Sex is one area of senior health that is rarely discussed. Many people simply assume that once you reach a certain age, both the desire for sexual contact and engaging in sexual behavior simply stops. This isn’t the case.
A recent University of Chicago study found that three-quarters of respondents age 57 to 64, and more than a quarter between ages 75 to 85, had engaged in sexual behavior in the last year.
While our desire for physical intimacy may lessen over time, most humans still have the need for romance, connection and touch. The reasons for declining physical intimacy can be emotional and/or physical. From changing hormone levels to a variety of medical conditions (heart disease, arthritis, etc.) to an aging body that may make one feel less desirable, many seniors simply give up on the idea.
But even though one’s interest in sex may decline, touch is a very basic human need, and essential for the well-being of all individuals. A touch can convey compassion, reassurance, safety or care – which are crucial in a loving relationship. Here are some tips to incorporate touch into your daily activities with your spouse or partner.
- Whenever you sit with or walk with your loved one, keep physical contact by holding his or her hand or arm.
- If you’re watching TV or a movie at home, gently massage some lotion on your loved one’s hands, arms and feet.
- Trade back, shoulder and scalp massages to promote well-being and closeness.
- Assist with personal care such as manicures and hair brushing.
- Sign up for a dance class together, or just put on some music and slow dance in your living room.
Aging doesn’t have to mean giving up on touch, romance and intimacy. You’ve still got some fire left! Use these tips to fan the flames of passion!