Category Archives: Andropause

The nitty-gritty of middle-age sex

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‘It’s good to experiment’

By Alana Kirk

If you are drinking your morning coffee while reading this, then perhaps this article should come with a warning. There are going to be phrases that we tend not to discuss much in public such as vaginal dryness, loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. However, they are a natural part of life, and if we want to continue to be active sexual people well into middle age and beyond, then we have to acknowledge and then address them, because turning the trials and tribulations of middle-age sex into the joy of sex is not difficult.

Sex is important to all of us, regardless of age. Not only is it excellent for getting the blood pumping and putting a youthful spring in your step, it has a number of other benefits too, such as reducing stress, strengthening your immune system, boosting self-esteem, and relieving depression.

The famous manual, The Joy of Sex, still has some salient advice for middle- aged and older people even though it was written nearly 50 years ago. It’s author Alex Comfort wrote: “The things that stop you enjoying sex in an old age are the same things that stop you from riding a bicycle – bad health, thinking it’s silly and no bicycle”.

Well, we can pump up a flat tyre, add some lubricating oil, and still be having sexual enjoyment with no partner. As recent research has shown, and despite an ageist societal view on the topic, our sexuality doesn’t die with middle and growing age. Our sexual needs and levels evolve and change over the years, and the particular issues that might arise from menopause, for example, do not mean we should give up on it. We just need to learn to adapt.

Emily Power Smith may be Ireland’s only clinical sexologist, and talks to large numbers of middle-aged women in her clinics and at talks around the country. “I’ve spoken and written more on this topic than any other related to sex, and the main driver for women coming to me with an issue is poor education. Generally women are very misinformed about what they should be expecting and are very quick to blame themselves.”

If we look at sexual activity as a life-long issue, there can be plenty of interruptions to the normal flow, including illness, childbirth and child rearing, loss of confidence, menopause, and hormonal fluctuations. Low libido, erectile dysfunction, and vaginal dryness are all just normal challenges that can affect our sexual lives, but importantly, ones that can be easily addressed.

“We do specific menopause consultations and counselling for women who start experiencing changes and want to know that they are a normal part of the ageing process,” says Dr Shirley McQuade, medical director of the Dublin Well Woman Centre. “Many women come in with a specific symptom thinking it’s all over, but in fact nearly all issues can be addressed. You just need to realise that your, and your partner’s body changes.”

So what are the main issues and what can be done about them?

Peri-menopausal symptoms

Menopause can effect every aspect of your being, and symptoms including hot flushes, not sleeping, and poor concentration levels, can affect how you feel about yourself.

“Hormonal changes can mean your libido and sex drive go, as well and the emotional havoc they can play,” explains Dr McQuaid. Mood swings, empty nest syndrome, trying teenagers, or work/life balance can weigh in to make us feel less than energetic about sex.

“It is really important to take the time for yourself when you are peri-menopausal, to take stock and adjust to the changes that are happening. I see lots of women who have reached senior career level or have lots of people depend on them and it can be difficult because they feel overwhelmed and aren’t giving enough time to themselves to deal with how they feel.”

The advice is to take pressure off yourself, and try and cull some of the responsibilities. Exercise, eat and sleep well and acknowledge that you can seek help if you need it. “I’ve seen women go to cardiologists because they think they have heart problems when they wake up sweating in the night, or go to rheumatologists with joint pain, when in fact they are just the symptoms of hormonal change.”

Hormone Replacement Therapy

HRT is a common treatment for women who are suffering from continued and difficult symptoms, and it only takes two or three weeks to find out if it will work for you. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NicE) in their 2015 recommendations, the benefits of HRT, available in tablet form, gels, and patches far outweigh any risks.

According to Dr McQuaid, it is a positive option to take. “About 15 years ago there were scares about risks relating to heart disease and cancer, but the studies were seriously flawed. For women who take it through their 50s, the benefits are significant.”

HRT is available for as long as your symptoms last, with the average duration being eight years. Despite scaremongering to the contrary, there are no withdrawal symptoms or problems when you stop taking the drug, as long as you leave it long enough for your natural menopause to conclude. HRT masks the symptoms, so if you stop before they have fully receded, they will return.

Not all women experience menopausal symptoms, and for women who do, they do eventually pass.

Vaginal dryness

It is completely normal for most women in menopause to experience dryness. The drop in your body’s oestrogen levels means the vaginal membranes become thinner and drier which can makes for uncomfortable dryness. As a result, thrush and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are also more common. Lubrication is widely available and will transform your sexual experience if dryness is a problem. Dr McQuaid also recommends treating the underlying issue rather than just the symptom. A prescription product, licensed in Ireland as Vagifem, provides low levels of oestrogen to the local area, and if taken over the longer term can alleviate all symptoms of dryness. Regular sexual activity or stimulation from masturbation also promotes vaginal health and blood flow.

Erectile dysfunction

For men who may identify their every maleness with work and sexual ability, a lowering of libido or erectile dysfunction can be catastrophic. However, accepting that this will happen occasionally, and seeing it a normal part of the ageing process and hormonal changes may encourage them to seek help. The advice is to go to your GP to get checked out to make sure erectile dysfunction is not related to vascular changes and bold pressure / diabetes, and then again there is a simple medication solution.

Painful intercourse

Again this can be a common change in sexual experience, usually due to vaginal dryness. However, other reasons could be a prolapse of the uterus or front wall of vagina which can cause discomfort, so the first port of call for any pain is to get examined by your GP or at the Well Women clinics. All issues can be addressed with medication or procedures.

Heavy periods

A common complaint for women entering peri-menopause is very heavy periods, which are caused by the womb being uncomfortable and bulky. Some women from the age of 40 develop fibroids which make the womb heavier and along with hormonal fluctuations, combine to make structural and hormonal changes that affect the flow of periods. Some women have low iron levels, because heavy periods are the main reason for low iron which makes you tired, so it’s important to keep a medical check on your body while going through the menopause.

Traditionally this was often treated by a hysterectomy, whereas today women can access the pill or coil. All countries where the coil has been introduced have seen a significant reduction in hysterectomy operations.

Change of mind

Addressing specific symptoms is only one way of evolving our sexual lives. Changing the way we have sex is another. “I meet women who have only ever used one position, and now that that proves painful they are at a loss,” explains Dr McQuaid. “It’s useful to experiment and change. It’s more interesting too!”

What we need to remember is that sex is not just about intercourse. There is a variety of sensual, loving, exciting activities that can bring joy and satisfaction. For women experiencing menopause especially, they might need and want more touching and foreplay than before, but after years of marriage, it can be more difficult to change. Asking for what you need is important. Tantric sex – slightly ridiculed in the press after Sting and Trudie Styler admitted to it – is encouraged by many counsellors as it focuses on the sensual intimacy rather than an orgasmic goal.

Whatever the issue with sex may be, Dr McQuaid advises you start with a medical to check to make sure everything is okay. Once that is done, it’s just about dealing with specific issues. “I’ve had a 78-year-old woman come to me recently having a little bit of trouble because her partner has been given Viagra. So she went on Vagifem and has no more problems,” says McQuaid. “I have lots of women come to us for help and they’re happy and healthy and they certainly don’t stop having a sex life. Nor should they.”

Psychologically however, it is also important to rise above the social conditioning that we lose our sexiness as we get older. “There is just no scientific evidence to back this up,” explains Power Smith. “Irish women are very quick to blame themselves and feel guilty for not being better, not feeling enough or good enough. In part we are brought up to feel this way with magazines and media, and then when middle age hits, physical things happen to compound that.” She has three golden rules for women in their middle age with regards to keeping their sex lives healthy and functioning: masturbation, lubrication and communication.

