Sexual Health is Important
Getting older no longer means having no sex life! There is even a new measure of sexual health to prove it – and that’s your SALE or Sexually Active Life Expectancy
- The number of years a woman or man can expect to remain sexually active past 50.
SALE was developed as a sexual health measure by researchers in a 2010 Chicago University study which showed
- 40 per cent of men aged 75 to 85
- and 52 per cent of women in the 60 plus age group
- enjoy regular “good quality” sex
Men have good sexual health. Women's sexual health doesn't last quite as long as men's. Even so, when in good health at age 55, women can expect at least another 10 years of sexual activity, and men can expect at least 15.
Older Aussies value sexual health as an important part of life, but would benefit from being better informed. A Melbourne survey – the first ever of sexuality in later life in Australia, found that many older Aussies lack knowledge in key areas of sexual health and sexual health products.
Sex Good for Health
Two thirds of 1000 older Australians aged between 65 and 93 believe sex is an important part of intimacy in later life, according to a study conducted by Professor Victor Minichiello, Ph.D., of the University of New England and David Plummer, Ph.D., of the Australian National University.
- A large majority — 62 per cent — were unaware of the adverse effects that both prescription medications and depression can have in causing low sex drive
- Only a little more than one-third of the respondents recognized that sexual activity in later life can have important physical and mental health benefits
Men’s Sexual Health ‘Not Just About Erections’Keeping your sexual health as you age is obviously much easier for men with oral treatments – both pharmaceutical and herbal - to improve erections. However an Australian study suggests sexual function and sexual health is not the same thing.
Research at Deakin University shows that just improving erections does not necessarily improve sexual health.
The study of more than 400 men with ED who took oral ED drugs compared with their mates who did not have ED showed:
- Many gave up using the erection drugs because of relationship or psychological issues
- Even with the erectile drug, they didn’t have a satisfying sexual experience
Medications solved the biological and physiological problems of getting an erection
- But did not help solve deeper issues like self esteem, feelings about masculinity, sexual and relational satisfaction and quality of life
The Melbourne study suggested doctors treating men with erection drugs needed to be much more aware of emotional and relational issues.
Heart as Important as HardnessAnother study showed for many men:
- Getting an erection with an oral medication was not a simple matter of just “popping a pill”.
- The quality of the sex depended on how good the relationship was outside of the bedroom.
- Some men needed to try oral drugs for erections up to 8 times to get a satisfactory sexual experience
While we have tended to view men’s sexual health as Mechanical and functional (he gets an erection and he’s away)
- It seems men’s sexuality is more complicated than that
- And depends more on the quality of emotional health and relationships than we may have appreciated
Australian Attitudes to Sexual HealthAnother major Australian study of sexual health, the Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR) noted that
- A majority of women (70%) and
- Around a quarter of men reported a lack of sexual desire
- Significant proportions of both sexes experienced sexual difficulties at some point in the year before the survey took place.
The picture that emerged of Australians’ sexual health included:
Australian women reported:
- Lack of interest in sex (54.8 per cent)
- Feeling self-conscious of their body while having sex (35.9 per cent)
- Performance anxiety (17 per cent)
- Being unable to reach orgasm (28.6 per cent),
- Pain during sex (20.3 per cent)
- Problems with vaginal lubrication (23.9 per cent)
Physical pain, self-consciousness of body and performance anxiety were more common amongst younger women, while the lack of interest and desire to have sex and inability to orgasm and lubricate were reported by more older women.
Australian men reported:
- Lack of interest in sex (24.9 per cent)
- Erectile dysfunction (9.5 per cent),
- Being unable to orgasm (6.3 per cent)
- Premature ejaculation (23.8 per cent)
- Performance anxiety (16 per cent)
- Not finding sex pleasurable (5.6 per cent)
- Self consciousness about their bodies (14.2 per cent).
Sexual Health Conclusions
Studies of Australian’s sexual health show sex is important to older Australians and many want active sex lives as they age.
However a lack of information on the importance of emotions and relationships in the sexual health of both men and women has resulted in disappointment with sexual health treatments.
- Improved sex drive and performance
- Boosts energy and a sense of well being
- Suitable for couples to take together so both benefit