Aging is often very unkind to male sexual function. Nobody informs us exactly what to expect with the process. Rather than proactively addressing the changes, we often sit back and observe as they unfold. Although erectile dysfunction is not inevitable, with each passing decade the statistics begin to work against you. By age 40 nearly 50% of men begin to experience erectile dysfunction. This number increases by 10% with each passing decade.
The numbers are similar for premature ejaculation - the most common male sexual disorder. With aging often comes less sexual activity, and with less sexual activity often comes disuse atrophy. The pelvic muscles, which support and control the penis, become weaker. The penis itself actually decreases in size over time. Weight gain and increased body fat with age further exacerbates the problem.
So, what can you expect of your sexual function as you age? Here’s a breakdown by decade of what may happen without pharmaceutical support or without the use of a pelvic muscle exercise program, such as the one provided by the Private Gym.
Your sexual appetite is prodigious and sex often occupies the front burners of your mind. It requires very little stimulation to achieve an erection. You get erections even when you don’t want them. You wake up in the middle of the night and morning sporting a rigid erection. When you climax, the orgasm is intense and you are capable of ejaculating an impressive volume of semen forcefully with an arc-like trajectory. Even with such sexual power, there is often an Achilles heel. The number one male sexual disorder - premature ejaculation - plagues a very large percentage of young men.
Things start to change ever so slowly, perhaps even so gradually that you barely even notice it. Your sex drive remains vigorous, but it is not quite as obsessive and all consuming as it once was. You still get quality erections, but they may not occur as spontaneously. You may require some touch stimulation to develop full rigidity. While you still wake up in the middle of the night with an erection and experience “morning wood,” it doesn’t occur as frequently as it did when you were in your 20s. The time it takes to achieve another erection after ejaculating increases.
After age 40, changes become more obvious. You are still interested in sex, but not nearly with the passion you had two decades earlier. You can usually get a pretty good quality erection, but it now often requires touch stimulation. The gravity-defying erections don’t have quite the angle they used to. At times you may lose the erection before the sexual act is completed. You notice that orgasms have lost some of their kick and ejaculation has become a bit feebler than previous. Getting a second erection after climax is often difficult.
Sexual function is noticeably diminished. Nighttime and morning erections become few and far between. The frequency of intercourse declines while the frequency of prematurely losing the erection before the sexual act is complete increases. Your orgasms are definitely different with less intensity of your climax, and at times, it feels like nothing much happened—more “firecracker” than “fireworks.” Ejaculation has become noticeably different - the volume of semen is diminished and you question why you are “drying up.” At ejaculation, the semen seems to dribble with less force and trajectory. Sex is no longer a sport, but a recreational activity, sometimes just reserved for the weekends.
This is not a good decade for male sexual function. Your testosterone level has plummeted over the decades, probably accounting for your diminished desire. Erections are still obtainable but often require a good amount of coaxing and coercion. They are less reliable, and at times your penis suffers with attention deficit disorder, unable to focus and losing its mojo prematurely, unable to complete the task at hand. Spontaneous erections, nighttime, and early morning erections become rare occurrences. Climax is, well, not so climactic and explosive ejaculations are a matter of history.
You may still have some remaining sexual desire left in you, but it’s a far cry from the fire in your groin you had when you were a younger man. The quality of your erections has noticeably dropped. At times, the best that you can do is to obtain a partially inflated erection that cannot penetrate, despite pushing, shoving and manipulating every which way. Spontaneous erections are all but gone.
Although you as an octogenarian may still be able to have sex, most of your brethren cannot; however, they remain appreciative that at least they still have their penises to use as spigots, allowing them to stand to urinate! If you are able to have sex on your birthday and anniversary, you are doing much better than most. To quote one of my octogenarian patients in reference to his penis: “It’s like walking around with a dead fish.”
To quote the comedian George Burns: “Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope.” You are grateful to be alive and in the grand scheme of things, sex is low on the list of priorities. You can live vicariously through pleasant memories of your days of glory that are lodged deep in the recesses of your mind, as long as your memory holds out! So, when and if you get an erection, you never want to waste it!
What can you do to help maintain your erections as you age? The good news is there are natural alternatives and exercise plays a critical role.
Why do we exercise our bodies? The answer is simple, to help maintain our muscles and reverse conditions that arise with aging. The same is true for the pelvic muscle system that helps controls erectile function. Keep the pelvic muscles in shape and you can maintain healthier and longer lasting erections over time. If you are young and healthy, you can make your erections even harder. If you are older, a pelvic muscle exercise program may help you regain your youthful sexual health. The Private Gym Pelvic Muscle Exercise Program can help improve your sexual performance at any age.
Andrew Siegel, M.D., Urologist, Cofounder of The Private Gym, and author of the highly acclaimed book, Male Pelvic Fitness, Optimizing Your Sexual and Urinary Health.
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