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Ageing and Sexual Health

Lots of men come to me with a coyish look and ask ” Though I am 45 now still I thought there must be some years left to enjoy my sex life” !!

Too many misconceptions exist regarding the age till one should have sex. These beliefs get reinforced by the commonly found reduction in sexual desire with the passage of time in a couple. Does it mean that men tend to have a lesser desire as they age? The answer is "Yes, it tends to reduce with age" But it does not mean one can't or should not enjoy sex. One can enjoy until one has an interested partner, a mentally and physically fit body and positive attitude to sex. 

Actually , It is only the instant desire for your partner that goes down with time, the one present when you were in the ’20s. The reason could be habituation, a phenomenon of reduced response to pleasure and arousal with the same stimulus over and over again. People get more arousal with newer stimuli so chances of extramarital relationships increase.

It is very important to understand these changes because a large number of couples suffer in silence in the four walls of their bedroom, There are some changes in the body due to ageing- The nervous system becomes slower, motivation to have sex is reduced because many believe sex is for getting babies, many physical ailments appear like Diabetes, Hypertension etc., stresses increase , lesser time may be available for sex due to getting busy in life, some are very busy in jobs or business, drugs like tobacco or alcohol start to show their effect etcetera , all these may lead to  anxiety, frustration or negative self-esteem. NO WONDER Many couples coming to me describe their relationships like a brother and sister over the last few years.

Changes in desire– Frequency of sex is maximum in the initial 6 months to 2 years of marriage. It starts declining after that. Some of the decline is due to nitty and gritty of everyday life, plans to extend the family, financial burden and family burdens. Sex no longer occupy the privileged place in the list of everyday priorities, rather is pushed to the last chore to be done after everything else is finished. so people find that they no longer feel that passion for sex. You can’t have passionate feelings for something you don’t value. So the possible reason for a perceived reduction in sexual desire is due to misplaced priorities, not the real numbers.

In fact, a lot of people have increased desire due to a release phenomena. Many rate sex after age 40 as the best of their lives.
Sounds crazy!!!!!! But it is a fact. Getting rid of worries of settling kids, stable finance and no worries for pregnancy can make women enjoy sex of life after 50. There are factors other than ageing alone who can kill desire like stress, low testosterone, high prolactin or some medicines causing side effects.

Effects on Arousal – Arousal is the process of preparing for sexual intercourse

Men get erect penis and women have lubrication in the vagina. Ageing have some changes on the response. Men will take longer to get ready, the degree of hardness is lesser, it will need more direct stimulation as compared to 20’s when a fleeting thought would get the system ready to fire. Too many patients come to me for treatment so that they can perform like they used to do in the ’20s. Well, folks, it is impossible. It is useless to search for “that hardness” because you only need to enter, not drill inside. In fact, a delayed response can be a great advantage.

People get better and better in the art of lovemaking with experience and if they get time to utilise their expertise, the results are terrific. Another change is the persistence of hardness. It waxes and wanes a bit during the whole episode of intimate moments but you are able to complete without a fuss. So don’t panic at the sight of slightest loss of hardness. It is transitory most probably. You better focus on pleasure.

Effects on Ejaculation–  It is the process of ejecting semen from the urinary canal. It is associated with extreme pleasure (orgasm or climax) and contraction of pelvic muscles. With ageing, the volume of semen will be lesser, the force of expulsion of semen is reduced, the duration and degree of pleasure may be reduced but it can be compensated by your increased repertoire of ways to find pleasure.

Latency- Men are programmed by nature to experience one sex cycle at a time which consists of desire, arousal, ejaculation and resolution. The last stage is the process where all the extra blood pooled in genitalia goes back to the main blood circulation. They can have another erection only after complete recovery. Time taken to recover fully can vary a lot in person to person and in the same person from time to time. But this time increases steadily with age. It means you need more time to get ready for the next piece of the action. For some, it may be in days. It can be very frustrating if you keep on expecting the response you had many years back so if you adjust your expectations accordingly and don’t equate sex with intercourse, you will have a much better sexual life.

Orgasm– The duration of climax also reduces from 10-14 seconds to 3-5 seconds and intensity also a bit milder but you can improve your experience by varied foreplay.

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