So the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said that the over 65’s should limit themselves to 1.5 units of alcohol a day, and on the Today programme Emma Soames, Editor-at-Large for Saga Magazine, became almost apoplectic. Eating and drinking were the only pleasures some elderly people had left, she fumed.
I have to take issue with Emma on this. If you let food and alcohol become your only enjoyments then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You won’t be capable of doing anything else.
My friend J is 85 and still sailing, hiking, painting, writing and bonking. He remains muscular and not at all fat. If you’ve got age-related health problems eating and drinking too much can only make things worse. A paunch on a man is the enemy of sex. It causes excess production of the aromatase enzyme which converts testosterone (the ‘male hormone’) to oestrogen (the ‘female hormone’). Alcohol is high in calories, diminishes sexual response and, following years of abuse, can lead to erectile dysfunction in both men and women.
Make sex your number one pleasure. Alcohol hardly compares.
My little erection problem the other day (see Women On Top in the Writer’s Life section) has made me reflect on the importance of keeping in good shape for sex. It’s a sad thing, in a way, that how much you enjoy sex depends not on what your partner does to you but on what you’ve been doing to yourself.
If you’ve not looked after yourself then you’re going to find it difficult to reach the outer limits of ecstasy. Just as Daniel Barenboim can’t play a Beethoven sonata on a piano that’s out of tune, so your partner won’t be able to ‘play you’ if you don’t keep your body tuned up.
Fortunately, there are always things you can do to give your body a better chance. Exercise is one of them. In a Gallup survey 45% of respondents said their sex lives improved when they began exercising.
That’s hardly surprising. The tiny blood vessels in your genitals are easily blocked by fatty deposits. Exercise is one way of helping to keep the blood flowing strongly. Another is to keep down the level of saturated fats in your meals. Men should also keep in mind that a paunch is a kind of anti-sex factory, causing a rise in oestrogen, the ‘female’ hormone, and a fall in testosterone, the ‘male’ hormone.
As little as 20-minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week could be all it takes to make the difference between so-so-sex and super-sex.