Anti aging guide

Intimacy in later life for older people



Why many elderly people the frequency of intimate activity is reduced and how to enjoy their intimate relationships?

Intimacy is a lifelong feature of our lives, but with increasing age the intimate responses wane and usually in the 60s and 70s the frequency of intimate activity is much reduced. However the notion of older people having less intimacy  is a myth: the elderly still have intimate dreams, fantasies, and hopes. Of course human intimacy is much more than just an affair of the genitals, of intercourse, and procreation. Every one has an innate desire to love and be loved; but to give expression to these feelings requires an appropriate partner, and emotional deprivation occurs in many older people living alone, especially widows.

At the menopause, menstruation, ovulation, and reproduction cease but intimate expression need not be affected and indeed some women report an increase in libido at this time. Men do not have this abrupt loss of fertility because manufacture of sperm continues. Vasocongestive responses of the erectile tissues of the genitalia in both genders are less intense and the speed of arousal is slower, more noticeably so in men. Men need active stimulation to become erect, the erection takes longer to develop, is less turgid than formerly, and may reach full tumescence only at ejaculation. The male orgasm may be delayed, the volume of ejaculate is reduced, and the recovery time before further coitus is possible is prolonged for hours or even until another day. In women, nipple erection remains satisfactory but vaginal lubrication is delayed and reduced. Orgasmic contractions are reduced in strength and number and resolution is quicker.

To use a mountaineering metaphor, gender in late life, like all aspects of human endeavor, is more to do with the pleasure of pottering around in the foothills than racing for ever higher peaks of achievement. In this more leisurely context erectile failure should not necessarily mean the end of intimate activity. Nevertheless any serious intimate problem, male or female, should be discussed with your family doctor because there may be a simple means of help ‘available. Alternative strategies can also be developed to enable intimate satisfaction for both partners if that is what they wish.

Regularity of expression and good health are the keys to lasting intimate responsiveness in both genders and the authors advocate continued use of the marital double bed. With an active and willing partner, many elderly people continue to enjoy their intimate relationships. Sadly by the age of 80, women outnumber men by two to one and this poses insuperable problems in a rigidly monogamous society. A lengthening of male life expectancy could do wonders for the contentment of elderly women. Alternatively, farsighted young women might chose to marry men younger than themselves—the opposite of current practice.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - April 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm