June 14, 2017 | Posted in Editorial Features by
Aging is such an odd concept. We all love to joke about it - getting over the hill, turning comedically senile, backs aching, the need for reading glasses always increasing. At the same time, at our cores, so many of us are inherently terrified of it. No one really wants to lose their physical and mental capabilities, to slow down so much that we can't really participate in life the way we'd like to. Like any self-fulfilling prophecy, that fear has the ability to manifest a gradual loss of vitality that never needed to happen.
Don't get me wrong - we can't avoid getting older. Birthdays come and go, and the human body just isn't designed to last more than a century or so. But aging is different than getting older. Many doctors, particularly integrative ones, say that aging, in reality, is just a form of inflammation spurred by misinformed diets, little exercise, and lots of alcohol, but I won't bore you with that science. What matters, even more, is our attitude about aging. When aging becomes a synonym to diminishment, we seal our own fates.
Take sex, for example. The Journal of Sex Research recently released a study stating that people who view aging negatively are more likely to rate their sex lives poorly - meaning they have less satisfaction and less interest. Other recent studies suggest that our attitudes have a bigger impact on our sex lives than hormones. One that says older people have more satisfying, though less frequent, sex than young people went viral. How about the one that says consistent sexual activity protects your telomeres from degenerating? And then there are generations of anecdotal evidence suggesting that older men and women are more experienced and generally way better in bed. Some psychologists even purport that engaging with our sexualities gives us a sense of meaning.
There's honestly very little evidence that our sex lives should diminish with age. Sure, women eventual hit menopause and have a more difficult time getting wet, but there are countless solutions for said problem. Men sometimes struggle with testosterone, but that's fixable, too. Other than that, sex is still amazing for us way into old age, increasing our health exponentially. And sex drive remains wholeheartedly present - as long as you consider yourself to be a sexual being. The problem, of course, arises when we expect our libido to diminish and write off sex as something for new couples and young people. So long as you consider sex to be important, it really doesn't change that much.
Perhaps a major crux of aging is general is attitude. Perhaps, in conjunction with treating our bodies like human dumpsters throughout our lives, we expect our capabilities to diminish and we stop keeping ourselves physically and mentally sharp. If we stop seeking new experiences, looking for vitality in whatever way may be relevant to us in that moment, we let the so-called glory days (or glory fucks, as it were) fade away.
And that, dear Fleshlings, is on us.