Kittle: Keeping the intimacy alive

Aging does bring about physical changes that have an impact on sexuality.

An extensive Canadian survey on sexuality showed that the large majority of people 65 and older feel that sex and intimacy are important.

We are created to be sexual and sensual creatures. Today, I want to share the health benefits of  remaining intimate with your partner and the importance of staying connected in the third age of life.

Aging does bring about physical changes that have an impact on sexual performance.

While our sexual life does not go away, there may come a time in our lives when our libido faded and we want to go to bed and just go to sleep.

There are many happily married, senior couples who have not been intimate for decades and are perfectly satisfied.

But according to Health Canada, the benefits of maintaining sexual activity for health include for men, sex stimulates the release of growth hormones and testosterone which strengthens bones and muscles.

It burns fat and causes the brain to release endorphins, natural chemicals that active painkillers and reduce anxiety.

Sex also seems to prompt the release of substances that

bolster the immune system.

Some studies suggests that sex three times a week can slow the aging process. The physical exertion associated with sex is about the same as walking up two flights of stairs. Continuing to have sex will preserve your sexual vigour beyond  middle age. Sexually active people have higher levels of naturally produced sex hormones.

An important predictor of how active a sex life people will have in later years is their physical health. Some negative factors that can affect sexual response and desire are obesity, smoking, lack of self-confidence, depression, performance anxiety, and alcohol abuse.

Lack of sexual desire can also be sometimes related to underlying health problems like diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure and prostate problems. And although Viagra is very popular these days it can pose a risk for men who have angina or other coronary artery disease and should not be used.

Always make sure that you consult your doctor before taking any new medication.

Aerobic exercise helps improve your circulation and endurance.

Even if sexual intercourse is not possible hugging, holding hands, touching and loving brings health, wellness and enjoyment.

Humans are mammals, pack animals that crave physical intimacy and touch. Just watch any nature show, we born to play with each other, cuddle and make love.

Loneliness and lack of contact with others is a serious issue among seniors. Intimacy and connection are important whether you’re married or single.

Studies have proven that seniors who are involved in small groups, exercise programs and other social activities are happier and live longer than those who live in isolation.

If you’re single make friends, offer yourself to others, be social and make connections,

Caring about other people will leave you feeling happier and fulfilled.

In the very least perhaps a four-legged friend is all you need? A recent study of heart attack victims also kept track of who did and who did not have a dog.

The no dog people were six times as likely to die of a second heart attack as the dog owners.

Pets can help reduce depression and stress, less on loneliness, lower blood pressure and increase social interaction and physical activity.

So continue to play and cuddle up!