2.11 What are the advantages to getting older?

This might surprise some readers but when I ask patients,the most common answer is “Dr. Laury, sex is better now.” Almost
invariably, my patients agree that getting older has its advantages and that includes sex. There is a lifetime’s experience to tap into.Many of people’s inhibitions particularly in regards to sexuality have been overcome. Commonly, patients describe sex in the teens and twenties as somewhat of a gymnastic experience: howlong they did they last, where they did it, in what position, etc.). As people age, sex becomes more an expression of love, comfort and sharing. In addition, after menopause, there is no fear of pregnancy which may improve relations. Many of my younger patients have major stress dealing with this possibility. They lose sleep, they take the morning after pill, they have relationship issues because of the potential of an unwanted pregnancy. Forget all of that after menopause. Younger folks often have to work around menstrual bleeding. Though some people have sex during menses, they tend to be in the minority. After menopause, sex can occur at any time. A 2000 National Council on Aging (NCOA) study found that 90% of the elderly felt that they were satisfied with their lifeup until the time of the study. In addition, 45% felt that these were the best years of their life. When sexually active older people were more specifi cally queried about the emotional satisfaction they get from sex, 74% of men and 70% of women said they were at least as satisfi ed or more than they were in their 40s. In an AARP/Modern Maturity magazine survey in over 45 year olds done in 1999, they found that 67% of people with sexual partners were extremely or somewhat satisfi ed with their sex lives. Having said all of the above, I need to at least acknowledge the possibility of sadness after menopause because of the loss of fertility. This can be distressful to some people. Financially, there can also be advantages to aging. Student loans, mortgages, college costs areless common. So, over all, there are definite benefits to aging.

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