Ageing is inevitable and with it comes wide-sweeping changes. One of the changes is in the sex drive and the changes vary between men and women. It’s important to keep in mind even as we track the changes in sex drive that it peaks at different periods and then tapers off. It doesn’t peak and then plummet entirely. If your sex drive is completely gone, that may indicate a different problem altogether. Sexual appetite is also a factor of your brain function, hormones, beliefs, and attitudes about sex and so changes as these things change as well. Here are some of the ways sex drive changes as you age for men and women.
This is when men are at their sexual peak. Sex hormones (primarily testosterone) are incredibly high at this age and sex drive is just as high. Testosterone peaks at about 18 and then slowly begin to decline after that but remains high enough to support reproduction.
Female fertility at this point starts to decline and for some reason that spikes a rise in sex drive. One reason cited for it is perhaps the body is trying to encourage reproduction before it’s too late.
For men, testosterone begins to decline by about 1% each year. This doesn’t have a significant impact on libido but there is likely to be a small change compared to your 20s. In other instances, it just remains the same. The drop in libido becomes more noticeable from about 35 years old.
Libido or sex drive for women increases as fertility declines. This is the decade when women are at their sexual peak. Women consistently report having the highest sex drive in their 30s. Sexual fantasies increase and for many women your frequency of sex increases as well as your likelihood of having sex earlier in your relationship.
For men, there’s a distinct reduction in sex drive. It’s very apparent and usually leads to dissatisfaction. Their erections become less rigid, and they start desiring sex less often. Erectile dysfunction begins to become more prevalent. Testosterone decline leads to a lower sex drive.
Some women begin to experience perimenopause which is the beginning of menopause. There’s a decline in estrogen production which can cause vaginal dryness which can lead to painful intercourse which can decrease the desire for sex. This however can easily be solved by making adjustments like using lube. For many women, there’s a gradual decrease in sex drive.
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During this decade there’s a marked decline in sexual interest and sexual activity for both men and women. Physical changes for men and women include:
- lower-quality erections
- reduced ejaculate
- volume reduced
- vaginal lubrication
- less orgasmic pleasure
- lower overall sexual functioning
One study found that the reason for the dip for men was deteriorating health while for women, the primary reason was the loss of a spouse. Regardless, sexual desire, activity, and function still remained present and strong during this decade.
The 60’s and onwards
For both men and women, a variety of factors contribute to the decline in sex drive and activity. Chief among them include sexual dysfunction, chronic illnesses, and the death of a partner. Some of those factors include:
- Postmenopausal vaginal symptoms
- Erectile dysfunction
- Body image concerns
The decline however does not mean an end in sexual desire, many people in their 60s still report fulfilling sex lives.
How to increase sex drive
Libido decreases, it doesn’t disappear. If you notice a complete disappearance or a decline that’s faster than you feel seems right, consider speaking to a medical professional to get to the root of the issue.
Other changes you can make include:
- Increasing exercise and physical activity
- Eat healthily and include libido-enhancing foods
- Avoid libido-lowering foods
- Manage stress
- Improve sleep quality
- Reconnect with your partner
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