Today I’m super excited to have Dr. Renee Flores here! Renee is an AASECT certified doctor working primarily with older adults. She’s helping open the door and normalizing that it’s okay to have sex no matter what age we are. And making sure everyone knows that there are definitely people and things to do to make sure that that can still happen for you.
Older adults come to her for many reasons, some are there to figure out how to navigate a new partner, or how to have sex in places like retirement homes. Sometimes they’re afraid of the pain after not having had sex in a long time.
What does she tell people worried about the pain?
Moisturize, stretch, and lubricate.
Moisturizing - “Is for me” to help the lubrication and normal biome of the body. You should moisturize 2-3 times a week.
Lubricating - for when you want extra wetness, for things like foreplay or when you’re going to be involving something being inserted.
Stretching - stretching can be the moisturizing taking care of the inside of the vagina, and can help with maintenance with the vaginal wall. Stretching will help prepare you for a more pleasurable experience if you haven't had intercourse in a while. You can use a high quality pelvic wand or a dilator set for this.
What are common things people see Renee for?
Relationship discrepancy is huge. She sees both sides of the spectrum, women who come in and wants to have more sex but unfortunately her partner is having erectile dysfunction. In most of those cases they are not treatable without surgery so she works with them on reaching new means of intimacy and connecting with a partner. The other side of the spectrum is women who come in and don’t want to have sex, and how she’s able to open up that communication with a partner who does want and is able to have sex. The most important thing in relationships and especially in older adults is having that communication, because things are changing and things have changed. Trying to establish new norms can be so hard for older adults because they are grieving the lack of having the younger sex that they remember.
Are there ever times where you have to have these conversations with patients and their adult children?
Only once has she had a son join his father in the appointment and that was because of a language barrier. Even though he was very uncomfortable with the conversation around his parent having sex, she was still able to figure out how to help the patient. Often times though, she has other patients come in and say that their children don’t want them to have sex at all or that they have to keep their relationships hidden.
Do you have any opinion on if there’s a certain age that sex should stop for somebody?
Absolutely not. Sex is so important even if you’re in a palliative condition or even at the end of life. She's had older adults that have been in hospice ask about how to have sex at the end of their life. Even on a deathbed people still want to have sex, and she definitely strongly encourages it. Intimacy also doesn’t just have to be sex. There’s so much of a connection just with hand holding or laying next to each other. The simple caress of a hand or hugging and embracing releases so many endorphins that can show similar benefits to actual orgams or sex itself.
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