Articles

Sexuality at an older age

For many older people, sexuality becomes less important. But that is certainly not to say that it no longer plays any role at all, of course. And it depends a lot on the individual: for some 70-year-olds, sex can still be very important. When you are over 60, you no longer look like you did when you were 20. But you can still find yourself attractive, even as someone who is over 60. What is your self-image? When it comes to changes in your appearance, but also when it comes to your experience of sexuality, it can be important to keep some factors separate: Which things are due to your HIV? Which things are just part of the process of getting older? What else might play a role? Is there anything you can do about it? Or do you simply need to learn to live with it? It sometimes happens that a person will give his or her HIV the blame for a lot of different problems. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between changes that are due to growing older and changes that are due to HIV. Your sex drive decreases as you grow older, for example, but HIV can obviously also play a role in that regard.

Decreasing sex drive
In myself – but also in others who are in their 40s – I notice a decreasing sex drive compared to how it used to be. That has to do with age, with energy and with hormones. You have already been through a lot, so things are less apt to be exciting and new. I’m less apt to use drugs anymore and to stay out as late as I used to. And I’m less likely to ride my bike through the rain across town to meet up with an Internet date. I’m more apt to think: ‘You know what? Forget it.’ I’m happy just to go to bed on time and get up well rested in the morning.
Ben

Older gays
Gay men often find it difficult to get older. The gay world can be hard: if you are older or unattractive you will not be popular. That can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a steady partner. Older gays often tell me they don’t do out looking for sex as often as they might have done in the past: ‘People aren’t attracted to me as much anymore, I’m more apt to be rejected, and I’m not longer so happy about my own body.’
Loek Elsenburg, HIV nurse

 

 

 

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