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Sex After 50: Better Than Ever

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Friday, 26 Sep 2014 12:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I believe sex after the age of 50 can be great. We are older and wiser and know what we want, the kids have probably moved out, and we may even have more time on our hands. But there are factors at play that give middle-aged people the wrong idea about their bodies and sex lives, and as a result, many of you may be missing out on great sex.
 
We have been conditioned, if not plain brainwashed, to think of young, taut, wrinkle-free, beautiful bodies when we think of sex. Our culture is obsessed with models who are mere teens but are defining sexuality for everybody else on the cover of magazines, the silver screen, and in numerous ads. If we didn’t know any better, we would believe that sex is just for the very young, the famous, and the beautifully airbrushed.
 
But is that true? Is our human reality as simple and limited as that? It clearly is not. Taking a quick look at our real lives brings to light a totally different picture, and it appears the media may be slowly catching on.
 
In addition to the marketing and public relations campaigners’ near constant push to skew our views on sexuality, I have also begun to see images of elderly people holding hands and kissing. I have even seen a number of TV ads featuring middle-aged women romping in negligees and enjoying life in ways that point to sex as a constant and present possibility — not a faded memory.
 
In the U.S., more than 40 million women are older than 50. They are not a niche market, but they do represent the changing face of sexuality. They are the female baby boomers rising up in throngs — alive and kicking and refusing to go down without a fight in every aspect of their lives, including in the bedroom.
 
The actions of baby boomers have changed society and transformed our belief system. We put man on the moon and started the Internet, which spawned the age of social media. So why would anyone think we would take aging and a diminished sex life as a given and fade away into the sunset in a rocking chair on the porch, rather than between the sheets having steamy sex and laughing all the way into old age?
 
Both men and women of the baby boomer generation are changing the perception of being sexually active later in life, and the creation of Viagra has had a lot to do with it. As a baby boomer physician, I witnessed how Viagra, the first drug to help men get stronger and longer lasting erections, changed the way our culture viewed sexuality and the older generation.
 
When it came to the market in February 1998, Viagra was a huge breakthrough, not just because it was the first such drug to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but also because it got people talking about erectile dysfunction.
 
With the coining of the term “erectile dysfunction,” people all over the country realized that they were not alone when it came to having problems with erections due to aging. Finally, the sexual problem many men have as they age came out of the closet. Before the arrival of Viagra, few people talked about sex problems.
 
In fact, sex was not a topic many married couples generally addressed. People had the attitude that once you got married, sex was no longer a topic to be discussed. Unless divorce or the loss of a spouse sent people back to the single life, people generally didn’t talk sex. But Viagra helped change all that.
 
To promote the drug and further validate that having erectile problems may actually be common, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole appeared in the TV commercial for Viagra. Smiling on camera and confessing he had a problem with erections, too, Bob Dole told America it’s OK to have sex when you get older and Viagra is here to solve a very common problem. And just think: Bob Dole was a high-profile politician who had run for president in 1996 and even had been a vice-presidential nominee in 1976.
 
The aftermath of this confluence of events led to a phenomenon only dreamed of by Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra. By May 1998, more than $400 million worth of Viagra had been sold in the U.S. As many as 300,000 prescriptions were written one month after its launch. Men didn’t walk, they ran to their doctors to get their prescriptions for the miracle drug that promised to restore their sex life to that of a 20-year-old’s.
 
The drug became an instant blockbuster, and ironically its use transcended the older generation it was aimed at and attracted young men who loved to just experiment with it.
 
Today, Viagra is still a top-selling drug, earning $1.8 billion a year. At $25 to $30 per pill, it is very expensive, and some insurance companies don’t cover it. Side effects in older men are prominent, and for those with significant heart disease, impotence is not improved because atherosclerosis blocks penile blood supply and Viagra does not treat it. Viagra also has been known to cause fainting, strokes, and severe drops in blood pressure because it redirects the blood flow to the penis, leaving older men with low blood pressure and still no erections.
 
While Viagra may not have solved all the problems that some professed it would, it did change the way we regard sex in middle age and opened the door for other possible treatment options.

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Dr-Schwartz
I believe sex after the age of 50 can be great. We are older and wiser and know what we want, the kids have probably moved out, and we may even have more time on our hands. But there are factors at play that give middle-aged people the wrong idea about their bodies and sex lives.
sex, Viagra, erectile dysfunction
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2014-42-26
Friday, 26 Sep 2014 12:42 PM
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