Sexuality and Men: Lifestyle, health related to a good sex life as men age

For 20 years, the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-up Study has gathered important information about men's health. In 2000, it added questions about sexuality to its semiannual surveys. According to the Harvard Men's Health Watch, the new data offer insight on how men can maintain a satisfying sex life as they age.

Chronic illness and the medications used to treat them account for many of the sexual problems of older men. Sexual dysfunction was most prevalent in men with illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and even depression. The Harvard Men's Health Watch points out that one of the striking results of the study was that men with prostate cancer are 10–15 times more likely to experience sexual dysfunction than men without the disease—however, these sexual difficulties typically stem from the treatment rather than the cancer itself.

Even in healthy men, each aspect of sexual function showed progressive problems with age. Although libido decreased with age, sexual desire was preserved substantially better than erectile function. Although testosterone levels fall just as many men begin to experience sexual dysfunction, the Harvard Men's Health Watch reports that most men have plenty of testosterone to spare—levels remain in the normal range in at least 75% of senior citizens.

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