So while the number of potential causes of sexual changes and challenges during menopause and middle ageing can seem overwhelming, there are just as many strategies and treatments for overcoming them.

You can go back to drinking your coffee now.

Complete Article HERE!

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What getting intimate at 60 really means

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Most people assume getting saucy under the sheets it just for the young, but what about the young at heart?

By Ashley Macleod and Marita McCabe

Sexuality encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction and what we think, feel and believe about them. It has been a research focus for over a hundred years, and highlighted as an important part of the human experience. Since the first studies on human sexuality in the 1940s, research has consistently demonstrated that sexual interest and activity are sustained well into old age. However, only a fraction of the research has explored sexuality in the later years of life.

Most of the early research on sexuality and ageing looked at the sexual behaviours and biology of older adults, generally ignoring the wider concept of sexuality. When researchers did discuss sexuality more broadly, many referred to sexuality as the domain of the young, and emphasised this was a major barrier to the study of sexuality in older adults.

Sexuality in later life ignored

Towards the end of the 20th century, research expanded to include attitudes towards sexual expression in older adults, and the biological aspects of sexuality and ageing. Consistently, the research showed sexual expression is possible for older adults, and sustained sexual activity into old age is more likely for those who had active sex lives earlier in life.

By the late 1980s, there was a strong focus on the biological aspects of ageing. This expanded to include the reasons behind sexual decline. The research found these were highly varied and many older adults remain sexually active well into later life.

But despite evidence adults continue to desire and pursue sexual expression well into later life, both society in general and many health professionals have inadvertently helped perpetuate the myth of the asexual older person. This can happen through an unintentional lack of recognition, or an avoidance of a topic that makes some people uncomfortable.

Why does this matter?

These ageist attitudes can have an impact on older adults not only in their personal lives, but also in relation to their health needs. Examples include the failure of medical personnel to test for sexually transmissible infections in older populations, or the refusal of patients to take prescribed medications because of adverse impacts on erection rigidity. We need more health practitioners to be conscious of and incorporate later life sexuality into the regular health care of older adults. We still have a long way to go.

By ignoring the importance of sexuality for many older adults, we fail to acknowledge the role that sexuality plays in many people’s relationships, health, well-being and quality of life. Failure to address sexual issues with older patients may lead to or exacerbate marital problems and result in the withdrawal of one or both partners from other forms of intimacy. Failure to discuss sexual health needs with patients can also lead to incorrect medical diagnoses, such as the misdiagnosis of dementia in an older patient with HIV.

It’s not about ‘the deed’ itself

In a recent survey examining sexuality in older people, adults aged between 51 and 89 were asked a series of open-ended questions about sexuality, intimacy and desire, and changes to their experiences in mid-life and later life. This information was then used to create a series of statements that participants were asked to group together in ways they felt made sense, and to rank the importance of each statement.

The most important themes that emerged from the research encompassed things such as partner compatibility, intimacy and pleasure, and factors that influence the experience of desire or the way people express themselves sexually. Although people still considered sexual expression and sexual urges to be important, they were not the focus for many people over 45.

Affectionate and intimate behaviours, trust, respect and compatibility were more important aspects of sexuality than intercourse for most people. Overall, the message was one about the quality of the experience and the desire for connection with a partner, and not about the frequency of sexual activities.

People did discuss barriers to sexual expression and intimacy such as illness, mood or lack of opportunity or a suitable partner, but many felt these were not something they focused on in their own lives. This is in line with the data that shows participants place a greater importance on intimacy and affectionate behaviours such as touching, hugging and kissing, rather than intercourse.

