A member of the Russian ski patrol was asked on TV what he did first on his arrival home from work. He replied, “I make love to my wife”. “I understand, as you’ve been away a long time”, said the interviewer. “But what do you do next?” “Oh, I make love again” he replied. Frustrated, the interviewer said, “But what do you do next?” “Oh, I take off my skis!”
The elderly can only dream of this scenario. As one wise sage remarked, “in every older person there is a young person wondering what the hell happened!” But there’s evidence that more seniors have learned to do the “horizontal mambo.”
Senior sex comes as a surprise to younger people. One University survey revealed that 80 percent of students thought their parents didn’t have any “amour”. Wow, what child denial! They believe their parents just pulled up the covers and went to sleep!
Sexual activity does slow down with aging. No doubt it’s less acrobatic. But, obviously, it can still be rewarding.
The fact that a recent study showed that seniors don’t rely on heating pads to warm the bed, nevertheless has consequences. It’s resulted in an increase in sexually transmitted disease (STD). According to the Centers for Disease Control, syphilis has recently increased 52 percent and chlamydia 32 percent in the U.S. British studies show the same trend. In Canada, the rates for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea have been increasing over the last 20 years.
It’s not surprising that there’s action in the senior bedroom. Today, 50 percent of the people over age 50 are either widowed, divorced or in need of tender-loving-care.
So how many people have sex in their later years? In one study, 66 percent of men and 40 percent of women over 65 stated they had sex during the year. But for those in their 80s, sex had decreased to 40 percent for men and 17 percent for women.
So why is sexually transmitted disease increasing? Years ago, when the male testosterone level diminished, erectile dysfunction drugs were not available. Drugs for men now make sex possible into senior years.
And in the past, women of advancing age also often shied away from sex due to pain. A lack of the female hormone, estrogen, caused thinning of the vaginal wall and in extreme cases narrowing of the vagina. I recall female patients who said “no” to sex for 15 years before being prescribed estrogen cream. What a tragedy when treatment can cure this condition in a few weeks.
Some seniors have also forgotten the golden rule to prevent STD. Choosing not to “suit-up” with a condom has always been a dangerous game at any age. Besides, with age, the body’s immune system weakens making it easier to contact a sexual disease.
So what can seniors do to prevent STD? Caveat empor, the old rule, still applies. Let the buyer beware. Condoms remain the best barrier to STD.
Seniors should also remember that sexually transmitted diseases can be present with little or no symptoms. Consequently, those about to engage in sex should see a doctor to make sure they are not carrying a silent STD.
Sex for seniors has proven to be a healthy pastime. For one thing, the horizontal mambo is good exercise. Sex once a week burns up 2,500 calories in a year. This is the equivalent of jogging 25 miles. Given this choice what senior would want to jog?
Sexual activity also releases endorphins, the body’s own morphine, which helps to relieve the pain of arthritis. And in our stressful society, rather than anti-depressants, sex relieves tension and encourages sleep.
So one can argue, there are worse deaths than being shot by a jealous lover at 95. Moreover, if you’re looking for a retirement home where sex is available, see my web site, www.docgiff.com. Danish authorities believe that sex is an integral part of life. This means that at Thorupgaarden, a retirement home, sex is just a telephone call away!