This week I started thinking about male health and aging because let’s face it, there are a lot of things that start to vary as we get older. I’ve noticed this to be true when I compare myself at age 21 to my current age of 32. As men we go through our teens being packages of uncontrollable hormones to our twenties when things start slowing down a bit.
All men think about their bodies and their performance at all stages of life. We think about everything from the way our bodies look in the mirror to how things seem to be changing in our sexual lives. As gay men we pay attention to even more details, or so it seems in my experience. In gay culture there is a lot of focus on appearance and sexual performance, so when these things start to change, a lot of gay men tend to panic a little.
Youth or appearing youthful seems to be the main concern to many because for some reason gay men fear becoming what some call a troll. Some worry about the fine lines appearing on their face and others worry about their lack of explosive ejaculation during sex. As I’ve entered into my 30’s, I’m starting to realize that a lot of these things don’t really matter much to me, because there’s more to me than appearance and sex. I have to realistic though because my feelings would probably be different if I weren’t married and still had to deal with the gay singles scene.
What are some of the normal changes as we leave our teens and progress to our thirties and beyond?
1. Erections take longer to occur
2. Fewer sperm are produced
3. Erections are less hard
4. Sexual desire may decrease
5. The force of ejaculation decreases (up to 50%)
These issues typically start to arise due to a drop in testosterone as we begin to age, as well as changes in the prostate. Now that we know this, how does it make you feel about getting older? In all reality it shouldn’t make you feel anything negative.
What can we do to make sure these factors limit their impact on our life as we continue to age?
It’s important that everyone regardless of age gets into some kind of physical fitness routine. By exercising and keeping fit you will reduce the likelihood of many minor problems becoming major problems. As we age we typically start gaining weight and sit around a lot. If you eat poorly and never exercise you may end up taking medications to control some conditions, and these medications can possibly impact your body, including your sexual performance.
If you’re in your 20’s and 30’s the risk is relatively low that your prostate will cause problems unless you have a family history of some kind. It’s still recommended that you go ahead and start having exams by your doctor every so often just to be safe. Through my 20’s I never bothered having a full physical because like many of you, I felt invincible. Once I got into my 30’s I finally decided that it is a good idea to take better care of myself, and that included a physical exam. Once you get into your 40’s and 50’s it’s recommended by most physicians that you get yearly exams. If you have a family history of problems they may recommend bi-annual exams.
For all of you out there who are putting off getting a physical, it’s really not that big of a deal. I never had one because of all the stupid stories I heard and silly stuff I saw on television. When I decided to go ahead and do it, there was really not a huge difference between a normal doctor visit. They will check your height, weight and blood pressure and then take you into a private room. You’ll be asked to undress to your underwear and put on a paper robe. The doctor will eventually come in and check your breathing, ears, reflexes, and eventually check your heart with an EKG. They usually save the best for last, and that is the testicular exam for hernias and the dreaded prostate exam. If you have a good doctor he will explain everything to you and make you feel completely comfortable. The prostate exam should be quick and relatively painless. Your doctor may also have blood work done as well to make sure all your levels check out good.
The satisfaction of knowing you’re healthy far outweighs the fears you should have of actually going for an exam. I encourage you all to find a doctor, schedule a full physical exam, eat healthy, exercise, and take care of yourselves. You’ll be happy you did!