Sex After 50 - American Sexual Health Association

Sex After 50

Sex after 50Growing older is a natural and exciting part of life. Just as people age so does the body. Being mindful of the natural changes your body goes through is an important part of learning how to promote your sexual health and the sexual health of your partner.

Natural changes in the body can mean different things for how to protect yourself. Understanding the changes your body is going through can help you have a healthy sex life as you age. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and may age differently:

Men

  • Delayed erection
  • Less semen
  • Shorter orgasm

Women

  • Less estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness, which may make intercourse uncomfortable or painful.
  • Can be less easily aroused, and may be less sensitive to touching and stroking, which can result in decreased interest in sex.

While women leave their reproductive years once they experience menopause, men’s reproductive years never end. Men continue to produce sperm (in lesser amounts) as they grow older. So men with younger partners who have not yet gone through menopause must still talk about pregnancy and contraception.

But what about after menopause (or after a vasectomy or sterilation procedure)? Once pregnancy is no longer a concern? Why should women and men still use condoms during sex even if they don’t need to worry about pregnancy? Because they are still able to get sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs). Your risk of contracting STDs/STIs is a possibility at any point in your life during which you are sexually active, and this risk does not go down with age.

Imagine this—Helen who is only 60 was married to Stan for more than 30 years when he died. About four years after Stan died, an old friend who Helen hadn’t heard from in more than 20 years contacted her. They were always fond of each other so when they both found themselves without a partner, they started dating. Months later, they started sleeping together. Before long Helen felt different, and she was worried. She went to her doctor who tested her and then told her she had HIV. It seems Stan’s last partner had HIV and hadn’t yet been diagnosed.

According to the CDC, people aged 50 and older accounted for:

  • 15% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses (People 50 years or older are getting HIV faster than people under 40 years)
  • 24% of persons living with HIV/AIDS (increased from 17% in 2001)
  • In addition, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea and syphilis among older people have nearly doubled from 1996 to 2003.

You can reduce your risk for HIV and other STDs/STIs:

  • Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to get an STD/STI.
  • Practice monogamy. This means having sex with only one person. That person must also have sex with only you to reduce your risk.
  • Make sure you and your partner get tested (before you start having sex).
  • Use a condom and lubricant every time you have sex.
  • If you think you may have been exposed to an STD/STI, get treatment.
  • Do not have sex when you are taking drugs or drinking alcohol because being high can make you more likely to take risks.

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