How Does Sexual Functioning Change As We Age?

Aging leads to changes in bodily appearance and organ functioning, lower levels of pituitary hormones, and a higher incidence of illness, injury, disease and chronic pain involving multiple prescriptions for pharmaceutical medications. These bodily changes, along with emotionally stressful life events, e.g., retirement, empty nest, loss of partner, or caring for elderly parents, may adversely affect sexual functioning.

Women

As women enter menopause, no longer ovulate, and their estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels drop, many experience decreased desire for and arousal during sexual activity combined with less powerful orgasms or even inability to attain orgasm. Physiologic changes may include:

o decreased lubrication leading to vaginal dryness and pain
o atrophy or expansion of vaginal tissues
o decreased elevation of the uterus
o reduced muscle tension with few orgasmic contractions
o rapid decrease in arousal after orgasm
o reduced spread of sex flush
o decreased sexual desire and arousal

Men

As males age, decreased testosterone and testicular function, lowered sperm count, enlarged prostate, and reduced muscle tension often cause men to require greater stimulation to become aroused, have less frequent and more easily diminished arousal, decreased sensation, less powerful orgasms, and becoming tired or exhausted for some time after orgasm and ejaculation. Physiologic changes include:

o delayed and less firm penile and nipple erection
o longer excitement phase and longer interval until ejaculation
o decreased pre ejaulatory emissions
o diminished lifting of scrotum and testes
o more rapid return to pre arousal state
o shorter ejaculation time with reduced volume and fewer contractions
o shortened phase of impending orgasm and expulsion of semen
o more rapid loss of erection and longer refractory period

How Can Sexual Functioning and Enjoyment Continue Throughout Life?

As we age, there are some gradual declines in the response rate and reactions of many of our bodily organs and tissues. However, our bodies continue to respond to stimulation as long as we are breathing, our brain is functioning normally, and our heart is pumping.
Having a sexual problem is not unlike having any other type of physical or emotional problem. There is a cause, either physiological, psychological, or a combination of both.

Recommendations for Treatment to Overcome Sexual Problem

o Make an appointment with the appropriate medical doctor to have an evaluation of your physiology: hormone levels, blood vessels, blood flow, acute or chronic infections or other diseases. Depending on your gender and what the specific problem is, you may choose to see a gynecologist, urologist, endocrinologist, internist, gastroenterologist, oncologist, etc.

o Make an appointment with the appropriate psychotherapist (preferably someone who is also certified to provide sexual counseling or sex therapy) for evaluation of your psychological, emotional, mental and spiritual state. Depending on what you believe is the primary issue (your relationship, your family situation, your own self image or sexual concerns, your own religious or spiritual conflicts), you may choose to see a Marriage and Family Therapist, a Mental Health Counselor or Professional Counselor, a Social Worker, or a Psychologist.

o If your mental and emotional concerns are severely interfering with your ability to function in your everyday life, you probably should consult with a psychiatrist who can evaluate you and provide appropriate medications to alleviate your overwhelming symptoms. Then, you may be better able to gain insight and the capability of overcoming your problems if you also work with a psychotherapist.

o If you are courageous and really want to overcome a long term physical problem (such as a woman having vaginal pain or vaginnismus), you may choose to see a physical therapist who is trained to work with pelvic floor dysfunctions.

o Work with a body therapist, someone who is trained to alleviate neuromuscular tensions and other body dysfunctions. You may be surprised how many physical problems in distant parts of your body are related to your current sexual problem.

Fighting the Pain of Sexual Abuse Through Counseling

As a young child, I was sexually abused by a family friend. This thoughtless, abusive act has forever changed my life. It has not just changed who I am but how I see things, how I view myself, how I make decisions and how I live my life. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have struggled with self-esteem and anger issues, trusting others, accepting help from others, self-injurious behavior and a host of other issues which I can directly connect with my abuse as a child.