These results help us challenge the existing stereotype of the “asexual older person” and the idea intercourse is necessary to be considered sexually active. They also make it clear researchers and health practitioners need to focus on a greater variety of ways we can improve the experience and expressions of sexuality and intimacy for adults from mid-life onwards beyond medical interventions (like Viagra) that focus on prolonging or enhancing intercourse.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Thrill Is Gone

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Name: Billy
Gender: Male
Age: 46
Location:
I have heard it’s normal for sex drive to diminish as you age. I’ll run this by you. I’m a 46 year old male and the last time I was at a strip club with bare boobs bouncing around me, you may as well have rolled a grapefruit across the floor. Actually, I can see more use from the grapefruit. I don’t recall the last time I did it, and jerking off was almost disgusting. My tool has shrank to nothing. I barely touch it and it just dribbles, it doesn’t fire off anymore. I don’t even like to touch it to go piss anymore. I’ve had to shave around it, so I actually find it, to keep from pissing my pants. Is this normal?

No, Billy, this isn’t normal. I think you already know that too, right?

andropauseDo you know anything about andropause? If not, you ought to. Here’s what I suggest. Use this site’s search function in the sidebar. Type in the key word: “andropause” and you will come up with a wealth of information about this issue.

You can also use the CATEGORY pull down menu. Look for the subcategory: Sex and Aging, under the main category: Aging. Everything is alphabetized.

But for the time being, here’s a typical question and response —

Name: Wilson
Gender: male
Age: 58
Location: Lancing MI
I’m a successful entrepreneur, in decent health (I could stand to lose a few pounds.) I have just about everything a man could want in life, but I’m miserable. I have no energy and I feel like I’m sleepwalking through my life. I have no sex drive at all; my wife thinks I’m having an affair…I wish. Even Viagra doesn’t do the trick anymore. Is this just old age, or what?

Old age, at 58? Middle age, perhaps! Regardless what we call it, you sound like you’re in the throws of andropause — male menopause — ya know, the change of life!

Never heard of such a thing? You’re not alone. It’s only been recently has the medical industry has begun to pay attention to the impact changing hormonal levels has on the male mind and body. Most often andropause is misdiagnosed as depression and treated with an antidepressant. WRONG!andropause-1

Every man will experience a decrease testosterone, the “male” hormone, as he ages. This decline is gradual, often spanning ten to fifteen years on average. While the gradual decrease of testosterone does not display the profound effects that menopause does, the end results are similar.

There is no doubt that a man’s sexual response changes with advancing age and the decrease of testosterone. Sexual urges diminish, erections are harder to come by, they’re not as rigid, there’s less jizz shot with less oomph. And our refractory period (or interval) between erections is more pronounced too.

While most all of us have heard of a mid-life crisis, and it’s tragic consequences — red convertible sports cars, comb-overs, and the trophy wife or lover — fewer have heard of andropause. A mid-life crisis is essentially a psycho-social adjustment to aging — bored at work, bored at home, bored with the wife or partner — that sort of thing. Andropause, although it may coincide with a mid-life crisis, is not the same thing. Andropause is a distinct physiological phenomenon that is in many ways akin to female menopause.

Unlike women, men can continue to father children after andropause, but like I said, the production of testosterone diminishes gradually after age 40. I suppose you know that testosterone is the hormone that stimulates sexual development in the male infant, bone and muscle growth in adult males, and is responsible for our sexual drive. But did you know that by the age of 55, the amount of testosterone secreted into our bloodstream is significantly lower than at 45. And by age 80, most male hormone levels have decreased to pre-puberty levels.

Men, are you over 50? Are you feeling weak, lethargic, depressed, and irritable? Do you have mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia, and decreased libido, like our buddy Wilson, here? Then you too may be andropausal. You need to get some lead back in your pencil!

mutateAll kidding aside, andropausal men might want to consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Ask your physician about this. Just know that some medical professionals resist testosterone therapy, mistakenly linking Testosterone Replacement Therapy with prostate cancer. Even though recent evidence shows prostatic disease is estrogen-dependent rather than testosterone-dependent. However, before starting a testosterone regiment, insist on a complete physical, including blood work and a rectal examine. Mmmm, rectal exams!

