CH-CH-CH-CHANGES
F. B. from Las Cruces, New Mexico:
I'm 73 and a fairly good-looking, fit man for my age and a widower. So many of the films and television shows that I
see seem to make it sound like people over 60 are over the hill. I don't feel that way. I still have sexual feelings,
sometimes very intense one. Thus far, I've mostly pleasured myself, not really knowing how to get back into the
swing of things, but recently on a vacation to California, I went dancing with several long-time friends, and one of
them ended up in bed. Let's just say that things went well, and I want more. My question: What does your research
show about old guys like me who still want to kick up their heels?

Jeoffrey and Renée:
You are not alone, not by a long shot! The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported on a wide-ranging
study on the relevance of health and  sexuality among men and women between the age of 57 and 85. It examined
sexual behaviors, problems, and  attitudes.

Are you ready for the good news?

After researching 3,005 participants, the survey found that a surprisingly large number of men and women
continue to be sexually active (intercourse, oral sex, self- and mutual-pleasuring) well into their eighties and
beyond.

And here is the really good news: The frequency of sexual activity among the 57-85 year olds who participated in
the study was surprisingly similar to that of 18-to-59-year-olds (based upon a National Health and Social Life
Survey).

Even among the oldest respondents (ages 75-85), an average of 54 percent of sexually active men and women
reported having sex at least two to three times per month. Nearly one fourth of the same age group reported
enjoying sex at least once a week or more. Over half of all the respondents engaged in some form of oral sex and
self- or mutual-pleasuring during the previous twelve months.

For starters, this is great news for anyone over 50 (and those who eventually will be)!

The research is one of many studies showing that older adults are interested and active in sexual fulfilment,
regardless of age. Yes, sexual activity and drive does decline with age, but it is for different reasons than merely
advancing age. Less  frequency with sex is more accurately attributed to not having an intimate partner or more
likely because of  problems with physical health.

One caution, with increased sexual activity and openness about intimacy among seniors, there is added risk from
sexually-transmitted diseases. Practice safe sex (
see questions about condoms). Call us old fashioned if you want,
but the safest (and ultimately the most pleasurable) sex is in a monogamous relationship based on trust and
intimacy.


CHANGES, DIFFERENCES
M.M. from Ft. Collins, Colorado:
I've read your
Seasoned Romance book and have gone to your Seasoned Romance page on MyBestYears.com, so I
know that bodies change. Obviously sex changes, too. Thanks to what you've written, these changes aren't
coming as a big surprise. I've crossed the line of the big 6-O. I'm okay, so far. What else do I need to expect?

Jeoffrey and Renée:
You're realistic and seem to be seeking knowledge. That's the big step. You already know that as people age and
their bodies change. It's important to understand that for most men:

  • Sex drive and urgency to have intercourse sometimes decreases.
  • As males get older, it is not unusual to take more time and stimulation to get an erection.
  • As with getting erection, it may take more stimulation and time to reach an orgasm.
    Premature ejaculations, often the bane of a younger male, are often less likely and
    intercourse often becomes more prolonged.
  • Erections are not usually as hard as with younger men.
  • Erections may go up and down more before having an orgasm (rest easy - it's seldom a
    problem once you slide inside the vagina, but can be troubling if you don't realize that
    turgid erections are not absolutely necessary for a very satisfying ejaculation).
  • Orgasms don't always involve ejaculations as much as in the past. Why? The prostate often
    loses elasticity and usually produces less semen. (Again, it's important to understand that
    ejaculations/semen bursts are not necessary for very pleasurable climaxes).
  • Because of normal prostate changes as you age, when you do ejaculate, your volume and
    forcefulness may be reduced somewhat. (This is often a welcome change for many women
    who enjoy fellatio [giving head], yet have a gag reflex with a larger amount and harder
    force of ejaculate that often occurs with younger men).
  • The refractory period (time it takes to have another erection after orgasm) usually
    increases with age, and may take up to 24 hours or more for most men after 50 (although
    there are notable exceptions, including a recent 80 year old reader who said he sometimes
    had as many as three or even four ejaculations during  weekend dates with his young 62
    year old girlfriend). Thankfully, it's not a contest. Seriously, guys!

Both sexes undergo definite changes in their sexual responses as they age (
click here for more about aging and
women), our mail and email volume reflects most current research which shows that a growing percentage of men
and women continue to desire and experience sexual activity. More to the point, most find both self-pleasuring
and intercourse very fulfilling into their 70s, 80s and beyond!


WHAT'S THE POINT?
K.K. from Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
I've visited firepointe.com several times, and I wish I could share the enthusiasm that others have. Both my wife
and I are 71, both retired, and frankly the fire, if it hasn't gone out completely, is quickly becoming a dying ember.
Sometimes it seems like the good times are gone for good. Often I ask myself, what's the point of trying when
things aren't like they used to be?

    Jeoffrey and Renée:
    Yes, as they get older, both men and men face changes in all areas of life.
    Sexual drive often decreases gradually with age.

    You face lots of factors that will affect your libido—stress, physical problems,
    fatigue, side effects from medicines, differences or lack of desire in your
    partner—but intimacy really can get better with age.

    There can be lots of bonuses. As you get older, you have to worry less about
    time constraints. Depending upon your living situation, you can enjoy all of the
    planning, foreplay and afterplay you want.

    You don’t have to lock bedroom doors. You no longer have to
    wear clothing if you don’t desire. You can make love in the
    bedroom by candlelight, or you can lay on a blanket beside the
    fireplace. You can do it when you want—morning, noon, or
    night. You get to relax in each other’s arms and see where it
    takes you, and not get upset or stressed no matter what
    happens.

How long has it been since both of you had complete physical examinations? That would be a good place to start.
Try to find a physician who is sensitive to the issues of aging, and be open with him or her. Say what you've just
written as a starter. Admit what works and doesn't work, what feels good and what doesn't.

You may discover, in time, that the answers are more simple and available than you can imagine. Regardless, you
owe it to yourself to begin the quest toward a life that is fulfilling and rewarding, regardless of your age.

As ironic as it may seem right now, we encourage you to embrace the normal aging processes, and find out for
yourself why so many older men and women insist that romance and intimacy can be better than ever!
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