KUALA LUMPUR – The general perception that senior citizens are too old for sex and intimacy is nothing but a myth. In fact it is the social stigma that discourages the elders from continuing with sex life, subsequently contributing to depression and loneliness in their golden years.
Consultant Urological Surgeon at the Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur Professor Dr George Lee Eng Geap urges couples not to succumb to the society’s misplaced notion that sex is not for seniors.
“Sex is important in a relationship because it keeps the passion alive and nurtures the special bonding and the intimacy only experienced between spouses,” he said during the recent Pfizer Global Sexual Habits Survey presentation to media.
Technically, men can have sexual relationship and reproductive life throughout their life, says Dr Lee. Though there is a condition called testosterone deficiency, in overall, the effects of men’s menopause is not that drastic.
“For women the hormone would drop to virtually zero straight away, but for men it is gradual. Doctors will only intervene when men’s depreciating libido affects their health or relationship,” he said.
Undeniably, for older adults, there are age related changes in the bodies that may affect sexual function as well as stamina. The key is to stay healthy and not to shy away from seeing a doctor to get help when necessary.
“The erection might be not as hard anymore, so you might need a little bit of help.
“Worries such as am I suffering from erectile dysfunction? Am I taking a drug that would make me addictive? Am I going to die of a sudden death? All that sorts of thing, all those stigmas, leave it to the doctor.
“Then as you start getting back to your feet again, then you might not need the drug anymore,” he explained.
PRESSURE-FREE SEX FOR WOMEN AFTER MENOPAUSE
For many, the subject of sexual desire for elderly women is also a taboo. However, for Dr Lee this misplaced perception had greatly influenced women.
“They might think this is the way it is supposed to be, even though it is not,” he said adding that several studies indicted that that women’s sex life were enhanced after menopause.
One of the reasons is that they now have reached a point where many commitments are settled such as the property mortgage is paid off and the children are all grown up. Moreover, there is no more pressure of getting pregnant and worries about contraceptive and timing.
Another important factor, pointed DrLee, was the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) now prevalent among women above 40.
“The dryness, the mood, that is associated with women after menopause is no longer a physiological barrier for women.
“HRT has helped overcome a lot of physiological disadvantages for women and enable them to have a better, happier relationship,” he said.
REIGNITING THE PASSION BY PLANNING
A relationship if it is not nurtured, is similar to a plant and will wither.
“When the children come, when financial worries come in, when stress comes in, you will put sex lower and lower down in your priority list.
“One day when you have retired and all that have been settled, you only come to realise that the magic, the passion, is lost between you and your spouse.
“You can’t even remember when was the last time you two had sex,” he said adding that the first step to take is to recognise the sex draught.
The second thing is to admit that they have been out of the game for a while and might not have the gist to continue anymore.
He suggested in order to get things back to how it used to be, is to plan for the occasion. Planning for sexual intercourse will give both partners the chance to groom and anticipate for the event. In short it would help the couples to set the mood.
“Desire discrepancies between partners are common in a relationship,” he said, adding that past research also shows that disagreements related to sex can be very difficult to resolve.
Planning for sexual intercourse is also encouraged for younger couples who are now busy managing their families and careers. The hectic working lifestyle nowadays which demand more travelling also causes couples to see less of each other thus affecting their sexual habits.
In addition to that, Dr Lee revealed that there is disparity of priority in relation to sex among men and women.
According to a survey, women considered sex to be number 14 out of 17 in their priorities, which includes family life, financial well being, and work/career, while men opted sex as number eight out the 17.
“That is a great disparity in a relationship, so how can you not plan? Make every moment count,” said Dr Lee. – BERNAMA