Research suggests that sex in the elderly population has its benefits, yet only 30% of men and 7% of women aged 76-80 think about sex on a weekly basis. Dr. Drapkin, M.D., offers his advice on maintaining a healthy sex life.
Clearwater, Fla., November 2, 2016—Sex amongst the elderly is rapidly declining. In a study by Britain’s International Longevity Centre, only 30% of men and 7% of women aged 76-80 thought about sex once a week.1 As men and women age further, thoughts about sex decrease even more.1 For men aged 81-85, just 20% thought about sex, and the number of women thinking about it dropped to close to none.1 Likewise, men and women are having sexual intercourse at much lower rates as they age.1 In the International Longevity Centre study, 60% of men and 37% of women over 65 were still sexually active.1
Studies have shown that there are numerous health benefits to be gained from having sex over age 50. Research published in Age and Ageing reveals that an active sex life for those aged 50-89 leads to a higher level of cognitive ability.2 The study reports that seniors who regularly have sex obtain higher scores in word recall and sequencing numbers.2 Another study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, determined that women aged 57 and older who have sex once or more per week have a lower risk of hypertension.3 Another way to understand these data is to consider the ability to have sex a measure of your overall health.
Understanding “SEX” begins with knowing how the central and peripheral nervous systems, anatomy, emotions, hormones and blood flow all work together. Sexual stimulation causes the release of chemicals that increase blood flow to the vagina and penis. This increases vaginal lubrication in the female and in the male allows an erection. Once these chemicals are no longer released, both vaginal lubrication and the male erection dissipate. Any pathology along this process can prevent sexual activity. There are both emotional and physiological causes, but sexual problems are symptoms of a chronic metabolic condition due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
For example, the current epidemic of insulin-resistant diabetes, along with high rates of hypertension, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, strokes and joint disease are all associated with higher rates of sexual dysfunction, noted Dr. Drapkin.
In addition, as muscle loss accelerates after age 30, the body weakens, leading to decreased activity and a higher level of body fat. This, when combined with an unhealthy diet, leads to insulin resistance and higher blood levels of sugar and fats causing lipid deposition on the walls of the arteries. You do not die from obesity but you can die from coronary artery disease. Damaged blood vessels cause disease throughout the body and limit your ability to have sex. In order to have a healthy, properly functioning body, a healthy lifestyle is a necessity, according to Dr. Drapkin.
As he noted, building and maintaining muscle tone and clean blood vessels through proper nutrition and vigorous exercise is critical throughout every stage of life – and can help reduce the occurrence of erectile dysfunction at any age.
“Aging, poor diet, inactivity and damage from free radicals reduce the efficiency of our nitric oxide systems and blood vessels, causing veins and arteries to deteriorate,” he said. “Viagra is simply a supplement that releases nitric oxide, which relaxes and expands blood vessel walls, allowing more blood to pass through.”
Dr. Drapkin attests that along with many healthcare providers, the general public is unaware of the components of a healthy lifestyle, as demonstrated by the current diabetes epidemic and overuse of many prescription medicines in the U.S. His view is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that 69% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese.
Dr. Drapkin has dedicated his life to helping patients live better, more fulfilling lives by focusing on the benefits of exercise and nutrition within a healthy lifestyle. When he found his own unhealthy habits contributing to various physical ailments and adversely affecting his well-being, Dr. Drapkin chose to educate himself on the subjects of nutrition and exercise. Through education and hard work, Dr. Drapkin not only improved his own well-being, but became a world-class bodybuilder after the age of 60. At the age of 72, he has placed 2nd in the nation for his age group for the last two years in a row. Dr. Drapkin now brings his knowledge and experience to other seniors through guest appearances, lectures, and his book-available on Amamzon.com, Over 40 & Sexy as Hell!
About Robert Drapkin, M.D., F.A.C.P.:
Robert Drapkin, M.D., is a health care provider who is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care. For the past 36 years, Dr. Drapkin has been in active practice as a doctor, working to ensure the best quality of life for his patients as they age. While in his fifties, Dr. Drapkin became inspired by his own unhealthy habits to educate himself on diet and exercise. He then went from living an unhealthy lifestyle to becoming a premier bodybuilder, and at the age of 72, Dr. Drapkin has been a competitive bodybuilder for 17 years and has won many titles and contests. Fed up by the perpetuation of myths in the subject of elderly fitness and health, Dr. Drapkin decided to share his knowledge through public speaking, and has become a media source for accurate information regarding healthy aging. Dr. Drapkin authored the book, Over 40 & Sexy as Hell!, available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Over-40-Sexy-as-Hell-ebook/dp/B01BQN6CBA. For more information, visit http://drrobertmdfacp.com.
1. Pesce, Nicole Lyn. “A Quarter of Men over 85 had Sex Last Year: Study.” New York Daily News. 16 February 2016. Web. 21 October 2016.
2. Dee, Annie. “Is Sex over 50 Healthy? You Bet!” Youth Health Magazine. 23 February 2016. Web. 21 October 2016.
3. Rosenfeld, Jordan E. “Why Sex is Better at 57 than 27.” Good. 14 September 2016. Web. 21 October 2016.
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Karla Jo Helms