Research indicates that both men and women maintain sexual relationships throughout life even though sexual problems may be evident.
Sexual activity is often associated with health, with those in better health experiencing more sexual satisfaction and participation than those in poor health.
Experiencing any barrier to sexual activity can lead people to reprioritize the role of sex but does not define sexuality. Instead, sexuality is generally described as how people view themselves and express themselves as sexual beings.
This may include
- cuddling, and
- other forms of intimacy,
- expressing love for a partner verbally or through actions,
- working to maintain a relationship, and
- invoking feelings of self-confidence in partners.
In short, sexual activity is any mutually voluntary activity with another person that involves sexual contact, whether or not intercourse or orgasm occurs.
This broad definition of sexuality allows individuals with specific sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction in men and lubrication problems in women, to place more significance on personal relationships without fear of being seen as asexual.
Indeed, research has found that adults who report high satisfaction with personal relationships also report high ratings of quality of life. So, for those who worry about sexual functioning, there is more to sexuality than intercourse or achieving orgasm.
Maintaining physical intimacy in any form appears to be central to well being even when penetrative sex is no longer possible.
Sexual health checklist
Physical health is one of the most important factors that affects sexuality. Research supports the role of health in sexuality, with adults citing health and an available partner as the two key factors to maintaining sexual activities. Many conditions associated with alcohol and drug use or with aging may directly affect sexual performance by actual physical limitations or indirectly through negative effects of medication. For this reason, it is important to:
- Maintain good health through regular physical activity and balanced nutrition.
- Schedule and fulfill annual medical examinations such as mammograms, prostate exams, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, and hormone panels.
- Take medications as prescribed.
- Avoid sexually transmitted infections through proper use of condoms,
- open and honest communication with partners, and
- regular checkups.