The good news in your 60s: You’re savoring your relationship, and the sex may be better than ever. (Yes, it’s true.)
The reality check in your 60s: The key to romantic success is understanding that both of you are experiencing body changes.
- Your relationship status is happy ... In your 60s, your enhanced social intelligence and ability to compromise make living together easier. A whopping 98 percent of people in their late 60s say they are “very” or “pretty” happy with their marriage. Yes, the divorce rate for Americans age 65-plus has tripled since the 1990s, but the bottom line is that only about 6 in 1,000 older spouses are calling it quits.
- This makes your heart happy, too. Marital satisfaction can protect women and men from health issues such as diabetes, depression and heart disease later in life.
- You’re having a great time in bed. A study of older women (median age 67) in the American Journal of Medicine found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age, and the majority of women in their 60s reported achieving orgasm most of the time or always. And the 2017 Singles in America survey of more than 5,000 single adults, sponsored by Match.com, discovered that the age of greatest sexual satisfaction was 66 for women and 64 for men.
- But staying healthy is important. People who gave their health top ratings were 30 to 50 percent more likely to still be sexually active in their 50s, 60s and 70s than were those in poor health, according to an in-depth study of 6,037 American women and men. And if good health leads to more sex, then it makes sense that more sex is good for your health.
- The more sex you have now, the lower your risk for dementia in your later years. (And no, that’s not a come-on.) A 2018 study in the Journals of Gerontology looked at 73 participants ages 50 to 83. Each underwent a cognitive assessment and answered a questionnaire on general health and lifestyle. Researchers reported that weekly sexual activity was a significant predictor of higher cognitive function.
- Most men are still performing just fine ... About 33 percent of men in their 60s report erectile problems, and more than half of men never develop them. The biggest risk to potency may be prostate illness: Men with prostate cancer are 10 to 15 times more likely to experience sexual dysfunction.
- It may be happening a little less often. In college, a man’s refractory period (the time he needs between having orgasms) can be as short as three to five minutes. Men in their 60s, however, may need up to 24 hours to recover from a between-the-sheets workout before they are ready for the next round.
- A little more vegetable juice couldn’t hurt. In a small study that looked at the effectiveness of beet juice in improving heart health, researchers also noticed that the juice improved potency in male subjects, because its high nitrate levels helped arteries to relax — which is exactly the way that erectile dysfunction drugs work.
- Women may need a helping hand in bed. Vaginal atrophy is the term for thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls after menopause, a condition caused by a reduction in estrogen. Your doctor may suggest specific treatments such as estrogen cream or perhaps an oral medication to increase libido. To find a health care provider who has been certified in menopause management, contact the North American Menopause Society at www.menopause.org.
- You both may find you’re interrupted by more frequent trips to the loo ... The “genitourinary syndrome of menopause” (GSM) caused by reduced estrogen may include other side effects, such as a weakening of the muscles in the pelvic wall, which can make bladder control more challenging. But men face their own bathroom issues: About half of men in their 60s experience an enlarged prostate; this may make urination more difficult or occur more often. You may also have trouble during sleep. After about age 65, your kidneys produce more urine at night and less during the day, according to sleep researcher Theodore M. Johnson II, chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta. Taking diuretics (water pills) for heart issues and having fluid buildup in your feet and legs during the day can make the situation worse.
- You may also get interrupted by rebounding millennials. Fifteen percent of people age 25 to 35 still live at home with their parents.