Testosterone is available in many forms — oral, injectable, trans-dermal and by way of implants. The oral form is not recommended because of the high risk of liver damage. But injections, patches, pellets, creams and gels might be just the answer. I encourage you to be informed about TRT before you approach your doctor, because the best medicine is practiced collaboratively — by you and your doctor.

Good luck

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Too pooped to pop

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Name: Djon
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Location:
I’m a 54-year-old man, who 3 years ago managed to finally come out and live the life I so desperately longed for all my life. My question — is there a biological clock in men like the issues women have to deal with in menopause. During the last years of my marriage there was no sex life other than with myself. Now I’m living a fantastic life, with a great man who I love very much. I know there is more to life than sex but now that I’m finally able to express myself physically with a man my ability to perform is just not working.

I’ve tried Viagra and such years ago. They used to work in maintaining an erection, it was just by myself, but I always had fun. The headache’s and discomforts from the meds bring up the question — do I really want to take this?

But now the med’s don’t even help, and as for my libido it suffers with my lack of ability. I’ve been tested for testosterone levels and they say I’m right where I should be at for my age. I’ve seen two doctors about the issue and when they find out my partner’s sex they don’t want to deal with it and seem to just pass it off as an age thing.

I’m in fairly decent good shape, I exercise 3 – 4 days a week at the gym, can you send me any advice on a path to take.

A little frustrated: Djon

A little frustrated? Holy cow, darlin’, you sound a lot frustrated. I don’t blame ya. You finally find what’s been missing throughout your whole life only to discover that your plumbing is now givin’ out on you. Ain’t that a bitch! And before I continue I want to tell you and all the other alternative lifestyle people in my audience, don’t settle for a sex-negative physician no matter what. Dion, find yourself a sex-positive doctor that will look beyond your choice of partner and give you the respect you deserve! Damn, I hate shit like that.

andropause2258You raise an interesting question about the aging process when you ask if men experience something similar to menopause in women. The short answer is — yeah, you betcha! In fact, it even has a name; andropause.  I’ve written and spoken extensively about this very subject. Here’s what I want you to do. Look for the CATEGORIES section in the sidebar, look for the category — AGING. There you will find everything I’ve written and said about Andropause, and Sex and Aging.

You’ll find a whole lot more information there than I can put together for you in this posting. However, I can offer you an overview. It’s only been recently that the medical industry has started to pay attention to the impact changing hormonal levels have on the male mind and body. Most often andropause is misdiagnosed as depression and treated with an antidepressant. WRONG!

Every man will experience a decrease testosterone, the “male” hormone, as he ages. This decline is gradual, often spanning ten to fifteen years on average. While the gradual decrease of testosterone does not display the profound effects that menopause does, the end results are similar.

And listen, when a physician says that your testosterone level falls within an acceptable range, he/she isn’t telling you much. Let’s just say you had an elevated level of testosterone all your life, till now. Let’s say that you now register on the lower end of “acceptable”. That would mean that you’ve had a significant loss in testosterone. But your doctor wouldn’t know that, because he has no baseline for your normal testosterone level to begin with.andropause

There is no doubt that a man’s sexual response changes with advancing age and the decrease of testosterone. Sexual urges diminish, erections are harder to come by, they’re not as rigid, there’s less jizz shot with less oomph. And our refractory period (or interval) between erections is more pronounced too.

Andropausal men might want to consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Just know that most medical professionals, like yours, Dion, resist testosterone therapy. Some mistakenly link Testosterone Replacement Therapy with prostate cancer. Even though recent evidence shows prostatic disease is estrogen-dependent rather than testosterone-dependent. I encourage you to be fully informed about TRT before you approach your doctor, your new sex positive doctor, because the best medicine is practiced collaboratively — by you and your doctor.

