Friday, August 31, 2012

Aging and Sexuality

One of the inevitable realities of the human body is the fact we age.  Every one of us will need to address the impact of aging on our sexuality.  The cultural messages about aging and sexuality was briefly highlighted in the cultural and identity section. Two classic examples are the belief that “Old people are alone.” “Sex is only for the young.” As you build your recovery, it is important to address the cultural messages you have heard about aging.  This can be done by examining each section in the workbook with the questions, “What is the impact of aging on _____(fill in the blank).  “What is the relationship between __________(fill in the blank), aging, and my chemical use.”   One example of this relationship is that we might use chemicals as a way to cope with the loneliness we feel as we age.

It is also important to address the physical consequences of aging on the physical body and the impact on sexuality.  The range in changes that occur in the body as we age are significant.  A few of these changes are listed simply to get you started in your journey.

The intensity of the sexual response cycle changes as we age.  It may take longer to get aroused. For both men and women, the intensity of arousal can slowly decrease as we get older.  The intensity of the orgasm may lesson. The refractory period between orgasms increases. 

 Men and women struggle with changes to our genitals.  Women might not create enough lubrication for penetration. Men often loose intensity in erections.

Hormonal changes for both men and women occur.  Menopause was briefly highlighted in the section on Women’s Sexuality.  Men’s level of testosterone slowly decreases over time.

 Our body changes, as compared to the unrealistic ideal images of a man or woman.

Review your responses to the messages you have about aging from the section on Cultural Identity (page).

Describe 2-3 examples where your sexual expression has changed as a result of aging.

Describe 2-3 sexual health concerns you have as you grow older.

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