Whether you are divorced, widowed, never married, or have ended a long term relationship, dating again can be an exciting time. After all, being over 50 has its advantages. The freedom that comes with not worrying about pregnancy or even menstruation can give you the ability to shed your inhibitions and enjoy the moment.
Middle age now starts much later than in past generations, allowing us to begin new careers or relationships with the assurance we will likely be healthy enough to enjoy them for a long time to come.
But what about STI’s? One study found that sexually transmitted infections have doubled in the 50-plus population. Some of the reasons include:
- Often, those over 50 no longer worry about pregnancy, therefore using condoms is not in the forefront of their minds.
- Sex Education campaigns typically target young people, leaving those over 50 with a false sense of security.
- Erectile Dysfunction medications are commonly prescribed in this age group, allowing nearly 80% of people (according to one study) age 50 – 90 to continue to enjoy sexual intimacy.
- Studies show that only 20% of those in this age range regularly use condoms.
Older adults may have some unique issues that younger people may not face. As we age, our immune systems are a bit less effective, which may put this group at a higher risk of developing an infection. Women in this age group often experience thinned vaginal tissue, which can lead to micro-tears – predisposing them to a higher risk of contracting an infection.
Which diseases are common for those over 50? There has been a significant increase in cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Some over 50’s are reluctant to seek medical care because they are embarrassed, or their physicians don’t suggest STI screening.
So, does this mean you shouldn’t enjoy intimacy after age 50? Of course not! Have fun – enjoy the discovery, pleasure and companionship as you walk through the adventures of life. Just enter into these relationships with good judgment.
Confidential, compassionate STI testing is available at The Clinic!
The largest growing age group contracting HIV are women over 50. Find out why, and what you can do about it!