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Sexuality and Physical Changes With Aging


Topic Overview

Sex and sexuality communicate a great deal: affection, love, esteem, warmth, sharing, and bonding. These gifts are as much the right of older adults as they are of those who are much younger.

Three aspects of sexuality are covered in this topic: the changes that come with aging, suggestions on how to adjust to these changes, and information about sexually transmitted infections.

In most healthy adults, pleasure and interest in sex do not diminish with age. Age alone is no reason to change the sexual practices that you have enjoyed throughout your life. But you may have to make a few minor adjustments to accommodate any physical limitations you may have or the effects of certain illnesses or medicines.

Common Physical Changes in Men

Most physical changes are the result of gradually decreasing testosterone levels. These changes affect energy, strength, muscle and fat mass, bone density, and sexual function.

  • A man's sexual response begins to slow down after age 50. But a man's sexual drive is more likely to be affected by his health and his attitude about sex and intimacy than by his age.
  • It may take longer for a man to get an erection, and more time needs to pass between erections.
  • Erections will be less firm. But a man who has good blood flow to his penis will be able to have erections that are firm enough for sexual intercourse throughout his entire life. For more information, see the topic Erection Problems.
  • Older men are able to delay ejaculation for a longer time.
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