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:
"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
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.