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Sex Ed Tips for Those 50 and Older


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10 Top Sex Ed Tips for Those 50 and Older

Making love is about more than intimacy. It’s good for your health, too

Sex Ed for Grownups

 

By Robin Westen, AARP Jun 10, 2022


HOW SEXY ARE YOUR 50S?
If you think sex is the province of the young, you’re wrong. People in their 20s are having less sex now than ever before, studies show, so it’s possible that you’re as active, or more so, as the average millennial. About a third of us are getting busy several times a week, one survey found.

And most of us are still in the game: 91 percent of men and 86 percent of women in their 50s report being sexually active, although activity levels vary widely. So, there’s no “normal” amount of sex for people our age. What matters more is that you and your partner are happy with your sex life. Men and women age differently, and some studies indicate that sexual interest wanes differently as well. Combine that with emotional and physical issues, and it’s possible that you and your partner aren’t on the same wavelength when it comes to making waves.

The upsides, however, go way beyond our cravings for intimacy, pleasure and connection. Sex boosts our immune systems, improves self-esteem, decreases depression and anxiety, relieves pain, encourages sleep, reduces stress and increases heart health. (In one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were 50 percent less likely to die of heart disease than their less active peers were.) Another bonus: You burn more calories making love than by watching The Great British Baking Show.

Not only is there a lot of science around the subject of later-life lovemaking; there’s also a range of products and medicines that can help. Take these steps to revitalize your sex life.

1. CONNECT EMOTIONALLY
Women are twice as likely as men to lose their enthusiasm for sex in long-term relationships, research shows. The problem isn’t always reduced estrogen; it could be an absence of emotional closeness. In these cases, try listening more, praising more and showing more kindness. Individual, couples and/or sex therapy can help as well. Look for a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

2. ADDRESS VAGINAL DRYNESS
It’s one of the top impediments to sex among older women: 34 percent of women ages 57 to 59 experience dryness and discomfort during intercourse, one study found. For help, try over-the-counter remedies before and during sex, such as water-based lubricants (K-Y Jelly and Astroglide), oil-based lubes (olive, coconut and baby oils) and OTC moisturizers (Replens and Revaree). Use these a few times a week, even if you’re not having sex.

3. EMPHASIZE FOREPLAY

“Regardless of the level of dryness, every woman needs to be primed with foreplay before intercourse,” says Elizabeth Kavaler, M.D., a urologist-urogynecologist at Total Urology Care of New York. Another tip: Encourage a woman to orgasm first, which provides more moisture for intercourse and other penetration.

4. DON’T LET ED KEEP YOU DOWN

Half of men who are in their 50s experience erectile dysfunction (ED), and the gold standard for treatment is prescription meds. Safe, effective options include Viagra (which lasts for four to six hours), Levitra (four hours), Cialis (up to 18 hours) and Stendra (up to six hours).

For the minority of men who can’t rely on a pill, other choices include alprostadil (a drug that’s self-injected into the penis) and Muse (a suppository that slides into the penis). Vacuum pumps use suction to coax erections, and new treatments include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which may regenerate nerves and improve blood circulation.

5. DON’T IGNORE OTHER CONDITIONS

Any problem that affects overall health can interfere with sexual pleasure. “Cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, as well as diabetes, can negatively impact blood flow,” which isn’t good for sexual arousal, notes New York ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, M.D., coauthor of The Complete A to Z for Your V. “And depression or anxiety can reduce the desire or ability to have sex.” The problem? Medicines that treat these conditions may also affect sexual desire and response. Speak with your health care provider about side effects and possibly switching meds or adjusting the dosage or timing.

6. CONSIDER ESTROGEN

Women, if over-the-counter lubricants aren’t doing the trick, consider estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), which treats hot flashes and vaginal dryness. The most common delivery methods are creams and pills (you can self-apply Estrace and Premarin with an applicator or take these in pill form), insertable tablets (with Vagifem, you use an applicator to slide a tiny tablet into the vagina) and a ring (Estring, which your doctor inserts, or you can do this yourself; it needs to be replaced every three months). ERT is not recommended for anyone who has or had breast cancer, or for those who have recurrent or active endometrial cancer, abnormal vaginal bleeding, recurrent or active blood clots, or a history of stroke.

