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Senior Sexual Health: Why It's Important To Talk To Your Doctor

Jun 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of San Marcos

A new poll has shown that about half of seniors who are in a romantic relationship are sexually active. On top of that, about two thirds of respondents say they’re at least interested in sex.

The poll focused on those aged 65 to 80, and asked about sexual activity, as well as the level of comfort with seeking help/advice on the topic with a medical professional. One thousand adults were selected across the country in a manner that statistically represents all older Americans.

Despite the poll results, however, seniors in general – including the sexually active half – were found to rarely talk about this topic with their doctors, or even their partners!

Why is this a Problem?

For starters, medication interactions are a large issue.

Almost a fifth of older men and at least 3% of women reported taking some sort of supplement or medication in the past two years to improve their sexual function.

While some of these medications are prescribed or at least FDA-approved, others are not. This is why it’s important for seniors to talk to their doctors about their sexual health, as they could be counteracting any other medications they may be taking, or creating potential complications for themselves.

Secondly, because of this lack of conversation or the taboo nature around senior sex, there has been an increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs, formerly called STDs) in seniors. Some of these can be treated fully while others are chronic, but either way, treatment cannot be received if these conversations are not being had between patient and doctor.

Doctors Tiptoe Around the Topic

It turns out that more healthcare professionals refrain from asking older patients about their sexual health because they assume it is disrespectful or offensive to them.

This shows a disconnect between these doctors and their older patients, as the poll also showed that for 88% of those who did speak with their doctor about their sexual health, they felt comfortable discussing it, regardless of who brought it up.

Just because either end may want to discuss the patient’s sexual health, however, dose not mean the conversations will be had. Even in regards to talking about questions or issues with their spouse, only 36% said they felt comfortable.

Better Inclusion Means Better Results

However, including seniors in “taboo” polls such as this one is the first step in the right direction. Without knowing how seniors (or their doctors) truly feel, this lack of communication cannot be resolved.

These results can shed great light on what needs to be done to improve senior sex health – especially since over half of respondents say sex is an important part of their quality of life!

What You Can Do

Break this taboo stigma by talking to your spouse and your doctor on your own accord. The conversations may be awkward in some ways, but going in prepared with questions, comments and concerns can steer the conversation away from awkwardness and towards productivity.

Make talking about sex an integral part of your health care and you’ll see how much better your quality of life is!

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