As a man ages, his body will steadily produce less and less testosterone. He may struggle with arousal, maintaining an erection or ejaculation. In addition to these differences in sexual functioning, some men also experience a decrease in muscle tissue, more difficulty concentrating and less energy resulting from hormonal change. Naturally, as a man ages, he is also at a greater risk of illnesses.
For a wife partner, a man’s diminishing sex life could be disappointing, but the woman should know that it is potentially devastating for her husband. A man’s sexuality represents his youthfulness, vitality and masculinity. As a result of this, a woman must be very sensitive in her reaction and response when she notices these changes taking place in her husband.
This is a tremendous loss for him and could likely coincide with other losses, such as retirement or illness. He will need his wife’s reassurance and love, at this time, more than ever.
On the bright side, a woman should note that a decrease is testosterone as a result of aging may have some positive effects on her marriage and relationship. Your man may become more sensitive, nurturing and relational as his sex drive diminishes. Elevated levels of testosterone in men are linked with aggressive and competitive behaviours, while lower levels correlate with nurturing and attachment behaviours. A lot of women observe that their husbands become more interested in talking, bonding and relating well as they age. This is as a result of the decrease in testosterone and libido which has opened up new avenues of relationship.
The effects of aging on sexual desire and functioning also affect a woman’s sexuality. After natural or surgical menopause, a woman’s level of oestrogen decreases. She is likely to experience such symptoms as vaginal dryness, decreased sensitivity to touch and decreased blood flow to the vaginal area. These typically translate to a lower sexual desire, difficulty becoming aroused and even pain during intercourse.
The beauty of it, however, is that modern medicine has provided some remedies for low sex drive related to aging for both men and women. The most common are hormone therapy and medication to increase blood circulation.
An unusually low production of testosterone is medically referred to as hypogonadism. Testosterone in the male body is produced in the testicles. When a problem with the testicles results in low testosterone levels, it is called “primary hypogonadism.” This condition can be caused by chromosomal abnormalities, complications with mumps during adolescence or adulthood, too much iron in the bloodstream, injury to the testicles, cancer treatment and normal aging.
Hormones produced by the pituitary gland and regulated by the hypothalamus signal testosterone production in the testicles. When something goes wrong in this stage of the process, the problem is referred to as “secondary hypogonadism.” Hypothalamic and pituitary disorders, therefore, can cause a lack of testosterone. Inflammatory diseases, HIV, depression, thyroid disease, obesity and certain pain and hormone medications can also contribute to secondary hypogonadism.
Low sexual desire and sexual dysfunction can also result from problems with blood circulation. Just about any systemic illness can impact this aspect of sexual function, including diseases of the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, nerves, arteries or veins.
Medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants and high blood pressure treatments may also be culprits. Lifestyle issues, such as substance abuse, smoking and obesity, as well as the effects of stress and even prolonged cycling can cause erectile dysfunction.
If you experience any of these, remember the importance of adequate and regular medical care. This is where the wife comes handy.
Your husband may be hesitant to ask his doctor about his sexual functioning. Your encouragement, doctor’s advice and medical intervention, when necessary, could make all the difference in your sex life.