7. THINK ABOUT LASERS

A treatment called fractional laser therapy can help reduce vaginal dryness without estrogen. It works like this: A laser creates tiny superficial burns in the vaginal canal. As the area heals, this leads to fresher collagen development and increased blood supply, which makes the area more elastic and responsive, Kavaler explains. (She cautions against vaginal rejuvenation surgery, which is a cosmetic procedure: “It can reduce sensitivity in the area and can make orgasms even more difficult to achieve or, in some cases, sexual intercourse permanently painful.”)

8. CONFRONT INCONTINENCE ISSUES

In a national poll of more than 1,000 women, nearly half of those over age 50 reported bladder leakage during sex. The primary reason: Sexual stimulation puts pressure on the bladder and urethra. If you’re hoping to get lucky in the hours ahead, avoid consuming beverages or foods with caffeine, such as coffee and chocolate; caffeine stimulates the bladder and acts as a diuretic (citrus fruits and juices are diuretics, too). Men whose prostates have been removed can also experience incontinence during sex. This condition, known as climacturia, can be treated in a number of surgical and nonsurgical ways. Plus, medications such as Ditropan and Vesicare can decrease urination frequency.

9. TURN DOWN TESTOSTERONE

In late 2020, the American College of Physicians stated that testosterone replacement should no longer be administered to treat a lagging libido (testosterone can have serious side effects, including an increased risk of prostate abnormalities). Denver urologist David Sobel, M.D., offers three easy alternatives: “sleep, reducing stress, and — the big one — exercise.” Even better: Work out with your lover. Seventy-one percent of runners say that running as a couple plays a healthy role in their sex life, according to a 2021 survey according to a 2021 survey.

10. OVERCOME ARTHRITIS ACHES

About 58 million Americans have arthritis, and over half are younger than 65, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis can limit your ability to engage in sex. In addition, an empathetic partner may resist sex to avoid creating discomfort. An option: Ask your partner to experiment with more comfortable positions. Also, time sex for when you feel best (rheumatoid arthritis pain is usually more acute in the morning), the Arthritis Foundation advises. Taking a warm bath, alone or together, can help relax joints before making love. If the pain is severe, try an OTC medicine such as ibuprofen before having sex, or speak with your doctor about prescription medications.

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2022/sex-ed-after-50.html

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Salty Dog

How to Have the Best Sex of Your Life

Proven ways to please an older partner

by Sandra LaMorgese, AARP, June 6, 2018

The years after you turn 50 are a time of great change, but some of the greatest changes — ones that people don’t talk about enough — relate to sex. As our bodies and minds mature and change, our relationship to sex changes, as well. This was certainly the case for me. When I was a younger woman, my sexual experiences were primarily physical expressions of passion, lust or love.

Though aging brought many physical changes, I was surprised to realize that those changes had little effect on my ability to enjoy sex as I got older. The reason for that is, now that I'm in my 60s, my view of sex has evolved from merely a physical expression into something more personal, intimate and even spiritual. The physicality of sex, while still important, takes a back seat to how it feels to make a connection with my partner and to be fully present in moments of intimacy.
Because of this shift, I have been able to enjoy sex more as I age, and you can, too.
All it takes is a willingness to let go of judgments and try new things to accommodate the natural physical and emotional changes of aging. It may take trial and error and the courage to venture outside of your comfort zone to reinvigorate your sex life as an older person, but this process of exploration can be powerful (and very sexy) if you approach it with patience and vulnerability.

Go with the flow
Physical changes that accompany aging can affect the amount and kind of sex you enjoy, but you can work around many of these changes by trying new methods. According to the North American Menopause Society, up to 45 percent of postmenopausal women find sex painful due, in part, to increased vaginal dryness and thinning vaginal tissue caused by falling estrogen levels.

