Sexuality: It’s Not Just About Viagra
With the FDA approval in 1998 of the drug Viagra, sexuality among seniors suddenly came out of the closet. After only two weeks on the market, the drug became the nation’s most popular treatment for erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve or maintain an erection), most commonly called impotence.
The drug’s widespread acceptance called attention to the desire of many seniors to maintain an active sex life, and also de-stigmatized the conditions that often impair sexual enjoyment for many of them. With the treatment of impotence being openly discussed (even Bob Dole is a spokesman), many seniors who were sexually inactive decided to speak to their doctors about treatments that could enhance their sex lives.
Studies show that many seniors are indeed sexually inactive, but it’s not always out of choice. For many, it’s because they lack a partner or because physical symptoms make sexual intercourse uncomfortable, either physically or emotionally. But erectile dysfunction is treatable by a variety of means. And problems related to menopause (such as vaginal dryness) can often be relieved with medications. The first step is an honest dialogue with your doctor.
Contrary to popular belief, some seniors find that sex, like fine wine, only gets better with age. It’s true that sex after fifty might require a little more patience, planning, and sensitivity to one’s partner. But many have found that the rewards of this extra attention to intimacy can more than make up for changes in spontaneity.
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