Erection. Ageing In Men. Symptoms
Erection. Big events and milestones tend to reverberate through our lives, affecting our relationships and sense of ourselves. Whether we think we have coped with resilience or suffered appallingly as each stage passes, there is likely to be some kind of adjustment to personal well-being or image at each stage. This can be positive, negative or a bit of both. For instance, leaving home or having a baby can both be seen as a gratifying sign of maturity – albeit sometimes accompanied by a shocking sense of grown-up responsibility. It is completely normal for men to need more stimulation to get and maintain an erection as time passes.
Indeed, it is often a significant event, such as starting a family, which first creates awareness of time passing. Until then, ageing may have been thought of as something that happens in the future; obviously, though, it is happening all the time. Even if we didn’t know how old we were, there are times in our lives that we might consider to be especially significant.
Most problems associated with sex as we age are related to medical conditions or dissatisfaction with our bodies. There is considerable evidence that a satisfying sex life when you are younger doesn’t just disappear as you age.
There is also a ‘use it or lose it’ aspect, which suggests that regular sex prevents sexual problems from occurring, though this may be because you notice them earlier if your sexual behavior is frequent. Nevertheless, there are indications that regular intercourse in women may prevent or delay vaginal atrophy, a condition in which penetration can become difficult due to thinning of the vaginal walls and dryness. There may also be associated urinary problems, including a frequent need to wee and infection. In men, continued regular sex may make erectile dysfunction less likely to occur, with regular ejaculation thought to possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Older couples often report spending several hours making love, stopping and starting and making an occasion of it. Indeed, it is perfectly possible to have more time and energy for lovemaking once you have retired than you did in your youth. Unfortunately, outdated attitudes to older and disabled people having sex make some couples feel they shouldn’t. Often, it is the couples themselves who judge what is okay. Couples who have lived together for a long time may end up thinking the same way and sharing the same unhelpful ideas. Because they don’t challenge one another, they assume this is the only way to think and the way everyone thinks.
Yet there are many benefits to health and well-being in continuing sexual activity for as long as possible. Sex improves the supply of oxygen to the brain and may promote the growth of new brain cells, so being sexually active throughout your older age may help to keep dementia at bay. What’s more, anti-ageing hormones are released after sex; sex also promotes skin renewal and prevents myriad diseases including osteoporosis. More on the health benefits of sex is explained here.
Men and women are thought to reach their sexual peak at different ages – men in their late teens and women in their thirties. After this, some changes in sexual response begin to occur, though they may be extremely subtle and difficult to notice. Men may notice their hair thinning and some weight gain, sometimes involving the development of ‘man boobs’, and this can lead to lack of confidence and sexual avoidance in some men. Coupled with some loss of energy and family or work stress, it is easy to see how likely it can be to let your sexual relationship slip in middle age. However, this is far from inevitable and can be dealt with by watching your diet, taking exercise and making a conscious effort to maintain intimacy and make time for your relationship. Try not to assume that sexual decline is a natural consequence of ageing, as it certainly needn’t be.
Any loss of erectile firmness may be seen as a problem, though often it is very minor. This may be why half of the men over 50 questioned in surveys say they have erectile problems. However, it is completely normal for men to need more stimulation to get and maintain an erection as time passes. By middle age, it is also normal for erections to come and go during lovemaking, especially when a man is paying attention to his partner, with no direct stimulation for himself.
Your partner may be upset by this, assuming you do not find them attractive. However, where just thinking about sex would produce a rock-hard erection in your teens, more targeted stimulation needs to be sustained to produce a hard erection when you are older.
Indeed, erections are unlikely to ever be as hard as they were in your youth – but you don’t actually need a very hard erection for vaginal penetration. A firmer penis is usually necessary for anal sex. However, a very soft erection is unlikely to be a problem unless penetration is attempted too soon.
It helps if partners are willing to offer more stimulation to keep the erection firm, but there is no reason to feel embarrassed about stimulating yourself. This may be more efficient and simpler, but may need to be explained to your partner beforehand if this is a new practice. It is probably worth getting into this habit before it is really necessary, so that any such changes have less impact as you get older.
Longer to climax
In addition, you may find that it takes longer to climax, that the ejaculation is less forceful and that the quantity of semen produced gradually diminishes. It may also become harder to recognize the point of inevitability, when ejaculation is imminent. After climaxing, the time until an erection is possible again (the refractory period) may lengthen. Sometimes it can be a day or two before penetration is possible again. This can make intercourse even more special and precious, especially if you have more time to indulge in lovemaking.
An enlarged prostate affects more than half of men aged over 60 (see here). Because it presses on the urethra, the prostate can cause problems such as frequent trips to the loo at night, difficulty getting started when you wee and a poor stream, so that it may be hard to empty the bladder. Hygiene and confidence issues may make you avoid sex, but this is a condition which benefits from early advice and intervention. Often, little treatment is required other than changes to diet – for instance, avoiding anything which irritates or stimulates the bladder, such as caffeine, citrus and tomatoes – but there is no point in delaying medical advice and monitoring.
Testosterone levels normally decline gradually in men but sometimes a more rapid drop occurs which results in symptoms including tiredness, loss of libido and erectile difficulties. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should always consult your GP, as it is a simple matter to check your testosterone level and prescribe replacement therapy if it is low. Losing weight, and treating other underlying conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, can also help improve testosterone levels.
The Relate Guide To Sex And Intimacy
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A Four-Inch-Long Penis Is More Than Adequate