For many years, I have attended therapy and have cycled through a number of different therapists and counselors. It is not that each of my counselors or therapists was not good as what they did. On the contrary, each professional with whom I worked in regard to my experience played an important role in my healing process. Each one, in some way, affected me positively in my continuing recovery.

My journey through counseling is not yet over, in fact, it is just at its beginning stages. For many years, I have attended individual counseling. In individual counseling, I have learned to discuss my fears and other emotions, understand where my underlying issues originate and how to control my emotions and avoid potentially dangerous situations. I have also attended group counseling which offers a dynamic like no other I have found in any of my other therapy. In group therapy, I associated with and found friends in other survivors and created a kinship that cannot be created in any other way than to have experienced similar situations. I learned new coping skills from other survivors and gained a sense of empowerment from the strong group of survivors with whom I attended the group.

As I have, you too can heal from your sexual abuse experience(s) with the assistance of sexual abuse counseling. Through counseling, you will learn new ways to deal with your experience and learn to love yourself for who you are. You will learn that the abuse was not and is not your fault because it is not. You can gain a healthier self-esteem and self-understanding. If you have been sexually abused, counseling can help!

Phone Sex – The Dangers of Phone Sex For Teenagers in a New Era of Technology

Phone sex used to be something more of a paid service for adults. It wasn’t uncommon for a male teenager to engage in this activity by dialing a 1-900 number after looking through his father’s adult magazine while home alone. This was mainly an impersonal experience and usually the perceived voice was never who was advertised. We all know the cliche jokes on phone sex operators, no need to dig too deep on the subject. Simply, it was more impersonal and costly, but a threat was never there for either party other than a lashing from the father when he got a phone bill.

These days, there are no $3.00 a minute fees, phone sex is free. This activity also no longer belongs to those employed by a sex agency and some unwitting teenage boy, but is now being done by teenage girls, college women, professional women, bachelors, and married men.

What has changed more than who engages in the act of phone sex is the technology it is performed on. Modern day cell phones are acting more and more like personal computers and with camera phones capable of snapshots and video, phone sex is more interactive than ever before. Smartphones allow easier interaction with voice, Internet, video, and text.

What makes phone sex more dangerous than at any other time in the past is the fact that many of transmitted images can be stored and shared with others. The wrong images in the wrong hands can be giving fuel to predators, stalkers, and sex traffickers online, making this dangerous for females as well as males. If your image can be shared with others, then there is a chance your phone number and other personal information can be shared as well making you easy prey. You don’t need to have phone sex with a stranger for a stranger to have your private photos and videos, remember that.

To protect your teenagers from this threat, it may take more than just talking and trust. The only 100% way to make sure your teen is not transmitting x-rated photos of themselves is to not have text or Internet enabled with their cell phone service. Sounds harsh, and it won’t prevent your teen from engaging in this activity on the Internet at home, but then they are at least safe at home, right? Yes, your teenager can still use their phone and say lewd things, but minimizing the tools available to them that enables them to enrich the act with additional media is at least one measure towards protecting your child.

The act of text messaging over a cell phone for sexual purposes is an act now dubbed “SEXTING”. This method can include photo exchanging with image enabled text messaging phones, or phones with the service activated.

The threat with cell phones is that your teen can easily be away from home while engaging and even arranging sexual encounters over the phone. Mobility is the threat and can become much more dangerous when coupled with additional technology. A predator can now verify a victims appearance beforehand, use fake photos of himself to lure the child, and meet up without the child even knowing the truth of that persons age or demeanour.

The scariest statistic on sex predation is that the majority of the rapes that result from the practice of phone and Internet sex are teenage males. The majority of these crimes go unreported due to either humiliation or the fact that the child is exploring their sexuality. Parents tend to keep a more blind eye when it comes to teenage males believing that it is mainly females that fall victim to sexual predators.

Be cautious and aware. This is a new era, and the same old games may result in a bigger loss than a large phone bill.