Monday, June 4, 2012

Sex After 50 in the ABQ Journal

We were pleased to see another article highlighting sex for people over 50 in this week's Albuquerque Journal.  Our culture is not too sex positive when it comes to aging, but that's one more reason Self Serve exists.  Here's to a life of much pleasure, at any age!


It’s just a myth that people in their 50s and 60s aren’t interested in sex 


Ask young people if they think their parents and grandparents still enjoy sex, and it may evoke a roll of the eyes and an exclamation of “gross!” 
That “ick” factor is partly the result of living in a youth-obsessed culture, and partly the result of the myth that people reaching their 50s and 60s are neither sexy nor interested in sex, says Molly Adler, a sexuality educator and co-owner of Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center in Albuquerque. 
The Nob Hill store (  ) sells sex toys, books, body products, videos and other adult fare in a fun, informative and guilt-free setting. 
It’s a fact that bodies do change as they get older, and some of these changes are physiological and have a direct impact on a person’s desire or ability to perform sexually as they did when younger, says Dr. Aaron Geswaldo, a urologist with Albuquerque Urology Associates. 
There is a correlation between good health and good sex. Simply put, says Geswaldo, eat healthy; maintain an ideal weight range; exercise to improve strength and cardiovascular circulation; get high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions controlled by medication if necessary; and stop smoking (besides the other health dangers associated with smoking, nicotine can constrict blood vessels and ultimately be a factor in erectile dysfunction, he says). 
There can also be a host of relationship problems that put the kibosh on sex for the 50-and-older crowd, says Kelly Chicas, a board-certified clinical sex therapist and counselor with Albuquerque Family Counseling (  ). 
Life transitions, such as retirement, often bring with it a loss of personal identity or the realization that the intervening years have made a couple strangers to one another, says Chicas, who specializes in couples and sexuality issues.     
“The kids have been raised and gone off, and now it’s just the two of them in the house, and if they have lost touch with each other over the years, they are unprepared for how empty the nest feels. They may look at their partner and think, who are you?”     
Despite the myths, she says, the over-50 crowd is also more open to experimentation and the use of sex toys, or “passion products,” as she prefers to call them.    
 *Put it into practice    Here are some observations and strategies for keeping the romance alive by getting aging bodies to cooperate with willing minds.     
Older couples may need to “redefine” what sex is to accommodate their changing bodies, says Adler. “They may de-emphasize vaginal intercourse, and try other pleasurable experiences involving the use of sex toys, erotic touch and massage.” 
*Aging baby boomers may experience divorce or the death of a spouse. Many of them are “getting back in the saddle again,” says Adler, and as a result, this demographic is experiencing more sexually transmitted diseases. Check out Self Serve for a course in safe sex, condom usage and making safe choices. 
*Sexual dysfunction is often a result of high blood pressure, diabetes and conditions that cause narrowing of arteries and vessels. Some medications to treat these conditions “may decrease blood flow to the penis itself or can cause side effects like loss of libido,” says Geswaldo. Consult your doctor. 
*Medications, such as antidepressants, as well as hormone changes that accompany menopause, can stifle a woman’s libido, affect blood flow and reduce vaginal secretions, says Chicas. Medications and lubricants can alleviate some of these problems. 
*Look at the “empty nest” as an opportunity to get to know your spouse again, Chicas says. The empty nest is also an opportunity to have sex anywhere, anytime. 
*As men age their testosterone levels decline, resulting in a type of male menopause marked by decreased libido and lack of energy and motivation. Testosterone replacement therapy may be a good option. 
*An enlarged prostate does not in itself affect sexual function, Geswaldo says, but the frequent urge to urinate caused by the condition can ruin the moment. Check with your doctor about medications to control the symptoms. 
*Viagra and similar medications are highly effective in the treatment of ED, but can have side effects such as light-headedness, runny nose, blurry vision and headaches. 
*Alternatives to Viagra-type medications may include the use of prescription dilator compounds selfinjected into the penis prior to sex, or by using an external vacuum pump to pull blood into the penis. 
*“There is no normal” when it comes to sex, Chicas says. “Normal is what’s normal for you and your partner. As long as you’re both happy with it, then that’s the norm.”  

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