IS SEX TABOO WHEN YOURE OLDER?

Q:
As an older woman, on the wrong side of 60 and in fact nearing 65, I have to say Im having the greatest sex of my life. In fact Im not writing for advice on my sex life per se, but really to ask why more people dont have an active sex life well into their mature years. Isnt it good for us? In my circle of friends, many of whom are single, but many of whom arent, I seem to be the only one who is actively sexual. We have discussions about our relationships and almost all my friends tell me they gave up having sex regularly years ago. I thought times had changed and we were past the taboo of older people having sex. I dont feel its wrong to feel your sexiest at 60, but why am I the only one?
A:

First of all, it's never wrong to feel your sexiest, at any age! And if you can feel increasingly sexy as you get older, then that's all the better! Secondly, you're absolutely right that sex is good for us. Sex is a great overall well-being tonic. It decreases physical stress in the body, as well as decreases emotional stress. It can alleviate mild feelings of 'the blues' (sex will not cure any kind of depression - see your doctor if you feel depressed), and sex is healthy for us as we age: we know that sexually active people feel younger, happier, more connected to their partner and in fact suffer fewer heart attacks and strokes. Sex generally makes people feel good about themselves and their partner and increases a sense of well-being and a sense of youthfulness. Sexual activity is definitely good for your body, mind and soul.

Most people know this, too. And they're engaging in sexual activity because they like it, and they know it's good for them. So either you're in a group of friends who aren't open about talking about their true sex lives, or your friends are the exception to the general public, because research reveals that actually the majority of older adults (older, defined as men and women between the ages of 57 and 85) are indeed highly sexual, and regularly so.

American research found that nearly 70% of men and 40% of women have engaged in some form of sexual activity with a partner in the last year. And in fact, even past the age of 75, let alone the flirty fifties and sexy sixties, men and women continue to stay busy in the bedroom, with nearly 40% of men and just under 20% of women reporting sexual activity. And no, not just occasional indulgences in the ol' slap and tickle, but a healthy, regular sex life. Of those who report sexual activity, more than half state they engage in it at least twice a month. And a quarter of them do it every week ... or more!

As to be expected, intercourse is the activity of choice, but lack of variety is not a problem. Oral sex rates high on the list of desired and practiced activities, with more than 25% of men and a third of women saying they either gave or received it in the last year. So the research agrees with you: the taboo of sex and older people has gone, or is disappearing. Maybe others are just not as open and proud about that as you are!

It's not all hearts and roses in the love lives of older generations though. Desire can be limited by health problems, which can increase with time, side effects of medications, which also can get worse over time, and a lack of steady partners. The most common reason given for a lack of a regular sex life is men's general physical health. So if you want to keep your sex life firing throughout your life, not just in your 60s but even 80s and 90s, take care of your general health! One in seven men will take a medicine or supplement to boost or fix their sexual function, but the real solution is to take good care of yourself prior to reaching the age of 40, and past that age, to do your best to be in the greatest shape you can. An active life means an active sex life - throughout your life.

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