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Dr. Dick on Demand: Sex and the Aging Male

Dr. Dick on Demand: Sex and the Aging Male
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I’m receiving a startling number of correspondences lately from older men and their partners, highlighting the sexual difficulties of the aging process. It’s not surprising that these people are noticing the changes in their sexual response cycle as they age, but it is astonishing that they haven’t attributed the changes to andropause.

  Andropause

You raise an interesting question about the aging process when you ask if men experience something similar to menopause in women. The short answer is—you betcha! In fact, it even has a name: andropause. It’s only been recently that the medical industry has started to pay attention to the impact that changing hormonal levels have on the male mind and body. Most often andropause is misdiagnosed as depression and treated with an antidepressant. WRONG!

All men experience a decrease in testosterone, the “male” hormone, as they age. This decline is gradual, often spanning 10 to 15 years. While the gradual decrease of testosterone does not display the profound effects that menopause does, the end results are similar.

And listen: When a physician says that your testosterone level falls within “an acceptable range,” he/she isn’t telling you much. Let’s just say you had an elevated level of testosterone all your life, ’til now. Let’s say that you now register on the lower end of “acceptable.” That would mean that you’ve had a significant loss in testosterone. But your doctor wouldn’t know that, because he/she has no baseline for your normal testosterone level.

There is no doubt that a man’s sexual response changes with advancing age and the decrease of testosterone. Sexual urges diminish, erections are harder to come by, they’re not as rigid, there’s less jizz shot with less oomph. And our refractory period (or interval) between erections is more elongated, too.

Andropausal men might want to consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Just know that most medical professionals resist testosterone therapy. Some mistakenly link Testosterone Replacement Therapy with prostate cancer, even though recent evidence shows prostatic disease is estrogen-dependent rather than testosterone-dependent. I encourage you to be fully informed about TRT before you approach your new sex-positive doctor, because the best medicine is practiced collaboratively—by you and your doctor.

Finally, getting the lead back in your pencil, so to speak, may simply be an issue of taking more time with arousal play. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds like you once did. Also, I suggest that you use a cock ring. But most of all, fuckin’ relax, why don’tcha already? Your anxiety is short-circuiting your wood, my friend. And only you can stop that.

Here’s Gwen, who reports on her husband’s condition:

My husband and I have been married for 33 years. Our relationship is hell when it comes to sex. My husband is overweight, and he’s stressed out about his elderly parents. Sex is non-existent. He never was the instigator in our relationship. And he is the kind of guy who thinks having sex on the couch as opposed to the bedroom is adventuresome. He has become so boring. I don’t believe the man feels sex should be that important at our ages. (I’m 57 and he’s 62) I, on the other hand, am more sexually aroused and creative than ever now that I am more mature and the kids are out of the house. Menopause and all the sex on the Internet helps too. ;-) Is there anything I can do to make my man return to being a healthy sexual being once again? Thank you.

No—thank you, Gwen. Your complaint is a familiar one. So familiar, in fact, that I regularly offer therapy groups for couples in long-term relationships, like you and your old man, who have, for one reason or another, hit a wall when it comes to their sex lives.

I’m sad to say there’s not much you can do to beef up your sex life if there’s no interest on the part of your husband to do so. I mean, you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You confide that you husband is overweight and stressed; not a happy combination when it comes to his sexual response cycle, even if we don’t factor in his age. In fact, your husband sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. Perhaps if your challenged him about his general health—encourage weight loss and stress reduction—you might find that it might also reignite his sex drive. It’s worth a try.

And thank you for mentioning menopause. So many women find the changes that take place in midlife confusing and disorientating. It’s so good to hear from someone eager to explore and enjoy her sexuality post-menopause.

It’s clear that as we age, both women and men need more time and stimulation to get aroused. The slower, more sensuous foreplay that often results is a welcome change for most women and even some men. Increased focus on sensuality, intimacy, and communication can help a sexual relationship remain rewarding even well into our most senior years. If your husband is avoiding intercourse, there still many ways of expressing your love and staying connected:

Hugging, cuddling, kissing
Touching, stroking, massage, sensual baths
Mutual masturbation and oral sex

However, if your husband is more wedded to food and to stress than he is to you, and if he continues to refuse to join you in finding an appropriate outlet for your sexual frustration, then it’s up to you to make this happen on your own. Age 57 is way too soon to say goodbye to your sex life.

May I suggest joining a women’s group? Not a therapy group, but more of a support group or activities group. Getting out of the house, involving yourself with other self-actualized mature women, may uncover the secret solutions other women have put in place to find sexual satisfaction when they are without a partner or have a partner who’s no longer interested in them. I think you will be surprised by how creative your sisters can be. Make it happen, Gwen. Don’t sink to the lowest common denominator of living a sexless life.

Good luck!

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