Stephanie A. Sanders, a director of research group The Kinsey Institute, has been quoted as saying, "There is no age limit on sexuality and sexual activity."
Some people - caregivers included - might feel uncomfortable with the idea of sex and senior citizens, and seniors themselves may not be used to talking about or verbalizing related issues, but it is still an important part of life, no matter the age. The need for intimacy doesn't end with retirement, and the lack of intimacy can exacerbate loneliness. It can be an embarrassing topic.
The relationship of a senior to sex can be a difficult one - the loss of a long time partner or illness can change things forever. However, professionals say it's important not to think this part of life has gone. Maintaining a positive attitude towards sex matters.
According to HELPGUIDE, a resource on mental health, the benefits of sex for the elderly include :
"Improve mental and physical health. Sex can burn fat, cause the brain to release endorphins, and drastically reduce anxiety.
Increase lifespan. Through its health-improving benefits, a good sex life can add years to your life.
Solidify relationships. Sex is a chance to express the closeness of your deepest relationship.
Give refuge. Sex gives you a chance to escape from the sometimes harsh realities of the world."
Some of the issues that can arrive for older partners can come as a result of illness, stress, anxiety or physical problems can lead to a lack of interest in sex or performance anxiety; low self esteem or even body image can have a negative impact on intimacy.
Encouraging seniors to talk to their partners, and also to know when to seek professional help or medical attention. Medication might be necessary, or a doctor may have other helpful advice. Certain medical conditions (a heart attack, for example...) may have other considerations that should be evaluated.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD said to MedicineNet last year : "Age related problems that may affect sex may include vaginal changes, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, incontinence, stroke, depression, hysterectomy, mastectomy, prostatectomy, alcohol consumption, and several types of medications commonly used to treat seniors (blood pressure, antidepressants, diabetic medications and others)."
Dr Walter M. Bortz of Stanford Medical School is past president of the American Geriatrics Society. He says, ""If you stay interested, stay healthy, stay off medications, and have a good mate, then you can have good sex all the way to the end of life."
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Tracy Lamourie is the President and Creative Director of Lamourie Public Relations & Marketing. In that world, she represents clients as diverse as politicians, entertainment figures, newsmakers, ethical businesses and not for profit groups whose aims she supports. Tracy also has a lot of media experience - radio, TV, newspapers and new media. She’s worked at various times as a television host, television producer, and radio host. She’s also a human rights and social justice activist with a long history of work on various international and local issues Tracy and her work on various social justice issues have also been featured on television broadcasts as varied as CBC’s The Fifth Estate, Court TV, A & E, CTV across North America.