By Richard Wagner
Last month in this column I opened a conversation on senior sexual issues. I’d like to pick up that discussion this month; by focusing in on the concerns we older men have regarding our sexual performance.
I receive a startling number of e-mail from older men and their partners, which highlight the sexual difficulties of the aging process. It’s not surprising that these people are noticing the changes in their sexual response cycle as they age, but it is astonishing that they haven’t attributed the changes to andropause.
Here’s Djon who has some reporting to do.
I’m a 54-year-old man, who 3 years ago managed to finally come out and live the life I so desperately longed for all my life. My question — is there a biological clock in men like the issues women have to deal with in menopause.
During the last years of my marriage there was no sex life other than with myself. Now I’m living a fantastic life, with a great man who I love very much. I know there is more to life than sex but now that I’m finally able to express myself physically with a man my ability to perform is just not working.
I’ve tried Viagra and such years ago. They used to work in maintaining an erection, but it was just by myself and I always had fun. The headache’s and discomforts from the meds bring up the question — do I really want to take this?
But now the med’s don’t even help, and as for my libido it suffers with my lack of ability. I’ve been tested for testosterone levels and they say I’m right where I should be at for my age. I’ve seen two doctors about the issue and when they find out my partner’s sex they don’t want to deal with it and seem to just pass it off as an age thing.
I’m in fairly decent shape, I exercise 3 – 4 days a week at the gym, can you send me any advice on a path to take.
A little frustrated!
A little frustrated? Holy cow, darlin’, you sound a lot frustrated—and rightfully so! You finally find what’s been missing your whole life only to discover that your plumbing is now giving out on you. Ain’t that a bitch!
And before I continue, I want to tell you and all the other alternative lifestyle people in my audience: don’t settle for a sex-negative physician—no matter what. Find yourself a sex-positive doctor that will look beyond your choice of partner; someone who will give you the respect you deserve!
You raise an interesting question about the aging process when you ask if men experience something similar to menopause in women. The short answer is—ya, you betcha! In fact, it even has a name—andropause. It’s only been recently that the medical industry has started to pay attention to the impact that changing hormonal levels have on the male mind and body. Most often andropause is misdiagnosed as depression and treated with an antidepressant. WRONG!
Every man will experience a decrease in testosterone, the “male” hormone, as he ages. This decline is gradual, often spanning ten to fifteen years. While the gradual decrease of testosterone does not display the profound effects in men that menopause does in women, the end results are similar.
And listen: when a physician says that your testosterone level falls within an acceptable range, he/she isn’t telling you much. Let’s just say you had an elevated level of testosterone all your life, until now. Let’s say that you now register on the lower end of “acceptable”. That would mean that you’ve had a significant loss in testosterone. But your doctor wouldn’t know that, because he/she has no baseline for your normal testosterone level.
There is no doubt that a man’s sexual response changes with advancing age and the decrease of testosterone. Sexual urges diminish, erections are harder to come by, they’re not as rigid, there’s less jizz shot with less oomph. And our refractory period (or interval) between erections is more elongated too.
Andropausal men might want to consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Just know that a lot of medical professionals resist testosterone therapy. Some mistakenly link Testosterone Replacement Therapy with prostate cancer, even though recent evidence shows prostatic disease is estrogen-dependent rather than testosterone-dependent. I encourage you to be fully informed about TRT before you approach your new sex-positive doctor, because the best medicine is practiced collaboratively—by you and your doctor.
Finally, getting the lead back in your pencil, so to speak, may simply be an issue of taking more time with arousal play. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds like you once did. Also, I suggest that you use a cockring. But most of all, fuckin’ relax, why don’t cha already. Your anxiety is short-circuiting your wood, my friend. And only you can stop that.
Next time: Andropause from a female partner’s perspective.