How to Have Great Sex
- Health Benefits of Sex—From Head to Toe
- For Women: Natural Lubricants for Dryness
- For Men: Ashwaganda, L-citrulline and Vitamin D3 for Erectile Dysfunction and Low Testosterone
- Keeping the Embers Hot
- Be safe
If you are a regular reader, you know that I often try to dispel misconceptions about the healthy habits often perceived to be difficult or boring. For example, a healthy diet can easily be delicious and filled with your favorite foods. And regular exercise doesn’t mean grueling workouts but rather fun activities that you enjoy doing regularly.
Which brings me to another very healthy habit—sex. There’s definitely a misconception that sex in your senior years is either non-existent or dull. Further, the taboo surrounding sex often stops patients and doctors from talking openly about its many physical and mental benefits.
So let’s discard the taboo and have “the talk” about sex—minus the sheepishness. Please continue reading to find out how you can have great sex at any age and how great sex can actually make you a stronger, healthier person.
Health Benefits of Sex—From Head to Toe
Sex is an essential component of healthy intimate relationships between partners and spouses. You might not have as much drive as you did in your 20s and 30s (more on this later), but its benefits and importance are still the same.
Decades of research shows that sex can:
- Reduce headaches, cramps, and aches
- Improve blood circulation
- Improve sleep quality
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase your life expectancy
- Boost your immunity
- Relieve stress
- Boost daytime energy levels
- Boost your testosterone and estrogen levels
- Fight off depression
The irony here is that those last few bullet points are common excuses to not have sex. I’m too tired. I’m too stressed. I just don’t have the desire to have sex anymore. Sex can reverse these feelings as you become aroused.
But as you age, other obstacles can get in the way of having sex. Let’s look at some of the barriers and how you can get past them.
For Women: Natural Lubricants for Dryness
After menopause, your body often stops producing fluids needed for sex because it is no longer concerned with reproduction. There are many lubricants on the market but picking the right one is important.
I suggest that you avoid petroleum-based lubricants for two reasons. First, petroleum breaks down latex. So if you are using a condom, it can fail as a result. Second, many popular petroleum-based lubricants also have additives like glycerin that can promote infection.
Instead, if you are in a relationship where you don’t need condoms, I recommend coconut oil because it’s natural and it feels great for both parties. Coconut oil also breaks down condoms, but luckily there are more natural lubricants to choose from—each with pros and cons.
Water-based lubricants are the least messy, but they lose their effectiveness faster than most other lubricants. On the flip-side, silicon-based lubricants last longer, but are often the messiest.
Experiment with a few natural lubricants and pick which one works best for you.
For Men: Ashwaganda, L-citrulline and Vitamin D3 for Erectile Dysfunction and Low Testosterone
For the men out there, erectile dysfunction (ED) and low testosterone are the top reasons why you lose your sex drive. But before you reach for one of the many prescription treatments for ED and low T, I suggest you consider two things.
First, consider their wide range of side effects: loss of vision, blurred vision, loss of hearing, heart attack, stroke, headache, nausea, and more. Talk with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to consider a prescription approach to ED.
Second, consider natural remedies that are effective and typically safer. Here are a few supplements that stand out from the pack.
Ashwagandha has been used in ancient medicine for over 3,000 years. It’s a cancer-fighting, stress-relieving, blood-detoxifying, and fat-burning adaptogen. As a bonus, modern research shows that it can boost testosterone levels by as much as 130%.
As with most herbal remedies, your choices range from a single capsule to a powder that you can add to drinks or smoothies. I like to brew tea using dried ashwagandha root.
If you opt for the convenience of a supplement, I recommend 675 mg daily. The only side effects of ashwagandha—stomach irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea—were reported as a result of taking too much of it. A daily dose of 675 mg is well below that.
L-citrulline is an amino acid that your body converts into another amino acid called l-arginine. L-arginine, in turn, produces nitric oxide in the body—a natural vasodilator that helps relax and expand your blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely through your body.
Studies link l-citrulline with increasing blood flow to men’s genitals, decreasing symptoms of mild ED and improving the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Look for a supplement with 1.5 grams/day.
A recent study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that 35 percent of men with erectile dysfunction are deficient in vitamin D3. Other studies linked high levels of vitamin D3 with having higher testosterone levels.
I recommend at 1,000–3,000 IUs daily to boost vitamin D3 levels.
Keeping the Embers Hot
But sometimes the answer is simple: the desire just isn’t there. In those cases, I suggest that you consider ways to make sex more exciting and something to look forward to. And you can do so several ways.
First, plan a sex date. Build it up. Get excited for it. It can be the final act of a day-long date: afternoon activities, dinner, a little walk to get your blood flowing, and then your intimate nightcap.
Romantic getaways are perfect for this. It gets you out of the house and out of your daily routines and surroundings. You spend hours together in a stress-free setting. Pick a place that you haven’t been to before so you experience something new together.
Of course, you can’t have a getaway every time you have sex. Consider some changes to make sex more exciting. A different room. A different time of day. Different forms of foreplay (maybe some toys too). Sexy lingerie. Role-playing can add some excitement, and can even bring a few laughs into the bedroom.
The most important thing you can do, of course, is talk honestly with your partner about what makes you want to have sex and what makes you not want to have sex. Maybe certain scents or music can help set the scene for you. Maybe certain foods or clothing are turn offs. Maybe you will never want to have sex on a night you’ve cleaned the bathrooms, but your partner can get you excited after you’ve finished cooking. Even after fifty years together, you haven’t married a mind reader; let your partner know what you need and want, and ask them what they need and want.
Finally, don’t forget sex should be part of a healthy body, not a danger to it.
Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise amongst seniors, because many have given up using condoms once the possibility of pregnancy is removed.
That’s not the only reason to use a condom.
If you’re sexually active with more than one partner, or with new partners, condoms are essential, no matter what your age.
Satisfying Sex at Any Age
A healthy sex life makes for a healthier and happier you. With a little forethought—and a little effort—anyone can have a healthy and active sex life. Common obstacles are just that—obstacles. And many of them can be overcome with just a little research and effort.
- Huffington Post, “Wetter is Better: How To Choose The Best Lube”, Melissa White, Mar 23 2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-white/wetter-is-better-how-to-choose-the-best-lube_b_4598397.html
- Men’s Health, “Pick the perfect lube for your penis”, Rachael Schultz, Jul 2 2014 http://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/pick-the-perfect-lube
- WebMD, “10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex”, Kara Mayer Robinson, Oct 24 2013 http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health