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Healthy Living

Sex and the Adult

By the late teens, physical maturity will be attained. But adult psychosexual maturity may not follow automatically. Young women may be scared of penetration, fearing pain or a sense of humiliation. Men are afraid of their inexperience and the possibility of a bad performance. These fears may result in sexual problems like impotence, or premature ejaculation in men, vaginismus and lack of orgasm in women.

The first sexual experience can greatly help or hinder confidence. Many a time a person’s sexual problem may stem from failure in the first sexual encounter, which, in turn, stems from the above mentioned fears. Sexual maturity does not begin and end with the ability to have sexual intercourse. In the first years of marriage, sexual activity and frequency is often high and the pleasure intense. But as the years pass by, the frequency and intensity will gradually decrease and stabilise at a particular level.

One major fear is that sex in marriage life will become routine and boring to both partners. This is a myth. Intelligent and adventurous couples will learn to keep sex alive at all times, in their marriage through various methods.

Although one’s sex drive declines with age, the rate and the extent of this decline are often exaggerated. In fact, desire and capacity for intercourse are often retained into old age. Usually, fears of social disapproval, worries about not being attractive as before, or doubts about sexual performance may lead a couple to give up sexual activity prematurely

Stages in Adult Sexuality

There are four stages to adult sexuality.

  • Young Adult

    • Interest in the opposite sex becomes intense.
    • Attempts at making friends with members of the opposite sex increase.
    • Embarrassment about sexual activity disappears.
    • Pressure from family and friends to marry begins.

  • Early Years of Marriage

    • Sexual activity is legitimised by marriage.
    • The levels of sexual activity are high.
    • Birth of children is followed usually by a decline in frequency and intensity of sexual activity.

  • Middle Years of Marriage

    • Marital intercourse rates may fall.
    • Dissatisfaction may lead to extramarital affairs.
    • Work pressures may cause marital problems.
    • Non-sexual aspects of marriage become increasingly important to marital stability and continuity.

  • Later Years of Marriage

    • Sexual activity declines further as physical energy and attractiveness decrease.
    • Children leave home.
    • Other non-sexual commitments take up most of one’s married life.


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