Archive for the ‘side effects of medication’ Category

50 Shades of Sex In the Golden Years

February 24, 2015

So many seniors think that after sixty sexual intimacy goes into the tank. This is hardly the case as an interest in intimacy and sexual activity continues throughout life even in the golden years. Our society tends to have ageist concept of intimacy, portraying sex among seniors as inappropriate or unnatural. The truth is that many seniors, both men and women, continue to be sexually active and are interested in meeting others with whom they can become intimate. There is documentation that 70% of men and 35% of women continue to be sexually active over the age of 70. This blog will discuss sex and the senior and what you can do if you are having problems with sexual intimacy in your senior years.

While most long-married individuals reported steady declines in sexual activity, those who passed the 50-year marriage mark began to report a slight increase in their sex lives.

And notably, frequency in the sex lives of long-married couples continued to improve. The study, published last month in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers noted that an individual married for 50 years will have somewhat less sex than an individual married for 65 years.

The analysis of this study showed that the warm glow after the 50-year marriage mark, although flickering, was steadier than that of those in marriages of shorter duration. The researchers are sociologists at Louisiana State University, Florida State University and Baylor University.

Sexual frequency doesn’t return to two to three times a month, but it moves in that direction, which was reported by the investigator from LSU.

But the finding that some long-married couples continue to have sex decade after decade was not news to Jennie B., an 82-year-old widow who lives in a village in upstate New York. She married her first and only husband, Peter, in 1956, when they were in their mid-twenties. The couple, married 47 years, remained sexually active until he had quintuple heart bypass surgery two years before his death in 2003.

In this snapshot study of older adults, some were not having sex at all. And a few were even having sex daily. But in the main, the study looked at trends. The average older adult who had been married for a year had a 65 percent chance of having sex two to three times a month or more. At 25 years of marriage, the likelihood of that frequency dropped to 40 percent. If the marriage lasted 50 years, the likelihood was 35 percent. But if the marriage — and the lifespan — of the older adults continued, at 65 years of being together, the chance of having sex with that frequency was 42 percent.

And so, as adults age, their social circles shrink, they know time is limited, they look around and what do they see? Each other. Seniors will often place intimacy as a high priority.

I might add that seniors often engage in intimacy without having intercourse but that intimacy can occur with touching, holding hands and kissing is often just as satisfying and gratifying as sexual intercourse which occurs at an earlier age.

Bottom Line: Sex after sixty is an activity that is normal and should be encouraged. It may take a little creativity and it may take a little more planning and effort but it can happen and both partners feel a sense of enjoyment and pleasure.

Recommended Reading 30 Lessons for Loving, by Karl Pillemer, PhD.

Perhaps even 50 Shades of Grey!

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Can’t Get It Up? May Be It’s Your Prescription Drugs Keeping Your Erection Down

September 22, 2014

Impotence or erectile dysfunction impacts nearly 30 million American men. Often times the problem is related to prescription medication. This blog will discuss five categories of medications that can cause you not to have an ejection or can make the erection less rigid and not adequate for sexual intimacy. This blog will discuss five medications that can impact your sex life and what you can do about it.

Most men who take prescription medications know that they’re going to come with a list of side effects, which usually include drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth, or upset stomach. Sometimes, they’re a bit more serious, encompassing everything from skin irritation to allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock. But most of these guys forget one of the more unwanted side effects: erectile dysfunction.

Around the country, erectile dysfunction, or simply ED, affects as many as 30 million men, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Though this figure probably doesn’t include all those men taking prescription meds, they certainly experience the same effects, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a decreased quality of life. Nevertheless, it’s important to know which medications may cause these side effects, and speak to a doctor about possible alternatives — or just prepare to have trouble keeping it up.

Benzodiazepines

It’s interesting that benzodiazepines, (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Librium,) which are commonly used for anxiety can cause ED, and thus further anxiety. In fact, you’ll find that it’s a running theme. Anxiety is well known to cause ED, as increased levels of stress harm the body and take away from a man’s libido or sex drive.

Antidepressants

Another condition that causes ED in itself, major depression affected an estimated 16 million adults. Antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and even long-term pain. One of the major forms of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are comprised of the drugs Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro.

Up to 60 percent of people taking SSRIs may experience ED.

Beta Blockers

High blood pressure damages blood vessels, including those in a man’s penis; causing ED. But beta blockers, one of the drugs most commonly prescribed to people who have blood pressure, may also cause them to experience ED. Drugs that fall into this category include Sectral, Lopressor, Cogard, and Tenormin.

Antihistamines

Millions of men suffer from allergies, but some of the most common drugs, such as Benadryl and Dramamine, may be causing them to have ED, too. The ED also seems to be temporary, with sensation coming back gradually after ending use.

H2 Blockers

Also called H2-receptor antagonists, this category of drugs include the popular heartburn drugs Zantac and Pepcid. They’re used to treat gastrointestinal disorders like gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

For the most part, they cause ED when taken in high doses, and the drug Tagamet (cimetidine) is most likely to give men problems. Along with ED and a decreased libido, they can also lower a man’s sperm count.

Though life on these drugs may seem grim within the sexual arena, taking them is important for treating whatever disease a doctor has prescribed them for. Also, by talking with a doctor about alternative treatments, lowering doses, or taking supplements, anyone who takes these drugs may be able to get some of their sexual health back.

Bottom Line: There are dozens of medications that can affect a man’s sexual performance. Check with your doctor as he\she can usually alter the dosage or change to another medication that doesn’t have the side effect of ED.