Want Better Sex as You Age? Try Yoga!Posted by mjamieson on Nov 17, 2022 in Health Blog | Comments Off on Want Better Sex as You Age? Try Yoga!
Funny how a simple off the cuff remark can lead to a much bigger conversation and then voila! My next blog topic: yoga and sex. I was having a chat with my best friend about how yoga keeps me flexible and somehow the conversation took a turn. So after my time on the mat, I’m off and running to research how practicing yoga can improve your sex life. I really don’t like to talk about sex, even at 60 something I’m generally prudish on the subject, but, I was intrigued! Can yoga really make your sex life better, especially for those of us who are fast reaching our later years. A simple google search yielded 743 million articles on yoga and sex! So clearly people are talking about “it” or at least thinking about “it.”
A 2004 AARP study revealed that individuals in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and older continue to have the desire for sex. One in three individuals in their 70’s reported having intercourse at least once a week. Due to aging, the obstacles to a healthy sex life increase as our bodies change.
Woman are prone to vaginal dryness or may experience vestibulodynia, both of which can be extremely painful. Approximately 25 percent of men over the age of 65 experience erectile dysfunction. So picture it, a woman who may long for intimate contact with her partner, dreading it because of the extreme pain it will cause. Her partner, longing for intimate contact, but so anxious that his parts might not work properly, his fearful thoughts ensure his failure! The inability to continue to have an intimate relationship with our partners impacts the richness of our lives.
Arthritis affects men and women, causing joint pain, decreased flexibility, and stiffness. I know what you are thinking, but trust me, stiffness is only good when it’s in the right place! Arthritis impacts the ease with which older individuals can enjoy a healthy sex life. Maintaining intimate relationships has a significant impact on how well we age, the ability to remain sexually active reduces stress, improves overall health, and the quality of our relationships.
Enter yoga! The practice and tradition of yoga is over 5000 years old. According to Dr. Wei, three out of four Americans believe that yoga is “good for you.” The health benefits include improved cardiovascular status, increased flexibility and balance, decreased anxiety, stress, and pain. Yoga decreases depression and improves metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and improves self-image. Diabetes has been demonstrated to strip individuals of sexual desire. Stress increases cortisol levels, another blow to the desire meter. “ Yogi’s” are 20 percent more likely to have a more positive self-image. Those with positive self-image are more confident and able to ask for what they need emotionally and physically. When mind and body are healthy and in sync and that leads to better sex at any age!
With the clear interest in the topic of yoga as it relates to sex, (recall those 743 million Google hits?) it is surprising that there are not more studies on the benefits. Dhikav, Karmarkar, and Anand studied the impact of yoga on sexual functioning in men and women. The studies were small, and had no control group, however, the participants reported improved functioning and satisfaction on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), and the Male Sexual Quotient (MSQ). The male and female groups were each given a 12 week yoga program to follow, and were provided with poses anticipated to improve sexual functioning.
Of the 40 women participating in the study 75 percent reported improvement on the FSFI. Some of the areas assessed were desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain. It is interesting to note that women over the age of 45 reported the most significant improvements. Of 68 men participating, improvements were reported in desire, orgasm, satisfaction, erectile dysfunction, and synchronicity with their partner. Though the studies were small, the improvements reported appeared significant. A 2013 study of women with metabolic syndrome https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916 showed promising results of improvement in arousal and lubrication in as little as 12 weeks. For us older women that can be a biggie!
Are you ready to give yoga a try? You can tell your friends that you are doing yoga to improve your balance and prevent falls, which it will! You don’t have to tell them you are on the mat to improve “it!” There seems to be some consensus that any of the following poses will improve your sex life. Here are just a few!
Cat – Cow
This pose loosens the spine allowing for relief of stress and increased relaxation.
Bridge Pose strengthens the pelvic floor, and decreases pain and to quote Jandra Sutton (2019) “makes the good stuff better!”
One Legged Pigeon
Pigeon pose is a great hip opener. For those with arthritis or generalized stiffness as can occur with aging, this keeps those hips moving more easily, which well, you know! Hip tightness can prevent you from enjoying certain positions in the bedroom.
This pose is another good hip opener and promotes relaxation.
The yoga squat opens hips and groin, stimulates sex glands, and reduces pain.
For detailed information about yoga poses I recommend Yoga Journal, though they don’t have a “sex” category they do offer information about poses and their specific benefits which is very helpful https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/
And seriously, just google it! You will find lots of information on the best poses to improve your sex life.
Practicing yoga offers so many health benefits, it’s definitely worth giving it a try. Don’t let your age or perceived athletic ability stop you. Yoga is about respecting your body, slowly and gently improving over time. The healthier you are, the better you age, and the better your sex life!
It is no surprise that the Yoga in Sanskrit means unity; unity of mind and body. Unity on the mat leads to unity in the bedroom. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want tight hips, or other ailments of aging to interfere with my healthy aging or fullness of life. So I’m off to the mat!!
Dhikav, Vikas & Karmarkar, Girish & Anand, Kuljeet. (2011). Yoga and sexuality: a novel way to improve sexual functioning. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260184916_YOGA_AND_SEXUALITY_A_NOVEL_WAY_TO_IMPROVE_SEXUAL_FUNCTIONING
Gomes, David (2016) Yoga for erectile dysfunction: 7 best poses for sexual problems. Retrieved from https://www.medicaldaily.com/yoga-erectile-dysfunction-7-best-poses-sexual-problems-393649
Ha-Na Kim, Jungsu, R, Kyung-Soo Kim, Sang-Wook Song (2013) Effects of yoga on sexual function in women with metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Retreived from https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12283
Rountree, Sage (2017) 15 anti-aging health benefits of yoga that will make you want to start practicing now. Retrieved from https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/15-anti-aging-health-benefits-of-yoga/
Sandoiu, Ana (2018). Can yoga improve your sex life? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323003
Sutton, Jandra (2019). Six yoga poses that will make you better at sex. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/sex-yoga
Wei, Marlynn (2016). New survey reveals the rapid rise of yoga-and why some people still haven’t tried it https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-survey-reveals-the-rapid-rise-of-yoga-and-why-some-people-still-havent-tried-it-201603079179
Woolston, C, Bierman, P. (2019) Sex and aging. Retrieved from https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/aging-1/age-health-news-7/sex-and-aging-647539.html