Do you have a dirty little secret? Are you afraid no-one else will understand? Well, if your interest in sex is waning and your libido has been lost along the way, you’re not the only one and here’s why.
When we think of libido, we think of a part of us that makes us feel aroused and sexually excited. But what is a libido? Is it a mix of hormones swirling within us? Or is it more than that? What is a libido and how does age have an impact on it?
Libido, or sex drive, works due to a variety of different factors, including biological, social and emotional. The stresses of life, illness and the workings of the body can have an effect on libido, but as we age it comes down to hormonal, health and emotional reasons that lead to our low sex drives.
- Oestrogen: Post-menopause, women are no longer producing ovaries, which means the body also isn't producing oestrogen. This can lead to dryness in the vagina and thinning of the vaginal walls which can mean very uncomfortable and less-than-enjoyable sex. How to combat it? Use a good water-based lubricant to avoid chafing and painful intercourse. The decrease of oestrogen can also decrease the level of blood flow to the vagina, which means less intense sexual stimulation and enjoyment.
- Testosterone. When we think of testosterone, we often think of men's health. But women also have testosterone and it is a large factor in a high libido. Women have approximately 1/10 to 1/20 the amount of testosterone of men and this level decreases with age until around 45 for women and into the 70s for men. So it is no wonder that women tend to have a lower libido than men. For women post-menopause, testosterone levels are half of what they were in their 20s and women are bound to see big changes in their sexual drive as a result.
- General health. A study done for the AARP Research Centre in 1999 found that 60 per cent of women aged between 45 and 74 were sexually active at least once a week. The study also found that the main cause for the decrease in sexual activity was poor health. Around 30 per cent of women said they would be more sexually active if their partner was healthier.
Other physical concerns which can affect libido as we age include:
- Bladder problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Heart disease
As we age, it's not just the physical reasons which contribute to a low sex drive, there are a variety of emotional reasons which contribute as well.
- Feeling beautiful. As our bodies change shape and appearance, it is common for women to worry about their body and this can have an effect on sex drive. We just don't feel like the sexual goddesses we once were. And while our bodies and our needs change, with age we become more mature and more willing to get what we really want in the bedroom. Find your inner goddess, no matter your age, and enjoy your body and your sexuality again.
- Stress. The stresses of day-to-day life can also impact libido. If you are worrying about your marriage, your finances or having an empty nest, this will also contribute to your love life. Relax, open up and communicate with your partner and have fun with your love life again.
From the expert
Love and sex expert Dr. Laura Berman suggests taking a series of steps to reignite your libido with your partner as you age together.
- Reality check. "Take some time to assess your relationship and figure out where things are off-kilter," Dr. Berman suggests. "People with wonderful relationships and great sex lives don't have some secret key — they simply put the time and effort into maintaining their love and making their sex life a priority."
- Become lovers again. "Find ways to bring back that sexual spark by ditching the 'roommates' routine. Your partner is supposed to be your lover, so put some effort back into seducing him and reawakening his sexual desire," Dr. Berman says.
- Communication. "Talking about sex isn't always easy, but it can be the most powerful and transformative thing you can do for your sexual pleasure and desire," Dr. Berman continues. "Great sex takes a little effort, but it's worth it."
How do you keep the flame burning in the bedroom? Let us know in the comments below.
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