Men and Sex After 40: 10 Good Reasons the News Isn’t All Bad

On June 30, 2016 by Editor

A lot of men fear for their sex lives when they reach 40. Who would not feel that way, when society portrays erectile dysfunction and a non-existent sex life as a normal part of aging almost everywhere.

Erectile dysfunction tends to be more common in older men, but is it an inevitable part of aging? Are men doomed to suffer from it when they age?

If you are approaching or past the age of 40, brush off your fears. Your best weapon against ED is to learn as much as you can about it, so here’s what you need to know in regards to erectile dysfunction and its link to aging.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

erectile dysfunctionErectile dysfunction is a sexual disorder referring to a man’s inability to achieve an erection and staying erect long enough to engage in intercourse.

Experts say many men will experience difficulty having or maintaining an erection at some point in their lives for several reasons and it is normal. But, if difficulty achieving an erection becomes persistent and frequently recurring, it could be a sign of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction can happen to any man regardless of age for various reasons, from physical to psychological or both. Anything that interferes with the process of erection can cause erectile dysfunction.

Erection is one of those things that make a man feel like “a man.” Without it, his confidence and self-esteem will be shaken.

Erectile dysfunction is devastating to a man and equally devastating to his partner. Sex plays an important role in keeping a relationship satisfying. Moreover, the challenge of facing its emotional impact can be draining day by day.

The Anatomy of an Erection

Enlargement of the penis is the only visible portion of a complex process that involves various systems in the body, such as the vascular system, central nervous system, endocrine system and psychological factors.

The erection process starts with sexual stimulation of the mind from stimuli picked by your different senses such as sounds, sight, taste, scents, and feel. Your brain will send neurotransmitters or signals to the nerves around your penis. These signals travel through the spinal cord and will trigger the nerves to release chemicals, which relax the muscles and blood vessels around your penis.

Blood will flow into the corpora cavernosa or the two long shafts inside the penis containing a network of blood vessels. Once your penis is engorged with blood, the pressure will constrict the tunica or the membrane around the corpora cavernosa that prevents the outflow of blood from the penis. The erection process is reversed once the muscle around your penis contracts, which allows blood to flow out your penis.

Anything that interferes with the process, from stimulation of blood flow can get in the way of achieving an erection.

The Link Between Aging and Erectile Dysfunction

About five percent of men aged 40 suffer from ED, and about 15 to 25 percent of men ages 65 and up suffer from it.

older menIt is true that erectile dysfunction is common in older men. However, experts say erectile dysfunction does not normally come with aging. There are many older men up to their 80s who are sexually active, and there are men as young as 20 or 30 who suffer from erectile dysfunction.

You have nothing to fear. Here are 10 good reasons why the news on aging and ED is not as bad as it seems:

1. Your Difficulty Getting An Erection Could Be Due To Physical Changes.

As you age, your body normally goes through changes that may affect your sexual function. Older men may take longer to achieve an erection. You may need more time for foreplay, stroking and touching before you achieve an erection and eventually have sex. Have patience and do not stop right away once you do not get an erection at first try.
Other changes of sexual function brought by aging include:

  • Less intense orgasms.
  • Longer time to achieve orgasm.
  • Half solid erections.
  • Longer recovery period after an orgasm.

Every man ages differently so changes in the body may differ. The best thing you can do is accept these changes and find ways to improve them.

2. Your ED May Be Due To Stress.

Stress and other psychological factors account for 20 percent of ED cases. Stress is your body’s response to certain situations. When you are stressed, a series of changes occurs in your body that has damaging effects. Erectile dysfunction is just one of the effects of damage caused by too much stress.

Sadly, stress and ED can create an endless cycle. If you are not able to achieve an erection, you can become stressed or anxious about your performance, which then makes it even more difficult for you to get an erection. Moreover, constant prolonged stress and anxiety may increase your cholesterol and blood pressure, which increases your risk of developing ED.

3. Erectile Dysfunction Could Be A Sign Of An Underlying Condition.

Health professionals are urging men who suffer from ED to test for cardiovascular or heart diseases. What is the connection between ED and cardiovascular disease? First, the two mainly involves blood flow. Second, poor blood flow to the penis could indicate poor blood flow anywhere else in the body.