One of the best ways to combat this extremely common natural side effect of aging is with a good-quality lubricant. Using lube is a simple and inexpensive way to make sex feel comfortable again for an older woman experiencing discomfort because of vaginal dryness. Make lube a regular part of your sex life, and when you’re with a partner, find ways to make applying it playful and sexy so that it adds to the experience.
You should also talk with your doctor or medical specialist about estrogen creams and hormone replacement therapy; both options have been shown to help vagina dryness, and they may even increase a woman’s physical and mental desire for sex.
Finally, small dietary changes may make a big difference in the bedroom for older couples. Research by the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University indicates that eating plant-based foods that contain phytoestrogens may help women raise their estrogen levels. The following are examples of such foods:

  • Seeds: flaxseeds and sesame seeds
  • Fruit: apricots, oranges, strawberries and peaches
  • Vegetables: yams, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, kale and celery
  • Soy products: tofu, miso soup and soy yogurt
  • Dark rye bread
  • Legumes: lentils, peas and pinto beans
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Chickpeas

Dealing with ED
Older men also experience their share of sexual challenges, the most common of which is erectile dysfunction. ED makes it difficult for a man to achieve or sustain an erection for sexual intercourse, which can be embarrassing, an ego killer and a source of serious emotional stress — all of which tend to exacerbate the symptoms of ED, resulting in a frustrating cycle.

Fortunately for men with ED (and their partners), there are numerous effective medical treatments and therapies that can help prevent this condition from becoming long term. But for those seeking a more natural remedy, the Mayo Clinic suggests lifestyle changes that may help, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, increasing exercise and lowering daily stress.

What's more, research from the University of Texas at Austin suggests that men can raise their testosterone levels by eating foods high in monounsaturated fat and zinc, including: 

  • Oils: olive, canola and peanut (monounsaturated fat)
  • Avocados (monounsaturated fat and magnesium)
  • Olives (monounsaturated fat)
  • Nuts: almonds and cashews (monounsaturated fat, zinc and magnesium)
  • Oysters (zinc)
  • Wheat germ (zinc)
  • Shellfish: lobster and crab (zinc)
  • Chickpeas (zinc)
  • Oatmeal (zinc)
  • Kidney beans (zinc)
  • Raisins (magnesium)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (magnesium)
  • Bananas (magnesium)
  • Low-fat yogurt (magnesium)

The quickie is out; the slow burn is in
For both men and women, another excellent strategy for making sex more enjoyable is to experiment with different kinds of prolonged physical touch, especially if you are working to rekindle sexual desire after a long dry spell. Joan Price, an advocate for ageless sexuality and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain — or Regain — a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, offers this guidance:

“As we age, our sexual needs and preferences may change. Where we like being touched, how we like being touched, even who we want to touch us may change. Let the changes be an opportunity to explore. Make a date with yourself or your partner to rediscover how your body responds. In a private, relaxed setting, spend a long, languid, sensual time touching without any goal except to experience sensation and pleasure. Don’t head straight to the genitals — explore your whole body. You may discover some new erogenous zones! Try different kinds of touch — slow, fast, light, firm, stroking, circling. If it feels natural, let yourself experience orgasm, but don’t put any pressure on yourself. Just enjoy learning what feels really good.”  

Embrace change in sexual desire
Beyond these simple and highly effective practical strategies for making sex more physically enjoyable, I want to end where we started, talking about the most powerful thing you can do to embrace change within your relationship to sex — that is, altering your mind-set. When you free yourself from expectations based on other people or your past experiences, you empower your own happiness. This process will look different for every person and every couple, and the things you try can range from spending more time cuddling to experimenting with new positions and techniques in the bedroom. Be open and honest with yourself and your partner about what feels good and how your sexual interests and feelings may have changed over the years.

The more you practice acceptance and take pressure off yourself and your partner to perform or respond in a certain way during sex, the deeper and more satisfying your sexual experiences will become, no matter your age.

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2018/how-to-have-good-sex.html

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