Aging affects sexual potency
For those of us counseling men going through a so-called midlife crisis, a key issue for discussion often is declining sexual potency.
A chief cause of difficulty for men at this stage of life is that they fail to understand medical and psychological information on the effects of aging on sexuality.
In the limited space available for this discussion, I will address some key issues. This may encourage individuals to seek a more detailed explanation from their physicians or mental health professionals.
First, sex at age 50 will be different from sex at age 20. As the male ages, it takes longer to achieve sexual arousal and there is a normal decline in the desire for sexual activity.
Many husbands and wives mistakenly believe the male should retain the same level of sexual desire and potency that he had at age 20 or 30.
Several factors that greatly influence the sexual potency of the aging male should be considered:
A physician should be consulted if the male questions his level of sexual desire. Medical conditions such as diabetes can cause sexual impairment. Also, certain medications can affect sexual potency in the male.
The physician often can modify doses of the medication, which might decrease adverse side effects and help restore a healthy sex life.
Smoking can be a factor. Smoking can affect genital blood flow and can decrease sexual capability.
Excessive intake of alcohol can have a negative effect on sex drive and performance, especially as on ages.
Being in good shape physically can certainly affect sexual desire and performance. Those wishing to enhance their sex life should seek to restore physical fitness.
Worry, depression, excessive stress and dissatisfaction in life can play a big part in sexual satisfaction. A many unhappy with his job or worried about finances may need to explore these factors with a trained mental health counselor.
An abnormal decrease in sexual desire and performance can be linked to an unhealthy relationship between the man and his spouse. Negative feelings between husband and wife can be a major factor in sexual difficulties.
The belief that all sexual activity will cease at a certain age can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it is an unnecessary and even unhealthy belief. Some experts on human sexuality believe there is a correlation between longevity and sexual activity. The old saying, Use it or lose it, applies here.
In future columns I will discuss other material that may be useful in helping the aging male achieve a healthy sexual life.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright 1987