Talking about sex and sexuality can be an uncomfortable subject for some people, particularly when it comes to seniors. There is a taboo and stigma attached to the idea of people over a certain age freely expressing their sexuality and having sex.This attitude encourages ignorance about senior sexual health in our broader culture, and people are not getting the information they need to stay safeas a result.
Health care research, technology, and innovations have improved our quality of life and extended our life expectancy. As a result, people are staying sexually active later in life.Retirement communities offer increased access to social activities and the ability to make friends and connect intimately with others. Research into senior sexual health is increasing as the stigma has been recognized as a serious public health issue, but there is still progress that needs to be made. In the US, a representative sample of people aged 57 to 85 showed that about three-quarters of people aged 57 to 64 and more than half of people aged 65 to 74 are sexually active. More than a quarter of those aged 75 to 85 are also sexually active.
Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea, genital herpes, and chlamydia are rising among middle aged and senior populations. The risk of STIs is higher among recently widowed men compared to recently widowed women. Lowered immunity is one related factor. The general assumption is that older people do not have sex because desire decreases with age. This is a harmful myth because many people continue to crave intimate connections and sexual activity in their lives. Older individuals tend to be ignored in STI and other related studies because of societal attitudes. Physicians will ignore discussing the subject unless there is an obvious case, and, therefore, education about prevention is clearly lacking. The subject of STIs is often ignored and therefore safety information is not delivered to those who need it.
Other issues like sexual function and enjoyment are also problems among aging groups. While seniors do experience health conditions that can interfere with their sex lives, innovations like Viagra or Cialis can help with erectile dysfunction.Hormone therapy can aid women during menopause. Other lifestyle changes with one’s physical activity and diet can help with overall health and wellbeing, and this can also improve sexual functioning for all genders. However, with the stigma attached to talking about sex, seniors are uncomfortable with broaching the topic and asking questions, while physicians also tend to make their own assumptions and not discuss these topics with their patients.
Feeling comfortable discussing sexuality for a senior may only come after one has built a long-lasting and comfortable connection.One of the many benefits of home care services is the comfortable connection that grows between a Caregiver and Client. Personal Support Workers are an excellent resource for sexual health information and they are someone who can be relied upon to help answer questions in a professional yet friendly way.Many seniors will feel more comfortable discussing sensitive matters with Caregivers than they will with their physicians.
Not talking about senior sexual health worsens the taboo and contributes to ignorance, a lack of information, and exacerbates health issues in the community. This furthers an environment of sex negativity that can have detrimental effects on sexual health and the wellbeing of seniors. Physicians, Caregivers, and other medical professionals are encouraged to take an active approach in talking to their patients about sex and sexuality. The general public should not be afraid of embracing humanity’s enjoyment of physical intimacy throughout our lives.