Seek Care and Advice
Care and advice is available to help you enjoy your sexuality and manage the condition of your body as you age. It's just a matter of knowing where to go and whom to ask. We hope this list of resources will make it easy to find the sort of caregivers who can help you best. MiddlesexMD is a U.S.-based business, and these resources are U.S.-based as well, but there are likely similar groups in your country.
Menopause Care Providers (NAMS)
The North American Menopause Society is the professional organization of caregivers who have undergone study and training to care particularly for women in peri-menopause and beyond. NAMS maintains a referral service of physicians and caregivers who belong to their organization. Clinicians with the credential of NCMP -- NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner -- have demonstrated special competency in the field of menopause. You can use their online referral service to find someone in your area.
If you have had kids, you probably have an Ob/Gyn on your healthcare team already. If you haven't had kids, and you are having pain with intercourse or other difficulties with vulvo-vaginal tissues or with your pelvic organs, you may wish to ask your doctor for a referral to one of these specialists. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists maintain a Web listing of these specialists in your area.
Some physical therapists specialize in vulvo-vaginal and pelvic therapies, helpful in treating a number of conditions that can inhibit your sex life as you age. Your local Ob/Gyn will know the nearest specialists in your area, or contact the American Physical Therapy Association for a referral to a therapist trained in women's health:
A woman's libido is affected by her psyche and by social pressures as well as by her physicality. All three of these influences change as we age. Psychological counseling can be especially helpful for couples working to reestablish closeness in their relationships. It can help a woman manage the aftereffects of sexual trauma. It can help in the management of chronic stress, anxiety, depression and pain, all of which can hurt our sexuality. To find a therapist near you, you might ask your family doctor, or contact the American Board of Couple and Family Psychology (919-537-8031).
Aging can really play havoc with a couple's sexuality. When that happens, a counselor or therapist who specializes in sexual and relationship problems can save us years of pain, miscommunication, and frustration. Sex therapists begin by helping couples understand the role of intimacy in their lives, and normal sexual functioning at any age. Therapists help people gain and share a deeper understanding of their sexual identities and beliefs, which also change as we age. Couples emerge from counseling better understanding the role of intimacy and attachment in their relationships, and how their verbal and non-verbal communication affects them. You can ask your doctor for a referral, or find a nearby therapist here through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (ASSECT).
As long as we're sexually active, we're vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections. That's the simple truth. Of course keeping your number of sexual partners to a minimum and practicing safe sex vastly reduce the chances that you'll encounter a bad bug. Keep in mind that less circulation and lower hormone levels mean our vaginal tissues are more prone to infections than at any other time of our lives. While you may have gotten away with less-than-safe sex when you were younger, don't play with that fire now. The Center for Disease Control offers a resource for learning about STIs, protecting yourself and your partner, and getting tested.
Domestic Abuse Assistance
Aging can bring changes in our sexuality that are frustrating for us and our partners. Frustration and anger can build and spiral out of control in a household, leading couples to abusive situations. If you think things have gotten out of hand for you or for someone you know and love, help is always just a click or a phone call away (1-800-799-SAFE ).
First published 01/13/2010 Last updated 09/16/2010
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