Nothing is further from the truth. Sex at midlife and beyond is a subject mired in confusion and misinformation. Here are some common myths, and the straight story about sex after There is no age limit on sexuality, but for people age 50 and over, sexual satisfaction depends more on the overall quality of the relationship than it does for younger couples.
A National Council on Aging survey reports that among people age 60 and over who have regular intercourse, 74 percent of the men and 70 percent of the women find their sex lives more satisfying than when they were in their forties. And this recent study shows that having sex at least once a week can help you live longer.
Aging itself is not a cause of erectile dysfunction. However, diminishing hormone levels do precipitate some changes. A man may need more physical stimulation to become aroused, and his erection may not be quite as firm as when he was younger—but sex is no less pleasurable.
While a year-old man might be able to get a second erection as quickly as fifteen minutes after an ejaculation, a year-old man might need several hours. Physical factors can play an even larger role. Low estrogen levels can result in vaginal dryness, causing discomfort during sex. And in some women, lower testosterone levels can mean a lack of energy and a weaker sex drive.
Other women find their interest in sex increases after menopause, due, in part, to a shift in the ratio of testosterone to estrogen and progesterone. Many women find increased sexual pleasure after menopause, including more frequent or more intense orgasms.
Masturbation can increase sexual pleasure, both with and without a partner. For women, it helps keep vaginal tissues moist and elastic and boosts hormone levels, which fuels sex drive. For men, it helps maintain erectile response. Actually, physical causes—such as circulation problems, prostate disorders, and side effects associated with prescription medications—account for 85 percent of erectile difficulties. Once a woman is past menopause and no longer concerned about pregnancy, many couples find it easier to relax and look forward to lovemaking.
Just as important, sex may be more emotionally fulfilling because now it is driven less by hormones and more by the desire to share yourself with someone who loves you. Sex after age 65 may take place less often, but many find it becomes more gratifying than ever.