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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...


Morley notes that Viagra cannot work properly if low testosterone levels are not corrected.


"A hypogonadal male getting Viagra has a soft erection," he says. "You add testosterone and that erection goes up again like he is 20."


Viagra, however, does have side effects such as flushing and headaches. And Morley warns of another possible side effect: color blindness. "When a guy is on Viagra he has to be very careful going through street lights," he warns.


Morley notes that sexual function in men also can be caused by psychological problems such as depression and by a wide variety of diseases. Not the least of these is heart disease, and difficulty in attaining an erection could be an early symptom.


"If you see someone with impotence, the first thing you do is fix all the cardiovascular problems -- it is a very important thing to pick up early," he says.


One of these problems with blood flow has a common cause: cigarette smoking.


"The number one drug that causes impotence is tobacco," Morley says. "People who smoke have a smaller blood flow. If you give me [a drug injection] to stimulate an erection and then give them just two cigarettes, the erection will go down. I never had any success in getting my patients to quit smoking until I told them about this."


And sensation, or lack of it, also plays a role.


"How does one keep one's nerves taut and tingly? The phrase 'use it or lose it' comes easily to mind," Bortz says. "There is this phenomenon known as widowers' syndrome, where a man can't get an erection with a new sex partner -- until he practices. That is where Viagra could be used as an operational crutch. The answer to not enough erections is erections. This leads to the idea that there may be a recommended daily allotment for erections."


It may seem obvious, but Bortz stresses the importance of good relationships to healthy sexuality. He sums up his advice for a healthy sex life in three points:

  • Stay healthy.
  • Avoid medications that reduce sexual function.
  • Find and keep a good mate.

Good Sex Is Safe Sex

Sometimes seniors who rediscover their sexuality forget an important rule: Good sex is safe sex.

Safe sex means being responsible for your own health,and the health of your partner. There are a lot of bad bugs out there. And unlike the old days, not all of them can be cured with a simple shot of penicillin. In fact, some can't be cured at all.

Here are a few simple rules:

  • Condoms aren't just for contraception any more. If you're sleeping with a new partner, use condoms for each sex act. This includes oral sex. It also includes the use of shared sex toys.
  • Consider alternatives to intercourse until you and your partner each receive a clean bill of health.
  • Remember that a negative HIV test doesn't mean you aren't infected. That takes two tests six months apart.

Ask your doctor about other ways to make your sex life safer.

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