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 Woman continued...
Bortz says women over 60 should reject the idea that their sex lives must end if their husbands pass away.
"If you don't have a guy, go get one -- don't be embarrassed, or shy, or conform to the idea it is over for you," he says. There is this reigning paradigm that once your man has died it is all over for you. It is a nostalgic, romantic image. But physical touching and romance should be with us until the last twinkle."
One of the disincentives for women is painful intercourse due to thinning of vaginal tissues as estrogen levels decline. Hormone replacement therapy used to be used for this purpose. But with more research linking combination estrogen and progestin therapy to heart disease and breast cancer, hormones are now only recommended for the relief of hot flashes.
Both Morley and Blank recommend the use of lubricants for older women. If condoms or sex toys are used, these lubricants should be water-based and not oil-based.
Finally, Bortz suggests that woman can actively increase their sex drive -- what psychologists call libido. "There are three or four stages in the sex act," he says. "But first comes desire, which is hormonal. Lots of women have flagging desire, and testosterone works for both women and men in this regard."
Steps to Better Sex for the Older Man
For men as well as for women, sexuality begins with desire.
"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.