Q I just started seeing a gentleman. We are both in our late 70s. Is itnormal to be concerned about sex at our age?
A It is normal to be concerned about sex in any new adult relationship. Some things, including the need for human touch, never change! However, some things do change in our sex lives
as we age. Those things are our bodies, and the changes include flexibility, circulation, energy,
hormones, and some more specific events relating to sexual performance. It’s a good idea to dispense with outdated notions of what sex should be, and approach sex, romance and love in this phase of your life with an open mind.
Sexuality later in life may mean something different for each of you. It may represent affection, closeness and commitment, or it might just be for fun. There is no right answer. Talk to your partner to make sure you are getting what you want from the relationship. You might want to take it slow. You should never feel pressured to have sex in a loving relationship, at any age.
Figure out what still feels good, and what doesn’t. Consider kissing, hugging, holding hands and cuddling. Even better, consider laughter and singing. Massage, anyone? Re-imagine “sexy” to be about joyfulness instead of nudity, or the beauty of an aging body. Try something new. Discuss concerns with your partner and work through them together to build and reinforce trust.
Another crucial thing to discuss is protection…not from pregnancy but from diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, do not discriminate based on age. If you or your gentleman friend have had multiple partners, get tested for STDs and use condoms.
You may call our office and request our brochure, “Sexuality in Later Life,” which we will discreetly send you. No need to be embarrassed. Sex is a normal part of a consenting adult relationship. Love and affection are good for you, at any age, and you deserve it.
“Senior Sex: Tips for Older Men,” available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/senior-sex/art-20046465
“Sexuality in Late Life,” available at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/sexuality-later-life.