Page 17 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - February 2016 - 23-02
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Senior Times - February 2016 Making As You Age
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majority of these issues do not have to be permanent. You can restart
a stalled sex drive – and get your sex life back in motion. Remember that maintaining a sex life into your senior years is a matter of good health. Try thinking of sex as some- thing that can keep you in shape, both physically and mentally.
• Understand roadblocks. The path to satisfying sex as you age is not always smooth. Understanding the problems can be an effective first step to find- ing solutions.
• Emotional obstacles. Stress, anxiety, and depression can affect your interest in sex and your ability to become aroused. Psychological changes may even interfere with your ability to con- nect emotionally with your part- ner.
• Body image. As you notice more wrinkles or gray hair, or become aware of love handles or cellulite, you may feel less attractive to your partner. These feelings can make sex less appealing, and can cause you to become less inter- ested in sex.
• Low self-esteem. Changes at work, retirement, or other major life changes may leave you feel- ing temporarily uncertain about your sense of purpose. This can undermine your self-esteem and make you feel less attractive to others.
• Worry over “performance.” Worrying about how you will perform, or whether you are wor- thy of sexual attention from your partner, can lead to impotence
in men and lack of arousal or orgasm in women. This may be a problem you have never before had to face.
Sex drives can be naturally stalled as you face the realities of aging, but it is possible to over- come these bumps in the road.
• Communicate. Talk to your part- ner, or to a friend or counselor, about your issues, whether they’re physical or emotional. Explain the anxieties you are feeling,
ask for and accept reassurance, and continue the conversation as things come up.
• Just “do it.” Sex is just as healthy and necessary as exercise and, just like exercise, it may surprise you with pleasure and satisfaction – even if you weren’t “in the mood.” So get back into practice. Once you’re back in the habit, you’ll start to feel better and your sex drive should natu- rally increase.
• Increase your activity level. Bumping up your general level of activity will benefit your sex drive by increasing your energy and sense of well-being.
• Let it go. As much as you can, use your age and experience to be wise and candid with yourself.
Let go of your feelings of inad- equacy and let yourself enjoy sex as you age.
Tip: Know When To Seek Help
No matter what your age, losing your desire for intimacy and touch altogether isn’t normal. In fact, loss of interest or function may be signs of a medical problem – one that may be best addressed by a doctor. If something is getting in the way of your desire or ability to have a good sex life, don't let embarrassment keep you from asking your doctor for help. Working with a profes- sional, there is much you can do to improve your sex life.
Keep in mind that anything that affects your general health and well-being can also affect your sexual function. Seek medical attention for all ailments for your physical and sexual wellbeing.
Sexual health can be affected by: • Medical conditions. Illnesses
that involve the cardiovascular system, high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal problems, depression, or anxiety can affect sex drive and function. You can talk to your doctor about strate- gies to combat these issues.
• Medications. Certain medica- tions can inhibit your sexual response, including your desire for sex, your ability to become aroused and your orgasmic func- tion. You can talk to your doctor about switching to a different medication with fewer sexual side effects.
Safe sex after a heart attack is possible. Many older adults with heart disease – or who’ve suffered a past heart attack – are less sexually active than they used to be or even stop having sex completely, often fearing that sex may trigger another heart attack. However, for most people it is still possible to enjoy an active sex life with heart disease.
According to a recent study, for every 10,000 people who have sex once a week, only two or three will experience another heart attack, and their risk of dying during sex is extremely low.
Resuming to activities of daily living can sometimes seem to take a while. It will help to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program to improve your fitness.
If you can exercise hard enough to work up a light sweat without triggering symptoms, you should be safe to have sex.
Your physician will most likely suggest that you wait to have sex
if you have advanced heart failure, severe valve disease, uncontrolled arrhythmia, unstable angina, unsta- ble or severe heart disease. Once your condition is under control, ask your doctor when it’s safe to resume sexual activity.
Source: Harvard Medical School
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