Growing older means facing some physical changes, such as; graying hair, some wrinkles, stubborn weight-gain, especially in the stomach area, and on the hips. Aging brings changes in sexuality, too.
Every person’s experience is different and to some extent, age is less of a predictor of changes in sexuality than health. Although they do say; with age, comes wisdom.
Regardless of how wise you are, the journey into middle and late adulthood, men and women alike, may worry that their partners will no longer find them attractive. Combine this heightened self-awareness with aging-related sexual problems (differences), and the outcome can be further stress and worry, resulting in getting in the way of enjoying a fulfilling sex life.
Dave Wells prefers to use the term; ‘differences’, to identify sexual changes in the maturing man, rather than the terms; ‘problems’ or ‘difficulties’.
For example; Erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation are typical examples of sexual changes that occur as a result of aging. These conditions are definitely seen as a concern if experienced in a person’s youth. They also can be of concern for the more mature man as well, however a mature sexually confident man, may use these changes to his advantage by focusing on the quality of the journey to reach climax for both/all partners. For many men, if the right sexual activities are introduced, and any other important factors are in place, an erection can be achieved. This in itself reflects quality. If all else fails, then there are always medications. It is important to remember that stimulation and arousal are still necessary for an erection to be gained on medications.
Dave Wells can support you through a process of determining whether a ‘sexual problem’ or ‘sexual difference’ is physical in nature (i.e. medications or cardiovascular conditions, etc), or psychological (anxiety, low self-esteem, etc). In most cases the barriers to a fulfilling sex life are psychological and longer the length of time between sexual experiences, the more confronting they can become.
Many people want, and need to be close to others as they grow older. For some, this includes the desire to continue an active, satisfying sex life. With aging, that may mean adapting sexual activity to accommodate physical, health, and other changes.
There are many different ways to have sex and be intimate—alone or with a partner. The expression of your sexuality could include many types of touch or stimulation. Some adults may choose not to engage in sexual activity, and that’s also normal.
Evidence suggests that if we keep ourselves healthy and engaged mentally, we would expect to see fewer changes. Men who are on medications for a chronic disorder like diabetes may experience a lessened sexual desire. Unfortunately, a decreased libido is a side effect of many medications. At the same time, men, no matter how healthy, should anticipate some changes.
As discussed earlier, many older men find that they have trouble achieving a full erection. And while younger men can be easily aroused simply by visual stimulation, older men often are not. It also may take the more mature men longer to have an orgasm.
Reduced levels of testosterone happen naturally as a man grows older, there is less glandular tissue in his prostate and a smaller ejaculation. A man also makes less testosterone. “Physiologically, men peak in their erection somewhere between 18 and 22 in terms of blood flow, libido and sensation, however most men don’t notice any change until they reach their 50s or 60s.”
The good news for men is that there are many prescription remedies available that can considerably assist with ED problems (See Erectile Dysfunction).
As men mature they often relate sexual difficulties to other health complaints or pain. This is also what media and society continually reminds us of. This can be true, however, a person’s sexuality is often a delicate balance of emotional and physical issues. How you feel may affect what you are able to do and what you want to do.
Many older couples find greater satisfaction in their sex lives than they did when they were younger. In many cases, they have fewer distractions, more time and privacy, no worries about getting pregnant, and greater intimacy with a lifelong partner. This can be a very different experience for the male who is maturing without a partner.
The maturing male can see their sex lives diminish due to lack of opportunities to meet, low self-esteem/confidence, low libido, etc. It is important to always remember that as we mature the definitions of a sexual encounter broaden, as does our understanding of ‘quality sex’ and what we require as individuals for us to be fulfilled. For example; as young people we often yearn for quantities of experience and as we mature in our sexual being, the importance of quantity often changes to wanting quality.
Older couples face the same daily stresses that affect people of any age. They may also have the added concerns of illness, retirement, and lifestyle changes, all of which may lead to sexual difficulties. An essential ingredient to good sex is to talk openly with your sexual partner, and try not to blame yourself or your partner if performance doesn’t go the way you have anticipated.
For many mature people, they weren’t raised at a time that people discussed sex openly. For many men this is made even more difficult as they may have been socialised that men take control and do not discuss emotions, especially if the outcome is that they may look weak. Another potentially debilitating factor is that the older we get, the less connection we have to others.
The societal options for the maturing person to meet potential partners can be extremely difficult. Having the enthusiasm to explore the outside world can also be greatly be hindered as we age. This can be difficult for all men, but especially same sex attracted men, due to age-phobia as well as having a greater limitation in environments to meet likeminded people. Regardless of who you find attractive, limitations on social opportunities, age-phobia and discrimination can all have a devastating effect on self-confidence and the willingness to put ourselves out there as sexual-beings, and the further we slide down this slippery slope of giving up on achieving sexual or intimate fulfillment, the more difficult it can be to find a place of comfort. The negative thoughts and experiences related to the onset of physical health issues, getting older, rejection, lack of connection and social opportunities often all take the forefront resulting in our sexual-self and intimate-self being lost, however it still exists, it is just buried to the point of out of sight, out of mind.
In reality, sexual confidence is all about the state of mind. Even if you have performance issues, you can still arouse your partner and take on a confident charisma as a great lover. The greater enjoyment that you bring to another, the greater your self-confidence and ability to relax.
If you experience any barriers that inhibit your sexual performance or sexual confidence, you may find it helpful to talk with Dave Wells, either alone or with your partner. If you sense changes in the attitudes of others toward sex, don’t assume they are no longer interested in you, or in an active sex life. Talk about it. Many of the things that cause sexual problems in older adults can be helped and it is also important that you don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life. He or she may be able to suggest a treatment.
Information adapted from: