If you’re back on the dating scene after years “on the bench,” you may feel rusty about your skills. And, you may find that certain aspects of your sexual health are not quite as healthy as they were before. Here we explore the landscape of senior dating and give tips on dealing with erectile dysfunction in a new relationship.
Sex and aging.
As you set out for romance, it’s helpful to remember that sex is an important part of a relationship and a healthy lifestyle, and that doesn’t go away as we age. Today, people are sexually active well into their senior years and having confident and fulfilling sexual encounters.
In fact, today’s seniors:
- Are having a lot of sex. One report found that 56% of 45- to 59-year-olds (with partners) were having sex once a week or more. And 46% of men and 38% of women, 60- to 70-years-old, (with partners) were having sex just as often.
- Are more adventurous. Reports have indicated that not only are seniors having sex, they’re also more open to experimenting and going outside their comfort zones.
- Are more romantic. Many seniors are retired with grown children, so they are not as encumbered with day-to-day tasks and the stress of raising young kids. This means they are willing to slow down and pay attention to romance. By taking time to touch, smile at each other, or laugh and cry together, they add intimacy to the relationship that often carries over to the bedroom.
Dating and ED
While this news is encouraging, seniors experiencing erectile dysfunction may be hesitant to get in on this action. However, ED does not have to stop anyone—including seniors—from pursuing a regular and fulfilling sex life.
It helps to know that ED is more common than you think. Approximately two out of five men experience it by age 40. It can be caused by many issues, including chronic disease or certain medications.
Still, there are answers to how to have sex with ED. Here’s what to keep in mind when dealing with erectile dysfunction in a new relationship.
- Be prepared with solutions. Well before you head out on the first date, make sure you fully understand your ED: you might be suffering from low testosterone, or maybe you just haven’t been in the mood. A doctor will help you determine if you have ED, and the treatment option that’s best for you. Remember: ED is treatable, and there’s no reason to believe the new relationship cannot become physical.
- Keep lines of communication open. Maintaining communication with your partner is one of the most important things to remember when dealing with erectile dysfunction in a new relationship. Often, a person who is experiencing erectile dysfunction will choose to try and avoid the issue entirely. This creates distance between the partners and leads to a further lack of intimacy in the relationship. The first step toward finding a solution is opening up communication about the subject.
- Stay connected. Focus on what you and your partner need and want, as well as how to get it. Avoid making jokes when you begin the conversation. Erectile dysfunction can be a sensitive topic for everyone involved in the relationship. Partners of people with erectile dysfunction will often worry that they are the cause because they are not attractive enough. Reassure your partner that this is not the case.
- Stay protected. That said, you may be so focused on your ability to have sex that you may not have considered sex safety. An interesting factor about sex among seniors is that their STD rates are rising. Sources say between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia rates among seniors rose 31%, and syphilis rates rose 52%. Sexual health campaigns do not always target older adults, so it’s important to be informed and use protection.
- Redefine intimacy. Discuss new ways to be intimate without the pressure of sexual “performance.” This can start by simply talking more and focusing on emotional intimacy. When discussing ways to be physically intimate, remember that there doesn’t have to be a “goal” of penetration or orgasm. Consider focusing more on massaging and caressing gestures and remember to enjoy each other’s presence.
One exciting way to build intimacy is to bring back a good old-fashioned make-out session. Making out has always been good for ourselves and our relationships—and that doesn’t go away with age. Even better, the act of making out still has many other benefits.
Kissing is a bonding behavior as it releases oxytocin: a calming hormone we generate when we feel a sense of security with a long-term partner. Kissing can trigger physiological responses in the body that can improve immunity. And, kissing can be a “sexual medication” that can reduce anxiety.
- Have fun. The golden years are called golden for a reason. Relax and take advantage of this special time of life. Trust that with the multiple treatment protocols available for ED, one or more will work for you. Medications may be an option, and at the same time vacuum assisted therapy is becoming more and more popular. These devices not only create an erection, they also have built-in opportunities for experimentation with different lubricants and tension rings.
For seniors, dating with ED is not only doable, it’s also very satisfying. To learn more about treating ED, browse our resources. And for more insights on how to have sex with ED, download our free guide.