October 15, 2018
Sex: The Bigger Picture

Sex: The Bigger Picture

by Berkeley Wellness  

Sexual desire varies from one person to another. It tends to decline with age. Some older people can accept that, but for others it is a major problem. Underlying factors may be involved, including depression, anxiety, health problems and hormonal abnormality—as well as lack of a partner interested in sex. Partners often have different ideas about what constitutes healthy sex, along with different ideas about arousing sexual desire.

Erectile dysfunction is now regarded as a key indicator of health in general, not an isolated symptom. As many as half of all older men have it, but younger men get it, too, at least occasionally.

Anything that impairs blood flow in the penis—such as circulatory problems, diabetes, nerve disorders, heart disease and prostate cancer treatment—can cause erectile dysfunction. Certain medications (such as blood pressure drugs, antidepressants and tranquilizers) may contribute to it, as can smoking, excessive alcohol intake and low testosterone levels. Psychological factors often complicate physical ones.

If you have an underlying illness, treatment may restore sexual potency. If your problem is largely psychological, your physician can refer you to a therapist.

Drugs for erectile dysfunction help many men, but not all men can (or should) take them. They can have serious side effects, especially when taken with other drugs. And only a small number of men need to take testosterone, which is available by prescription.