Initially, atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries or heart problems was thought to be the primary cause of erectile dysfunction. It revolves around the idea that atherosclerosis reduces blood flow to the penis, thereby causing erectile dysfunction.

 

However, with further studies, experts believe that endothelial dysfunction may be one of the major culprits of erectile dysfunction and later on, heart disease. The endothelium or the inner lining of blood vessels is responsible for the vasoconstriction and vasodilation of blood vessels, among many others. If the function of the endothelium is impaired, it can lead to erectile dysfunction, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases.

One of the main effects of endothelial dysfunction is the reduced production of nitric oxide, a potent substance that helps dilate blood vessels. The insufficient nitric oxide may reduce blood flow to the penis and may lead to a host of other serious cardiovascular problems.

Erectile dysfunction is not always an early sign of heart or cardiovascular disease. But, if you did not suffer from injuries or have no clue of what is causing your erectile dysfunction, it would be wise to check with your doctor.

Health professionals are urging men who suffer from erectile dysfunction to undergo tests as it could help achieve and early diagnosis and early treatment.

4. Erectile Dysfunction May Be Due To An Injury.

Risky sex may put you at risk of erectile dysfunction. A small number of ED cases reported the penile injury as the cause. Direct injury to the penis may interfere with the ability of the muscles to relax or impede blood flow. Injury to the spinal cord can also get in the way to the transmission of signals to the penile nerves.

5. Erectile Dysfunction May Be Due To Substance Abuse.

Substance abuse of alcohol and tobacco makes you highly at risk of having issues with erectile dysfunction.

tobaccoModerate intake of alcohol does not seem to cause erectile dysfunction, but too much of it can affect your overall health, including your sexual health. Tobacco, on the other hand, contains nicotine that can constrict blood vessels thereby limiting blood flow. It can also cause damage to the blood vessels linings over time.

According to experts, guys who smoke are at a higher risk of erectile dysfunction compared to non-smokers. Moreover, according to a study, quitting smoking may reverse its effect, but the result depends on the age and the severity of ED before you stopped.

6. Erectile Dysfunction May Be Due To A Sedentary Lifestyle.

Lack of exercise does not promote proper blood circulation, and it can lead to weight gain. Apart from being common in older men, erectile dysfunction tends to be more common in overweight or obese people.

Being overweight or obese makes you at risk of weight-related diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that may impede your sexual functions. Testosterone levels tend to be lower in overweight men, too. Although experts have not yet specifically determined the role of testosterone in erectile dysfunction, low testosterone levels seem to be common in men who suffer from ED.

On the other hand, many older men are living a sedentary life. It may be due to the fact their physical strength and flexibility have diminished through the years.

7. Erectile Dysfunction Could Be Due To Your Medications.

Sadly, the medications you take to improve your health condition could be the culprit of your sexual disorders. There are certain medications that cause erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamine
  • High Blood Pressure Medications
    • Diuretics
    • Beta-blockers
  • Parkinson’s Disease Medications
  • Hormonal Replacement Therapy
  • Analgesics

If you experience erectile dysfunction after taking these drugs, consult with your doctor first before stopping intake. Discuss the side-effects of these drugs in your sex life. It is important to keep taking these prescription medications to prevent undesirable complications.

8. Erectile Dysfunction May Be Due To A Psychological Disorder.

Depression is a psychological disorder mainly characterized by feelings of sadness, helplessness and hopelessness. It can make you lose interest in sex and make it difficult for you to become aroused.

Depression can stem from problems at work, money problems or relationship problems. If you suffer from depression, it is best to seek professional treatment to help you deal with your emotions and struggles.

9. Erectile Dysfunction May Be Due To A Major Change In Your Life.

At age 40, you might be dealing with major changes in your life, such as a divorce or separation that can impact you psychologically. Moreover, moving on with a new partner may raise anxiety or performance worries. Having sex with a new partner may awaken your inhibitions in bed, which may make it difficult for you to focus on the act.

10. It Can Be Due To A Poor Relationship.

Lack of communication between you and your partner, unresolved marital issues and heated arguments can keep you from being intimate with each other. The lack of communication cuts off emotional bond, while unresolved problems cultivate resentment, which can make it hard for you to be sexually aroused by each other.

There are several reasons why men, young and old, suffer from erectile dysfunction. As long as you steer clear of these factors, you can keep a healthy sex life even at age 40 and beyond.

Sex Life After 40

Far from the common notion that older people stop having sex, some studies show that many older people still keep on having a healthy and active sex life.

In a 1998 survey conducted by the National Council of Aging on 1,300 older people ages 60 and up, 48 percent admitted to being sexually active with least one sexual encounter per month. More than 70 percent of men and 70 percent of women reported they had better sexual satisfaction than when they did in their 40’s. Many of them also reported that sex played an important role in their relationships.

Results from the Longitudinal Study of Ageing showed that more than 30 percent of British men ages 80 to 90 still have sex or masturbate. About 60 percent of the men aged 70 to 80 engage in sex.

Results also showed that older men tend to be more sexually active than women. Only 14 percent of women aged 80 to 90 still have sex and masturbate, while 34 percent of those ages 70 to 80 still have sex.

Studies published in The Journals of Gerontology also showed similar results. Conducted last 2005 and 2006, researchers surveyed about 3,000 participants about their sex life and sexual relationships in the last five years.

A whopping 84 percent of men and 62 percent of women from the youngest groups reported having sex with a partner in the last year. Meanwhile, 38 percent of men and 17 percent of women from the oldest age group aged 75 to 85 admitted to having sex in the past year.

From these sexually active older participants, a large percentage of both groups reported engaging in foreplay and vaginal intercourse during sex. But, they also reported having oral sex as well.

Unsurprisingly, many of them reported sexual difficulties, too. Most men complained of erection problems, while most women complained of a lack of interest in sex.

As you age, changes in your body that may affect sexual function are inevitable. Your physical strength decreases, flexibility is reduced, and sexual stimulation may not be easy to come by. Thus, you need to redefine “sex” to gain satisfaction from it.

Accept the truth that sex in your 50’s will not be the same from the sex you had 30 years ago. The energy, desire, and frequency will diminish, but you can still find pleasure and satisfaction in it.

Sex does not always equate to vaginal intercourse. In fact, many older people still have satisfying sex lives despite the lack of it. Oral sex, touching and kissing are their new definition of sex. Moreover, satisfying sex lives could also mean a once a month frequency of sexual intercourse.

What You Should Do to Keep a Healthy Sex Life after Age 40

exercise regularlyThe healthier you are, the healthier your sexual function will be. Moreover, if you are overweight, inactive or suffering from other physical challenges, there will be a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

According to experts, 70 percent of erectile dysfunction is caused by from physical causes. Aging does not cause erectile dysfunction, but how you take care of your body and health as you age does. Thus, taking care of your body as you age can greatly reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction and increases your chance of a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

Here are tips to keep your body fit and healthy even when you are older:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not take in more energy than you can burn.
  • Limit your intake of processed foods, fatty foods, and sugary foods.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Do not smoke or quit smoking.
  • Get enough sleep.

Yes, these are extremely common tips you hear and read almost every day. Although they may sound simple to you, the real challenge lies in actually applying them in your life every single day.

Additionally, your sex life today determines your sex life tomorrow. The less sex you have, the less sex you’ll want. If you do not use it, you will lose it. It is as simple as that. Your sexual function needs exercise and what better exercise than to have sex.

And, if you get unlucky and suffer from erectile dysfunction, many treatment options are available to help you regain sexual function. Treatments vary depending on the cause of your ED. Many older men benefit from using male enhancing pills such as Cialis, Levitra or Viagra.

However, ultimately, maintaining optimal health is the key to optimal sexual function. As they say, prevention is better than cure. You are never too late to start living healthy.

Erectile dysfunction is common in older men, but it is not an inevitable part of aging. There are many things you can do to avoid or prevent erectile dysfunction as you age.

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