Many people don't think of seniors as engaging in healthy, sexual relationships. The truth is that many seniors do find fulfilling sexual relationships, but they may not have the same healthcare and social support as those who are younger. As a result, misconceptions and misinformation may prevail.
Many men and women in their golden years do enjoy sexual relationships, but how can you be sure that your senior loved ones are being safe? Does it even matter? Understanding the medical risks to sexual relationships as seniors can help you protect your loved ones.
What Happens When Health Gets in the Way
Some health and emotional issues get in the way of sexuality in older adults. As you will see, maintaining sexual relationships poses some risks and may even be more difficult than you think. Arthritis and chronic pain are common ways in which health impacts sexuality. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes have similar impacts. Seniors who are at high risk for physical activity may face health risks if they do engage in sexual activity, and they may need to take extra precautions to maintain these relationships safely.
Emotional health issues, like depression and anxiety, also get in the way. For many men, issues like impotence become more common. Men may experience these issues as a result of anxiety, depression, low testosterone, or a similar issue. Dementia is another factor to consider. Many adults may desire a sexual relationship, but they may not be able to consent because of their state of mind. In situations like this, it is important for loved ones to look out for the seniors in their lives.
What Can a Doctor Do for Sexually Active Seniors?
Medical professionals may get involved to help seniors enjoy sex as safely as possible. They may recommend lubricants, moisturizers, or even estrogen. For men, they may recommend medications that prevent erectile dysfunction.
Doctors can also talk to seniors about sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. They may recommend condom use, which is not something many seniors consider. While seniors may not have to worry about pregnancy, they are still at high risk for sexually transmitted infections. These STIs have a lot of medical consequences that seniors may not be aware of, so protection is still important.
If you need an appointment to discuss any questions relating to your physical health, contact a medical health professional like Dr. Dahl in your area.