Because sexuality tends to be a
private matter, it's likely that you've heard less about sexual change than any
other element of aging. Fortunately, the news is good—for most healthy adults,
pleasure and interest don't diminish with age. Most people are sexual
throughout their lives, with or without a partner, and some feel greater sexual
freedom in their later years. On the other hand, some men and women are content
to be sexually inactive.
Around age 50, men and women typically
begin to notice changes in their sexual drive, sexual response, or both. Like
so many other physical changes that evolve over time, these aren't signs that
you are losing your sexuality. Rather, these changes are simply something to
adjust to and discuss openly with your partner and/or your doctor.
Hannah Kalil is 83 years old, and lives by herself in upstate New York. She
has aides who help with her caregiving throughout the day. But the
responsibility of managing her finances, health care -- both mental and
physical -- and long-term living situation falls to one person: her daughter --
and my mother -- Eleanor.
It's almost a full-time job. Making sure my grandmother is happy and not
feeling lonely means daily visits. Her never-ending stream of medical issues
means weekly -- if not...
Your skin may be more sensitive and easily irritated when
Intercourse may be painful because of thinning vaginal
walls (regular sex often helps prevent this from becoming severe). If a
water-based lubricant (such as Astroglide) isn't enough, talk to your doctor
about vaginal estrogen cream, which reverses thinning and sensitivity. For more
information, see the topics
Menopause and Perimenopause and Sexual Problems in Women.
little experimentation and patience, you can adjust to sexual changes and
satisfy your sexual and intimacy needs. If you think your sexual interest might
be affected by a medicine or health problem, work with your doctor to correct
or treat it. Talk with your partner about any misgivings you might have so you
can handle them together.