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Sex After Sixty

Keeping the romance alive


Updated February 08, 2004

One of the myths of aging is that a satisfying and enjoyable sex life after 60 is not possible. As with most myths, this one too has been disproved. The truth is that many seniors are enjoying sex and sexuality more now than ever. Recent advances in medications, along with improved nutrition and healthcare are helping to keep sexual relationships strong.

I spoke with Gwen (not her real name) a younger senior who is single, having divorced a few years ago. She has a grown son and just lost her mother this past summer. We discussed sex after sixty and she spoke with me about a subject that is sometimes difficult to discuss.

While not presently involved in a relationship she said she would enjoy an intimate relationship with a man she loved. Her observation was that although sex was "nice" it was not the most important part of a relationship to her. She misses the closeness of a loving relationship with a partner, a simple hug, a kiss on the cheek, and the intimacy too. As she said "When one is young, love and lust have an urgency and sometimes feel like the most important part of a relationship. As you get older the sexual act becomes more comfortable, less urgent but in many ways more passionate. You don't worry about pregnancy, or such things you just enjoy the closeness with another human being".

She talked some about her parents. They were married over 57 years when her father died 5 years ago. She lost her mother this past summer. She is certain they had a good sex life in those 57 years. She said the worst part for her mother after her father's death was at night. Her mother had trouble sleeping after losing the partner who had shared her bed all those years. The nighttime hours were when they had always been closest and the loss of that closeness was the hardest to deal with.

Keeping Romance Alive

  • Eat a nutritious diet. The senior who eats well has more energy for any activity.
  • Stay active and agile with exercise. Keeping up with a fitness program will help to improve you flexibility and self-esteem. Sex will be enjoyable and can even be more adventurous if you are fit.
  • Enhance the mood if needed. Men with erectile dysfunction have many options open to treat this and should talk to their doctor. Surgical procedures, vacuum devises and medications are available. For women who suffer from vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse a quick trip to the drug store can solve that problem. A water-based lubricant is usually effective and is available over the counter.
  • If acheiving or maintaining an errection is a problem for the male partner in the relationship a visit to his doctor may be advisable. He can be checked for medical conditions that may cause erectile dysfunction. If there is a problem the doctor may prescribe a medication or treatment that can help.
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