Q: I’m an older man. Are there ways to maintain my sexual health?


A: Maintaining sexual health with age is a multifaceted endeavor (for either gender) that includes physical, psychological, and lifestyle factors. Here are some key strategies for men.


Regular Romps

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), “Some men worry that sex could trigger a heart attack, but studies show that’s exceedingly rare, especially if you exercise regularly. In fact, the latest research shows that regular romps with your partner are linked to a lower risk of heart problems.” AARP also reports that “sex boosts our immune systems, improves self-esteem, decreases depression and anxiety, relieves pain, encourages sleep and reduces stress.”

Additionally, walking or hitting the gym improves cardiovascular health, stamina and reduces the risk of conditions that can impair sexual function. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night for optimum hormone production.


Eating for Sex

We all know a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can enhance overall health. Great news: foods high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals also support sexual function! For testosterone production, zinc is a key nutrient– found in shellfish (especially oysters), beef, oatmeal and seeds (especially pumpkin). Also important is the amino acid, L-arginine. Found in nuts, seeds, lean meats, beans and whole grains, L-arginine helps improve the all-important blood flow.


Weight Control

Has the doc been after you to lose weight? Well, guys, here’s another reason to listen: obesity is linked to lower testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction (ED). Shed excess pounds with regular physical activity and a diet low in processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Don’t forget the H2O. Proper hydration is also vital for sexual function and can help with weight loss. Health benefits aside, a trimmer you might also please your partner!


Avoid Tobacco / Limit Alcohol

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to ED and other sexual health issues. Tobacco use damages blood vessels and restricts blood flow –including to the penis. Alcohol in moderation can help with arousal, but overdoing it can affect your ability to get and maintain an erection (alcohol also decreases blood flow). Reducing or eliminating tobacco and alcohol can significantly improve sexual performance.


Sex and Mental Health

Stress and depression can negatively impact sexual health. Relaxation techniques can improve mental well-being, while professionals can address deeper psychological issues to improve sexual satisfaction. Honest communication with your partner about desires or frustrations can reduce anxiety and improve sexual intimacy.


Regular check-ups can detect conditions that affect sexual health, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Don’t clam up: talk to your doctor frankly about your sexual concerns. For more on the subject, attend Men’s Day, June 26 in Viera. RSVP online at or by calling 321-751-6771.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging. Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse, Certified Dementia Practitioner and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera. Ms. Conway hosts a monthly seminar, ‘Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa.’