It’s standard practice to set resolutions at the beginning of each year—even if we fail to carry them through the full 12 months. Whether you make resolutions, set goals or create intentions there is one thing most of us fail to think about—our sexual health.  

Let’s make sexual health and wellness one of our 2015 resolutions. 

Being proactive about sexual health is no different from taking care of your teeth and getting yearly check-ups with your health care professional. Ever been to the doctor and asked them to check everything but your lungs, for example or maybe ignore your digestive issues? We don’t. We view the whole body as one complex machine that needs to be taken care of.  Our genitals fall into that category as well. 

So, what does that mean for you? And, how on earth does one address sexual health?

1.If you have issues with incontinence, discomfort in your genital area, tenderness during intercourse, or other abnormalities—see the doctor. These are possible indicators of illnesses.

2.Inventory your sex life. 

a.Is it as satisfying as you want? Are you having orgasms or climaxes? Enough, not as good, or less frequent than in the past?  

b.Women-is dryness becoming an issue? Men-is your erection what you want it to be? 

c.Is there something you want to try but are afraid to share with your lover or partner? 

3.If you’re single, when was the last time you masturbated? 

4.How’s your libido? Do you want sex? If not, are you happy with where things stand between you and your partner? 

Medical: You should share any physical concerns with your medical professional—they may not be prepared to offer advice on sex but they can make sure you’re not experiencing symptoms of something serious.

Aging: Age can bring about unexpected and unwanted changes to our bodies. Some women experience a decrease in natural lubrication after menopause—it may range from mild to painfully dry. Start by using a good lubricant and taking more time to become aroused before having intercourse. Dry tissues can tear and cause discomfort so if lube isn’t working consult your gynecologist. 

Men may begin to experience issues with erections due to age or other factors. Check with a doctor first to rule out medical issues. When erections become less predictable there are a range of options—‘cock rings’ help keep erections firmer; more stimulation and arousal from you or a partner as part of your sexual play; and for more serious conditions there are the ED medications. 

Read this next: The Attraction of a Lifetime, Or a Moment

Masturbation: Masturbation, or self-pleasuring is important for older adults, especially those not in sexual relationships. Arousal increases blood flow to the genitals and is important in maintaining a healthy body. In women the blood flow to vaginal tissues can help prevent thinning and vaginal atrophy. Men benefit from blood flow in similar ways; it helps with erections and is believed to benefit the prostate as well. When we masturbate the release of those ‘feel-good’ hormones, oxytocin, gives us a greater sense of wellbeing and make us happier. Orgasms contribute to our emotional health.  (Source) 

Your Sex Life: At all stages of life we want a good sex life. Relationships are important and sexual activity is one of the many factors in keeping us happy in our relationships. Use communication as a tool to ask for what you want and to create the kind of sex that is satisfying for you.  If you want to try new things, suggest a partner help you to have better orgasms, or find other ways to increase your pleasure you will have to speak up. Talking about sex is also a good way to increase desire. Introduce a sex toy to help one or both of you with arousal and orgasm---or just to add some zest. Play with lube, try new positions, or develop new patterns for intimacy that work for you and your partner. If you experience physical challenges there are plenty of ways to create and sustain intimate relationships; you just need to be a little more creative. Joan Price has written several books with advice for aging adults on sex.  

Don’t you think paying attention to your sexual health is a worthy goal? It’s on my list! 

 

Walker Thornton is a writer, sex educator and public speaker, with a Masters in Educational Psychology and over 10 years experience in the field of sexual violence against women. She is a strong advocate for midlife women’s sexuality, encouraging women to ‘step into their desire’. Kinkly.com ranked her blog, WalkerThornton.com, #17 in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2013. Walker is the Sexual Health columnist for Midlife Boulevard and writes about sex and the older adult for Kinkly.com. You can connect with her on her website (www.walkerthornton.com ), Facebook (https://facebook.com/AWomansPage )  Twitter  (http://twitter.com/WalkerThornton)  and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+WalkerThornton/posts ).