If you’ve reached or passed the age of 40 and haven’t done a sex audit, then it’s high time you did. Even if you managed to squeeze one in over the past few years, an update is probably due. Because the truth is, the action in the bedroom may not be exactly what it used to be. You’ve noticed, your partner has probably taken note as well, and perhaps neither of you have talked about it (which is a top reason for doing an audit right! - it’s time to face up to the truth!).
A recent survey revealed that 57 percent of older couples are not happy with their sex lives. The rate of erectile dysfunction among 50-year-old men is around 30 percent. Up to 20 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction are caused by stress, performance anxiety, and other psychological issues. Given the persistent, virility-sapping society we live in and the media telling men how a marriage and intimate relationships are supposed to work—the myths of endless sexual desire, never ending respect and trust, perfect harmony, and flawless communication--it’s a wonder the percentages of sexual dissatisfaction aren’t higher.
Add to these figures the fact that physical challenges such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—along with the dark cloud of depression—take their toll on the workings of the penis as well as self-esteem and self-confidence. Bring it all together and you have the ingredients for male sexual dissatisfaction and dysfunction.
These are all entirely unacceptable figures and scenarios - and fortunately ones that can be remedied as well. Sex after 40 can be the best you’ve ever had in your life, but it takes commitment. It’s time to toss away complacency, which plagues many long-term (and even short-term) relationships and to take action.
Men who reinvest passion, mystery, and creativity into their intimate relationships (as well as attention to physical health, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming article) can reap huge rewards. Perhaps you don’t have the sex drive and stamina you had when you were younger, but with maturity comes something better: a passionate relationship that feels secure as well as exciting, with plenty of room for exploration and adventure. And that includes in the bedroom.
The place to begin the fixing is with being truthful with yourself, and that’s where the sex audit comes in. I promise this audit will be much less painful than a tax audit, and the bonus is, this one comes with rewards: better sex, improved communication with your sex partner, and less stress inside the bedroom and out. Who can beat that?
Enough said. Let’s launch into the sex audit. Remember: answer honestly!
1. Do you smoke?
2. Are you overweight?
3. Do you often drink before having sex?
4. Do you drink more than six alcoholic beverages per week?
5. Are you taking medication for depression, prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate, or high blood pressure?
6. Are you taking any drugs prescribed for erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra or Cialis?
7. Is your diet deficient in heart-healthy foods, such as leafy green vegetables, cold water oily fish such as salmon, brown rice, and berries?
8. Do you get less than two hours of intense exercise (e.g., lifting weights, playing racquet sports, running) or five hours of mild exercise (e.g., walking, gardening, swimming) per week?
9. Do you believe your relationship lacks sufficient warmth, closeness, or intimacy?
10. Do you and your partner interact less often sexually and nonsexually than you used to?
11. Would you like to have sex more often?
12. Do you wish your sexual encounters were more satisfying physical and/or psychologically?
13. Does your partner no longer turn you on sexually?
14. Do you have sexual fantasies that you have never experienced or discussed with your partner?
15. Is your partner less interested in sex than in previous months or years?
16. Are you often depressed, despondent or anxious?
17. Do you frequently feel too stressed or wired to engage in sex?
18. Has your use of pornography interfered with your relationship?
19. Do you hide your use of pornography from your partner?
20. Do you have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection?
“Yes” responses to the first eight questions indicate you may have sex life issues that are physical in nature. “Yes” responses to the next 12 questions suggest psychological issues surrounding your sex life. If you answered “yes” to the final question, any problem could be physical, psychological, or both in nature. Let the answers to these questions be an open door to communication with your partner, a trusted healthcare professional, and yourself so you can solve any problems with ease and have fun. It’s just sex, after all.
You can read more information about healthy living and peak performance as you age in my book: “Your New Prime: 30 Days to Better Sex, Eternal Strength, and a Kick Ass Life After 40”.
Geraci R. Sex in the fifties. AARP 2010 May