As the number of active and energetic people over the age of 60 continues to increase, it is natural for these older individuals to want to continue to enjoy the intimate physical relationships that they have developed. In the past, those over 60 were relegated to “has-been” status with respect to sexuality, but research makes it clear that, for healthy individuals, sex after 60 can be exciting, spontaneous and can contribute to better health and well-being. Here are some sexual benefits for the over 60 crowd.
1. Improved Quality of Life
Numerous studies have shown that sexual intercourse tends to have a beneficial effect on the immune system. In both sexes, studies have shown that levels of immunoglobulin A—an indicator of the health of the immune system—tend to rise in people having moderately-frequent sex. It has also been reported that frequent sexual activity, accompanied by ejaculation, significantly reduces the incidence of prostate cancer in older men. For women, intercourse exercises the pelvic muscles, which is helpful in reducing or eliminating the incontinence that may develop as these muscles age. Many people find that the euphoric feeling that they perceive after sexual intercourse is extremely similar to the “runner’s high” that they experience with the release of endorphins after a strenuous workout.
2. Psychological Boost
The release of endorphins that occurs during sexual intercourse contributes to a feeling of well-being and elevates one’s mood. It’s not just a psychological phenomenon; the anti-inflammatory effect of body chemicals released during sexual activity actually does diminish the aches and pains associated with the aging process.
3. Retention of Identity and Self-Worth
Sexual function is a vital component of an individual’s total personal identity. Studies at the University of Texas clearly show that frequent sexual activity contributes to the older person’s retention of personal identity and improves his or her self-worth. In fact, virtually all of the test subjects cited “feeling better about themselves” as one of their principal reasons for having sex.
4. Cardiovascular Exercise and Protection
A study from England revealed that, rather than causing increased risk of heart attack or stroke in older people, moderately-frequent sex reduced the risk of a fatal heart attack in the older population by 50 percent. Sexual intercourse has other cardiovascular benefits as well, in that it burns calories and invigorates the body.
5. Improved Sleep
As people age, their ability to sleep anywhere and anytime tends to give way to more fitful sleep patterns. Intercourse triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes restful states and sleep; this improved sleep allows the brain and body to recover from stress and anxiety more efficiently and completely.
In days of old, the subject of sexuality in those people who had passed middle-age was almost taboo; polite society didn’t speak about it, and the expectation was that sexual appetite and potency would wane along with a person’s other faculties in a slow, inexorable downward spiral. In today’s world, people are living longer, healthier lives and expect to carry their activities, including their sex lives, well into old age. There is ample evidence to support the idea that not only is it possible to maintain a healthy, robust sex life well into one’s later years, but that it is quite beneficial to do so.
Arthur Polston is a freelance blogger writing on behalf of Apexrx.com, a website that provides FDA approved medications.