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Romance After 60

Seniors, when it comes to sex, use it or lose it, says a noted sex educator. 'You should continue to have good sex for the same reason you should continue to get good exercise: It's taking care of yourself,' she says. 'Do it whether you feel like it or no

Steps to Better Sex for the Older Man continued...


"Libido starts everything," Bortz says. "A man's testosterone level goes down with aging. But most men's aging problems are not testosterone. But this might be the problem, so the first step is to measure the testosterone levels in the blood."


The FDA estimates that there are 4 million to 5 million men in the U.S. with low testosterone levels, a dangerous medical condition known as hypogonadism. But many of these men are not getting testosterone treatment. Morley says new studies put the number of hypogonadal men in the U.S. at 10 million to 15 million.


Even so, both Morley and Bortz warn people to get reliable tests of their testosterone level before attempting testosterone therapy.


"Giving testosterone to every older male would be wrong," Morley says. "Give it to hypogonadal men. There is a large number of studies that show libido will improve in older men when you improve testosterone levels. The reason to give testosterone to older men is not limited to sexual activity. Sex is nice, but living is even more fun. As we get older, memory goes down -- and we males tend to lose our ability to remember at a greater rate than females. We have shown that the single best predictor of poor memory in middle-aged men is low testosterone. And when men are given it back, their memory improves."


Morley has developed a questionnaire that can screen men for possible testosterone deficiency. He calls it the ADAM (Androgen Deficiency in Aging Men) test. It includes 10 questions:

  • Do you have a decrease in sex drive?
  • Are your erections less strong?
  • Do you have a lack of energy?
  • Do you have decreased strength or endurance?
  • Have you lost height?
  • Have you noticed a decreased enjoyment of life?
  • Are you sad or grumpy?
  • Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?
  • Are you falling asleep after dinner?
  • Has there been a recent deterioration in your work performance?


A "yes" answer to either of the first two questions, or a "yes" answer to any three questions indicates that a man should have his testosterone level checked. Morley recommends a direct test known as "bioavailable testosterone," which he finds more reliable than tests for total testosterone or calculations of bioavailable testosterone from other tests.


Bortz agrees that testosterone has been used indiscriminately.


"Way too much testosterone has been given in the hopes it might work," he says. "But it's not the big deal -- the big deal is impotency. This has several components, and the main one is hydraulics. That is where Viagra enters wonderfully, and I cannot vaunt its benefit to mankind highly enough. I think it is one of the most important drugs to come along, and it is quite safe."

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