After a certain age we’re not supposed to enjoy sex. We don’t see much about “senior” sex in magazines or movies; we’re sedate, we’re grannies, we move slowly – sex isn’t made for us. Or so it seems.
Many of us are having sex. A 2011 study of 27,000 women found that 45 percent in their 60s and 28 percent in their 70s were sexually active. But that leaves 55 percent of of 60-something year-olds and a whopping 72 percent of 70-something year-olds who are celibate, whether we want to be or not. And that’s not healthy.
Here are five important reasons for women—and men, too—to remain sexually active. That might seem challenging if you’re not in a relationship, but it’s still important that you find a way to reintroduce sex into your life, even if that means going it alone.
- Vaginal health depends on sexual activity. The vagina changes after menopause, the loss of estrogen causes us to dry up, leading to vaginal atrophy and painful sex. Sexual activity helps keep delicate tissues moist and supple, helping the body to create more lubrication, which can reduce the risks of pain and tearing.
- Emotional connection thrives on sexual intimacy. The idea of coming together to give one another joy through touch and play gives us that sense of emotional well-being we need as humans. People with strong social interactions and emotional connections live longer lives.
- Cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility improve through the act of lovemaking. As with any exercise, getting the blood flowing and the heart pumping is good for circulation.
- Pain relief can be a side effect of sexual activity. That’s because having sex produces the hormone oxytocin, leading to an increase in endorphins. The flow of endorphins through our systems makes us feel better, emotionally and physically. People report a decrease in headaches and arthritis pain when their oxytocin levels are high.
- Humans are sexual beings. We have desires and needs that are fulfilled in many ways – one of them being through sexual expression. This may take different forms as we age, but our sexuality remains with us. Healthy, safe sex is an appropriate and vital part of our lives.
At 60, 70, even 85 years of age, seniors can enjoy an active sex life. The benefits far outweigh any possible negative effects. As long as you’re using protection, you can safely engage in sexual activity. With a partner or self-pleasuring, having sex can improve the quality of your life.
So, what’s stopping you?