Dr. Jodi Punke
As we age, some changes in the body can alter the way adults experience their sex lives, either mentally or physically.
But there is no reason that aging should on its own be an obstacle to sex. Seniors can and should experience happy, normal sex lives.
Aspirus Senior Health Medical Director Dr. Jodi Punke, said a common complaint by women is a decreased sex drive.
Once women hit menopause, anytime from their late 40s to late 50s, they can experience vaginal dryness which can make intercourse painful, Punke said.
Another issue for women and men can be side effects from medications leading to less desire for sex.
Whether or not a women considers hormone replacement therapy should be based on how bad her symptoms are and what her individual risk of breast cancer might be, based on family history, Punke said.
For men, medications might interfere with blood vessels, leading to erectile dysfunction. If a man has ongoing problems, he should talk to a physician to rule out an underlying health concern, such as heart disease.
The best place to start is with your family practice doctor, Punke said. Pain during sex or other sexual problems can often be linked to medications and alternative meds can be prescribed instead.
And, Punke said, be aware that supplements as you might see advertised for “male enhancement,” are not regulated and you should ask your family doctor before beginning any treatment.
“You really don’t know what you’re getting,” Punke said.
How do you know if your sex life is normal?
Punke said if you have had a healthy sex life and it suddenly changes, that is a good indicator it’s time to discuss it with a family physician or gynecologist.
There is no reason to simply see your sex life vanish over the age of 65.
“People can continue to have a healthy sex life into their 80s,” she said.
It’s important for sexually active single or widowed seniors to keep in mind the fact they are not immune from sexually transmitted diseases over the age of 65 and to take necessary precautions to guard against disease.
— 13 for 13 staff