
High blood pressure
Little or no exercise
Excess intake of alcohol
This is nowhere near a complete list of the conditions and diseases that can reduce desire and make it more difficult to develop a firm erection. However, these are the major problems that senior men face in this area. Also side effects from drugs can reduce sexual desire. It’s a good idea for a man over 50 to have a serious conversation with his doctor about sexual functioning, physical health and the side effects of drugs.
The main thing that most of the conditions listed above have in common is that they damage the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penis. In addition, arthritis can make the movements during sex painful and obesity can make intercourse physically difficult.
The disease conditions can be treated resulting in improved sexual functioning. For example, if sexual activity is painful due to arthritis, a man can take pain medication to reduce the symptoms and make it easier to have a good time.
In addition a heart attack does not necessarily need to stop a man from having sex. According to an article in MedlinePlus titled “Heart Attack Shouldn’t End Your Sex Life,” the lead researcher on a study of people who suffered a heart attack, Dr. Dietrich Rothenbacher, concluded, “Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack.” (3) Of course, you should always consult with your doctor before resuming sexual activity after a heart attack or if you suffer from any form of heart disease.
What can a Man Do?
There are three things a man over 50 can do on his own to increases sexual desire and improve the firmness of his erections:
Drink less alcohol
Exercise is great because it increases circulation, reduces weight, causes the body to produce more human growth hormone and can even lead to a slight increase in testosterone levels. Stopping smoking improves lung function, increases the flow of oxygen to the body and makes more blood available to the penis during sexual activity.
Reducing alcohol intake improves circulation and brain function. As Shakespeare wrote about drinking alcohol and sex in Macbeth, “it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.” These are wise words indeed.
There are some benefits from aging. A major study at the University of Chicago (4) found that about 30% of men under fifty had frequent to occasional problems with premature ejaculation. A follow up study found a gradual decline in PE with aging men:
The steady drop in rates of PE as men age is probably due to having a bit more difficulty in having an orgasm. Everything works a little slower as you age.
A New Point of View
After going through this list of physical changes in health problems in aging men, you may be asking yourself the question, “So what’s so great about sex with a senior man?” And the answer is that these changes bring about a new way of dealing with sex in mature men.
Sex with the young man is very focused on his firm erection and his ability at intercourse. Even if he has an orgasm too soon, he may be able to start up again after taking a 15 minute or half hour break. You might even refer to youthful sex as phallocentric sex from the Greek word phallus, which means penis.
A man with a few years under his belt is able to consider other aspects of sex. For one thing he’s not so interested in his own pleasure and is much more concerned with how his partner feels. A young man who asks, “Was it good for you?” is mainly fishing for compliments about his magnificent performance. A mature man who asks the same question is much more likely to be interested in how his partner felt and how they can improve their lovemaking.
Even having a lower sex drive can be a plus for a man over 50. To a young man sex is pretty much an athletic competition that can be won or lost. With maturity men begin to see the emotional rewards of sexual activity and view it as part of a relationship. This puts him much more in tune with the way women see sex and that is why quite a few women say that the best sex in their relationship happened when they got older.
The First Step
One couple I worked with, we can call them Andy and Susan, came to see me because they stopped having sexual intercourse. They were in their late 60s and what was unusual was that Susan was the force behind their coming in. Almost always with sexual issues it’s the man who initiates counseling.
The problem was that Andy had erectile dysfunction. As he aged erections became less and less firm. For a while he dealt with his fading erections by taking one of the prescription pills. But after a while even that didn’t give him a firm erection so he decided that he was “too old for sex.” Apparently he thought that if he couldn’t perform like a 20-year-old stud then the game was over.
It’s not unusual for both men and women to have certain assumptions about sex past a certain age. They just believe that there comes a point where couples stop having sex. But the truth is the couples in their 70s, 80s and even in their 90s can have a fulfilling sex life. It won’t be as energetic as it was when they were in their 20s, but it is a rewarding and enriching part of their relationship.
At this point in their relationship Susan had made it past menopause and still found sex to be desirable. She had difficulty lubricating when she was aroused but used one of the many lubrication products available over-the-counter and that took care of the problem.
Checking It Out
One of the first things I did was have Andy see a doctor for a checkup. The doctor said he had high blood pressure and fortunately prescribed one of the generic diuretics which has very few side effects to treat his condition. Otherwise he was in good health except for the fact that he got absolutely no exercise.
In session Susan told him that she didn’t care about having fantastic sex. What she really liked was the intimacy and cuddling and a mind-blowing orgasm wasn’t that big a deal. This was news to Andy because they’d never really had an open discussion about sex. He shared that he felt like a failure as a man and she reassured him that for her the sex they had had over the last few years was very satisfying. She also emphasized that she really missed their sex life.
Toward the end of the session I brought up the issue of exercise and had them promise that they would take a walk together at least five days a week. They were both a little puzzled but they agreed to do that. I also had them agree to have a “make out” session at least twice a week. But they were only to kiss and make out, not have intercourse. Then I set up to see them in three weeks and report what had happened.
Trying a New Way
I figured that Andy had a lot of thinking to do. And he confirmed that during the next session. The first thing he said was that the make out sessions took a lot of pressure off him. He found that he could really enjoy kissing and fondling without intercourse, which was actually a new idea to him. Before that he had really been focused on “getting down to business.”
By the second week and he found that he was getting better erections. They weren’t as firm as when he was younger, but he said they were, “good enough.” Naturally on the third week the two of them broke the prohibition against intercourse and had a really good time. Andy started to tune into the pleasures of intimacy as opposed to the excitement of an energetic, athletic performance. The result was that they both ended up much closer and went on to have a rewarding, fulfilling sex life together.
So there is hope for sex with a man over 50, 60, 70 or even 80. In fact there can be wonderful sex with a senior man as long as he can accept that his body doesn’t work the same as when he was 20. And physical activity makes a big difference in all areas of life. In a follow up interview, Andy and Susan reported that they took regular walks around a nearby park. Andy told me that he could now climb the stairs without getting out of breath and he felt satisfied but not exhausted after sex. There really is hope as long as you understand yourself and keep on doing it.
- Mayo Clinic. Male Menopause: Myth or Reality?
(2) Healthline. Can Testosterone Supplements Improve Your Sex Drive? (2015) http://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/do-testosterone-supplements- work#Overview1
(3) MedlinePlus. Heart Attack Shouldn’t End Your Sex Life.
Laumann, E.O. et al.(2000) The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, University of Chicago Press.