Attitudes toward sex

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
There's a common misconception that sexual drives and capabilities decrease with age. Studies show that just the opposite is true. As men and women age, both can, and do stay sexually active even beyond the age of 80. Sexual activity among older adults may be less frequent and less intense than earlier in life, but sexual drive may increase with age. Studies have shown that the older man generally takes longer to achieve an erection, but gains increased control over ejaculation. Also, there's an extended period, between twelve and 24 hours, before sex is again possible. If an older man has trouble achieving an erection, it's usually due to a detectable physical or emotional cause. Emotional factors may include depression or fear of failure. Physical causes of impotence may include hardening of the arteries, heart and respiratory diseases, and the number one reason: medications. Men of all ages may experience a temporary period of impotency caused by excessive drinking, fatigue, worry, or boredom. Biologically, women experience little sexual impairment as they age. The gradual reduction in the body's level of estrogen during menopause causes some physical changes that affect sexual activity. Among these changes are a thinning of the vaginal wall and a decrease in lubrication. Many women feel that sex is more enjoyable after menopause since there is no risk of getting pregnant. For more information about seniors' attitudes toward sex, contact a health care professional.

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