Seniors and Sex: No Longer Taboo

Sex is a normal part of life and as we age there is no reason not to have a healthy sex life. I spoke with Dr. John Morley recently regarding this topic.

No matter our age there are certain topics that even the bravest of us hesitate to ask our doctors. Whether it’s our upbringing or our belief in the old stereotypes many from our generation still refuse to talk about sex. Although this may be ok in polite company when it comes to your healthcare you should not hold back. Changes in your sexual activity and or your ability to have intercourse may be signs of serious health concerns.

According to Dr. John Morley, Director of Geriatric Medicine at Saint Louis University, sex is a natural part of life and if you are not having sex due to a low sex drive this should not be ignored, as it could be an indicator of a decrease in testosterone in men. Although a decrease in testosterone is expected as we age a marked decrease can be an indicator for certain cancers and/or thyroid conditions.

Having a healthy sex life has greater health benefits as well. Sex is a great stress reducer, it boosts your immunity, decreases pain and promotes sleep. The emotional and psychological benefits of a good sex life are also well documented and can strengthen your relationship.

 On the flip side of this topic is the serious epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in our aging population. According to the CDC nearly one-fourth of all HIV cases in the United States are people age 50 and older. This is in part due to a lack of education geared towards our generation about safe sex. Yes I’m sure you all know what safe sex is but we fall into a group that believes it does not apply to us. If you are in a monogamous relationship then you are right. However, if you are like many baby boomers who find themselves back out in the dating pool it is important that you talk to your sexual partner(s), that you use condoms and that you and your partner are tested for STD’s.

So put aside the old stereotypes of aging couples sitting in their rockers watching the sunset on their love lives. You have permission from the medical community to continue enjoying your sex life just do it safely! Doctor’s orders!

We may grow older every year but age is only a number. Let’s live fully, laugh a-lot, and continually learn so that together we can age with grace.

Ann Byrum Ritter, RN




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