My Dear Friends and Readers,
Today I write about a subject that I have never thought about nor have I yet to experience with a male partner. Oddly, I have read or heard little about the aging process and male sexuality. While I have seen myriad commercials about drugs that address male impotence, I have never thought about how aging effects men. What I have learned has been enlightening and hopefully creates empathy and understanding in women who have partners affected by declining testosterone levels.
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to deal with a dry vagina than it is to deal with a semi-erect or a flaccid penis. The changes in male sexuality including desire and and the ability to get erect and stay erect are the result of hormonal changes. Its called Andropause or Aging Male Syndrome. Andropause happens roughly at the same time that women experience menopause- around age 50. At age 30 production of testosterone in men begins to decline. Fortunately the decline is gradual unlike the sudden drop off that occurs in women. According to landmark studies by researchers at the University of Chicago among men ages 50 to 64 one third suffer from erectile dysfunction. From age 65 to 85 that percentage increases to 44%. However, these same studies indicate that more than half of older men never experience erectile function.
Even though the decline in testosterone is gradual, Andropause symptoms in men include lower sex drive, mood changes, decreasing strength and endurance and erections that are less firm. This is not erectile dysfunction, which by the way is not a direct result of aging, but rather the diseases that come with age. Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, being over weight and a sedentary life style are exacerbating factors to erectile dysfunction. Erections require blood flowing to the penis and anything that decreases or impairs blood flow to the penis will effect the ability to have an erect penis. Too much alcohol, smoking, anxiety and stress negatively affect blood flow to the penis.
Like with female hormone replacement there are hormone replacement therapies for men. One of the issues with testosterone replacement for men is that it can make prostate cancers grow. From late night television viewing we have become familiar with the medications that increase blood flow to the penis. Some of the well known medications are Cialis,Viagra, Levitra and Staxyn. These medications while increasing blood flow to the penis also have side effects, such as headache, upset stomach, dizziness, facial flushing, vision changes and nasal congestion. In conjunction with medications there is surgery that can help bring blood flow to the penis. There is also mechanical devices such as pumps and rings that can help a man get an erection and keep one. Both medications and mechanical devices or information about them are readily found on line.
There are simpler and more natural ways to prevent or lessen the effects of aging and male sexuality. These are all things that we hear about, yet sometimes are reluctant to do. Maintaining your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, getting daily exercise, reducing stress levels and getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours a night) are all positive influences against erectile dysfunction. Reducing alcohol consumption to two drinks per day and quitting smoking are beneficial to maintaining and keeping an erection. Researchers say that getting and keeping an erection is easier in the morning than it is in the evening after a long stressful day and a late dinner which might include alcohol. Regular sex will help keep you erect. If you don’t have a partner going solo is better and healthier than not having sex.
Finally, there is a silver lining to aging male sexuality. Post 50 men are less likely to have premature ejaculations and the slower rate of arousal in men after age 50 matches the arousal rate of women. Lastly, it is possible for male ejaculation without an erect penis.
Aging is inevitable but understanding how it manifests in men and women can aide in this transition. Kindness, love and care are great benefits that compensate for a less than erect penis.
Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes