I’m often asked by my clients “Why aren’t things working like they used to?” In other words, why does their body no longer desire sex or respond in the way it did when they were younger? Their general health can be a big contributing factor to this, among many. And although it’s relatively easy to find information about how to stay healthy as we get older, there is very little about how our sexual health is related to our overall health. And, it is!
Here are a few things to consider:
1. You may be exercising your body but your kegels, the pelvic floor muscles, also need to be exercised. This is beneficial for many reasons especially those concerned with pelvic floor prolapse, fecal incontinence or urinary incontinence (aka ‘the sneeze factor’). Pelvic floor prolapse occurs when the uterus falls away from the surrounding tissues. It may happen during childbirth or as women age. In serious cases, surgery is required to lift the uterus back into place. Urinary incontinence or loss of control of the bladder, which occurs mostly in women, or fecal incontinence or loss of control of the bowels, common in men and women, is becoming a silent epidemic. The shame and humiliation that results from advanced incontinence can lead to agoraphobic tendencies. In addition, being sexually active when faced with these general health issues is often unlikely. When considering prevention, kegel exercises and other exercises that strengthen the core can make a huge difference.
2. Stress levels, which cause many illnesses, may also cause sexual health issues in ways that you might not have considered. Fatigue is the main concern. The more stress in our lives, the less likely we are to put time aside for exercise and ultimately for sex and intimacy, whether solo or partnered. It is important to set aside time for exercise as it allows our body to produce the endorphins, the same hormone produced during sex. A healthy body, a healthy sex life.
3. The medications you may be taking to address general health issues can interfere with your sexual health and your sexual responsiveness. Medications taken for high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety or depression, for example, can and often do have a negative impact on libido too. Make sure you consult with your physician when taking any medication as to the potential side-effects of these drugs, as your physician may not bring it up themselves.
And, it works in reverse as well! Sexual health is an important aspect of most people’s lives. If an individual has a stimulating (pun intended) intimate life, whether solo or partnered, this excitement spills over into other aspects of their life, improving their general health and well-being.
So, whether you are young or young at heart, solo or partnered, it is important to know that exercise, whether in the bedroom, the gym or both, will contribute considerably to a healthy body and emotional state. So get off the computer and back to the exercise routine…whatever form it takes or wherever that is for you!