Starting to think in concrete ways about the physical changes you experience as you age can be a good first step to getting creative about how the sex you have might be different.
One of the first obstacles you may have already encountered when researching changes you are experiencing in your body (or changes to come) is how seniors are bombarded with a depressing list of “have nots” for them to expect.
The fact is that our bodies change in all sorts of ways as we age, some of which may affect our sexuality. Here is a list of some of the common changes you may be experiencing:
If you are experiencing any of these changes, and it is having an impact on your sex life or your overall sexuality, there are many ways to address this:
- You may want to start by taking a good inventory of where you are at sexually. Creating your own “sexual blueprint”, mapping out the things that work and don’t, the things you want to change, the things you wish could be the same, and the areas where you need more information or support is a useful first step.
- Start communicating. Whether it’s with friends, partners, family or service providers, talk to people you feel comfortable with about sex. As you age you are given the not-so-subtle message that you shouldn’t talk about sex. That silence is a huge obstacle to getting the kind of information, encouragement, and validation that we all need to feel good about ourselves sexually.
- A trip to the doctor may be worthwhile. It’s no secret that as we age things start to breakdown, work differently, and mysteriously fluctuate without warning. This doesn’t have to be something you just “live with”. If you’re experiencing pain, or are on any medications that are having an impact on your sexuality, talk to your doctor about it and find out what alternatives you may have.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for all of us to get weighed down by the things we’re told we can’t do anymore and just give up. Because sex is seen as a luxury by society, it’s often one of the first things we do give up on.
Some parts of getting old are difficult and it can be depressing to deal with so many changes when you have fewer social supports and less power and independence.
One important reason not to give up on your sexuality is that feeling good about your sexual self and giving yourself sexual pleasure, however it works for you, can give you the energy and motivation to continue dealing with all the negative messages that are thrown up as obstacles in your way, whether they are specifically about sex, or just about getting older in general.
- American Association of Retired Persons 2005 Sex Study
- The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex. June Reinisch St. Martin's Press, 1991.