The Golden Years Don’t Have to Be Sexless

David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Affectionate Couple.
Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

The Golden Years Don’t Have to Be Sexless

Contrary to popular belief, sex isn’t just for the young. It’s a great stress reliever, a form of physical intimacy, and overall health booster for people of all ages, especially the older population. Here are some ways to ensure it stays a part of your life for as long as you want.

Address age-related issues

With age comes several physical changes that can affect our performance or enjoyment in the bedroom. Hormone levels drop and reactions to sexual stimuli slow, which can wreak havoc on your sexual health. There are several ways to address these issues, however, to enjoy a healthy and fulfilled sex life, no matter your age.

Older men who experience erectile dysfunction– like 60% of men in their 60s do, mildly or moderately– should speak with a doctor about a daily medication like tadalafil (generic Cialis) that improves the ability to get and maintain an erection, and enjoy more dependable functioning. Older women who have dryness– which nearly 1 in 3 experience after menopause– can benefit from a vaginal estrogen cream like Premarin that helps rebuild tissue atrophied with age, and provide a more comfortable experience. Facing these issues head-on can help ensure you and your partner maintain satisfactory sex lives, despite any physical changes that often come with age.

Get creative in the bedroom

If you and your partner have grown old together, your relationship may have become a little too familiar. All too often, the cause of a sexual dry spell is due to boredom in routine. If you and your partner have become indifferent in your physicality, it may be time to bring in some new experimentation to your sex lives.

Many couples benefit from adding in different aspects to their intimacy, like new positions or foreplay in order to experience a sense of freshness and excitement. And, trying something new together is a great way to build intimacy in your relationship and bond as a couple. Just be sure to bring up any thoughts to your partner ahead of time to ensure you’re both comfortable trying, then consider making it a game or competition to stay positive and fun. If your partner is uncertain, it’s imperative that you’re patient so you can maintain a healthy channel of sexual communication with them.

Communicate with your partner

As most couples have experienced, a significant aspect of physical intimacy relies on emotional closeness and effective communication. If you struggle to openly communicate with your partner, whether about your physical intimacy or your relationship in general, look into the root cause. Do you or your partner shut down conversations once they get uncomfortable? Does either of you tend to take an accusatory tone when discussing solutions? These are all ways to sabotage your communication as a couple and can filter into issues in the bedroom as your relationship grows older.

Be sure you’re both being open, honest, and understanding while trying to share your feelings, and don’t put any limits on the conversation. Get comfortable being completely open about your thoughts to develop a deeper intimate connection and improve your sexual satisfaction. Then, discuss likes, dislikes, or fantasies in the bedroom; it’s crucial that you and your significant other are performing constant check-ins before, after, and even during sex.

Whatever method you and your partner use, be sure you’re not becoming complacent in your sex life together. It’s important to both your relational and personal health that your sex life lasts well into your golden years.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Excess Medications – Poor Sleep linked to Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Sleepwalking

Sleep Walking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

New research is linking a lot of factors with cognitive decline.

Came across some interesting research recently about factors that may be increasing people’s risk of cognitive decline.  Both excessive medication and sleep problems appear to be risk factors for memory and thinking problems. We are a long way from any final answers when it comes to cognitive decline but some of this research is so convincing that I wanted to share it with you.

Poor sleep in the first few hours of the night, the time when memories and thoughts are processed and stored appears to be connected to eventual dementia. Low levels of oxygen also increased this risk.

There is a brief article on this research at PSYBLOG

One study does not make for final answers. This study was on only Japanese men and done in Hawaii. It made the connection between the poor sleep, low oxygen, and dementia but did not find a connection to the subsequent development of Alzheimer’s. The source for the research? Published in Neurology.

So is the answer to this poor sleep and cognitive decline to put more people, seniors in particular, on sleep medications? Not really.

Turns out that many seniors are being badly over medicated. The older you get the more likely it is that a doctor will prescribe sleep medications or anti-anxiety medications. The increase in anti-anxiety meds is troubling as research has told us that many seniors become less anxious not more so as they age.

The National Institute of mental Health published an article titled – Despite Risks, Benzodiazepine Use Highest in Older People.

This article reported on research into the prescribing of Benzodiazepines for older adults. The older you get the more likely it is that your doctor will prescribe a benzodiazepine for either poor sleep or anxiety. As you age you are more likely to be prescribed higher doses, for longer periods of time.

Most of these Benzodiazepines were prescribed by primary care doctors rather than by psychiatrists. Now here is the problem with that.

Taking lots of Benzodiazepines appears to increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The more you take the higher the risk. Take these meds for 180 days or more and your risk of developing Alzheimer’s DOUBLES, or so this one study tells us.

The text of this article as published is on PubMed.

There is another reason to be concerned about this high use of Benzodiazepines among seniors. That is the interaction between Alcohol and Benzodiazepines. We know from the experiences in the substance abuse treatment field that as we age the body’s ability to remove chemicals from your body declines. Any drug use by the elderly is risky. Just because the drugs are prescription ones does not eliminate the risks.

We also know that a large part of drug overdose deaths is the result of the interaction of alcohol and Benzodiazepines. People are tempted to use alcohol to sleep and when this is done to excess the result is poor sleep not improved sleep.

What is the solution?

Please do not suddenly stop taking prescribed medications based on this blog post or any other online source. If in doubt talk with your doctor. Do all you can to manage your health concerns, get that diabetes or heart condition under control. Lose weight, all those other health things you know you should do. No pill is a substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

Consider all those things that we loosely refer to as “sleep hygiene.” There are lifestyle changes that can help you sleep better. Also if emotional problems are impacting your sleep or causing you anxiety or depression, consider counseling or therapy for those mental health issues. You do not need to be “mentally ill” to benefit from counseling.

Science has not given us a cure for cognitive decline just yet, that may never happen. It is possible to do everything right and still develop some cognitive loss. But until we have a better answer to this problem do all you can to reduce the risks and get more mileage out of that brain of yours.

P. S. There have been a couple of broken links in these posts recently. Who knew that links could be so fragile? If you find a bad link please let me know and I will attempt to fix it.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Binge drinking, memory loss, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drinking

Binge drinking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Binge drinking your way to Memory loss, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.

Once you get past age sixty-five, it doesn’t take much in the way of binge drinking to impair your cognitive abilities. A recent study by Dr. Lang of the University of Exeter reports that the threshold for memory loss as a result of binge drinking is a lot lower in senior citizens than previously thought.

Seniors who binge drank TWO times per MONTH were 250% more likely to have memory loss and cognitive decline than those who did not binge drink.

The study defined binge drinking in seniors as four or more drinks on one drinking occasion. Given what other studies have found about the declining tolerance of seniors for alcohol, that four drink figure sounds awfully high. See a previous post on binge drinking for more on the effects of substances on the elderly.

This study does not draw a conclusion about any connection between binge drinking and either dementia or Alzheimer’s. But the conclusion that even occasional episodes of four drinks by seniors can impair the memory makes me question the safety of these promotions trying to get seniors to drink a little for their heart.

This study was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. A second study presented at the same conference examined the effects of “moderate” drinking on older women. In this one over 1,300 women age 65 and up were studied for twenty years. The result?

Moderate alcohol consumption did not protect memory in older women.

We also suspect that binge drinking coupled with prescription medications increases the risk of blackouts in Seniors.

The drinking by seniors conclusion?

Alcohol consumption by seniors does not protect the memory and even occasional binge drinking, as few as four drinks in one day, maybe less, can result in memory loss for those in the senior community.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.