Finally, getting the lead back in your pencil, so to speak, may simply be an issue of taking more time with arousal play. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds like you once did. Also, use a cockring.  But most of all, fuckin’ relax, why don’t cha already. Your anxiety is short-circuiting your wood, my friend. And only you can stop that.

Good luck

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Never too old

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Hey sex fans!

Before we get to today’s Q&A, I have two announcements. First, allow me to introduce you to my new Tumblr site: SEx AdViCe wITH An EDGe. It’s deliciously smutty, don’t cha know. Second, podcasts will resume this coming Monday with a remarkable guest, erotic filmmaker, Kyle Henry.

Alrighty, now to my correspondent.

Name: Macwinhar
Gender: Male (I’m gonna guess)
Age:
Location:
DR. DICK, We have been together almost 25 years. I feel like we need to spice it up. He has had some health issues with knee replacements. He feels he is not a good top any longer. But for me is, that is not the issue. It is not about the topping as is about the intimacy. I am not sure what to do? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sexual boredom often sets in to long-term relationships. And the health issues that accompany the aging process can also throw a wrench in the sexual works, so to speak. These challenges can either be an opportunity for some creative problem solving or they can completely extinguish sexual interest all together.andropause3

I’m disappointed in you, sir! You suggest in your message that butt fuckin’ is the only sexual expression open to you fellas. Surely, you can be a bit more resourceful than that. Have you taken the time to check in with your partner lately to inquire about his sexual needs and desires? If not, I suggest you begin the rehabilitation of your sexual mojo there.

Let me ask you a few pointed questions. Could you guys invite a third party to join you as a periodic sexual playmate? Ya know what they say; “Twosies beat onesies, but nothing be threes.”

How about a little role-playing, a new sex toy, or something kinky, maybe some BDSM perhaps. It’s easy to lose interest in sex when the play is boring, repetitive and ho-hum.

Here’s what I want you guys to do, and I do mean both of you. I want you to mozie on over to my online sex emporium and pick out something new and interesting. Look for the MY STOCKROOM banner in the sidebar for access to this great resource. I want you to pick something for him and I want him to pick something for you.

sexy daddiesI’ve put together a dazzling array of products that will liven up even the most humdrum sex life. Pay particular attention to the COUPLES section of My Stockroom. You’ll find loads of interesting things for couples of every stripe.

Still not sure what to buy? Take a look at my ever so popular adult product review site, Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews.

There are several sex manuals available in MY STOCKROOM, and even more elsewhere online. You could consult one of them for ideas if you can’t tap into your own god-given queer creativity.

Just in case this hasn’t crossed your mind, us men folk go through physiological and hormonal changes in midlife, just like women do. There’s even a name for it — andropause — the male menopause as it were. http://www.drdicksextoyreviews.com/ As we age, both women and men need more time and stimulation to get aroused. So keep that in mind as you shop for your new sexual accessories. Look for things that will enhance and extend the arousal phase of sex play.sexy daddies 02

Increased focus on sensuality, intimacy, and communication will help a sexual relationship stay rich and rewarding even well into one’s senior years. If you’re not talking to you partner about the issues as they arise; you are missing an opportunity to course-correct at the most beneficial time, while the issue is front and center. Need some help communicating? Why not connect with a sex-positive therapist in your area for a little refresher course.

If your old man is avoiding butt fucking because of his knees, you guys might consider trying a new position, one that won’t involve him being on his knees. Look for my tutorial on sex positions: Basic Sexual Positions For One And All! And if that don’t solve your problem, there are still many ways of expressing his ardor that don’t involve his knees. How about some sensual massage, erotic bondage, or some good old-fashioned mutual masturbation with a swell new sex toy like the Fleshlight?

Remember sex oughta be an adventure even for an old “married” couple like you guys. If you don’t take all the opportunities to make things adventurous as they present themselves, you will find that these opportunities will simply vanish. And you’ll be shit out of luck then, darlin’.

Good Luck

Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

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