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There is a common misconception that sex is strictly for the under 50’s and that your sex drive disappears as you get older.
Sexual intimacy can provide excitement, warmth and closeness and it’s good for your health.
Some of the many physical and emotional benefits include reducing stress, improving sleep and strengthening the immune system.
Whether you are heterosexual, gay, bisexual or lesbian, your sexual health needs are important.
However, many see sex and ageing as a taboo subject and older people may find it difficult to discuss their concerns with their GP.
If you want to make the most of your current relationship or are thinking about starting a new one, here are Age Scotland's tips for a happy and safe sex life:
• Use a condom with new partners to protect against sexually transmitted infections and HIV- condoms need to be put on when the penis is erect;
• Don’t assume that a lower sexual arousal is because of age, it may be linked to medication-check with your GP;
• If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure you should see their GP before taking Viagra;
• Try using a water-based lubricant such as KY Jelly if you’re having problems with dryness;
• Use touch and massage with each other;
• Don’t only stick to set times and days for sex – be spontaneous;
• Try to avoid a heavy meal or too much alcohol before sex;
• Don’t assume penetration is the only real way to sexual fulfilment;
• And finally – don’t be anxious about seeking help;
Today’s over 50s are from the 'baby boomer’ generation.
They grew up in a time where the priority was to prevent pregnancy and they weren’t necessarily as concerned about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
As many of these people are now changing partners or actively dating, there is evidence that STIs are on the increase in the over 50s.
HIV rates in this age group have nearly doubled over the last decade and the Health Protection Agency emphasises the need to use a condom with new partners.For confidential advice you can phone Sexual Health Scotland on 0800 567123, or Sexual Health Direct, the helpline run by FPA on 0845 122 8690.
The FPA website contains a range of information about sexual health - visit their website
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