Here’s exactly what to do when your libido is lagging.
Getting older doesn’t mean your sex life has to suffer.
In fact, recent data suggests sex sometimes gets better with age. According to Match.com’s annual Singles in America survey, single women reported having their best sex at age 66, and single men said it was at 64.
But knowing you could have great sex and actually feeling like you’re up for sex are two different things.
It’s normal for your sex drive to go down a little bit as you get older, says Debra Laino, a relationship and sex therapist based in Wilmington, Delaware.
There are a few reasons why this might happen. Some medications, like blood pressure drugs or antidepressants, can cause difficulty with arousal or orgasm in both men and women, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Chronic illness, hormonal changes, stress, and self-consciousness about one’s body can also affect libido.
“However, if an older adult takes care of themselves, they can continue to have sex regularly,” Laino says.
If your sex drive isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, don’t despair. Here are four things you can do to give it a boost.
Libido Booster #1: Eat Well and Stay Active
A healthy body is a sexy body, so make exercise and nutrient-dense foods a priority.
Rather than stocking your kitchen with so-called aphrodisiacs—which often have little evidence to support their effectiveness—Laino recommends incorporating a good mix of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. It’s an easy way to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs for optimal functioning.
She also suggests sticking to a workout routine that includes cardiovascular exercise and yoga. Exercise not only helps you relieve stress, but research shows the effects on your body (better blood flow) and brain (an uptick in feel-good neurotransmitters) play a role in maintaining a healthier, happier sex life.
Libido Booster #2: Enjoy the Journey
It may take a little longer than it did in the past to get aroused, says Laino, and that’s okay. Take your time, and be patient. This will help you focus on the pleasure experienced before and during sex.
It’s also important to understand that sexual intimacy comes in many forms. It may seem insignificant, but increasing the amount of times you hug, kiss, and touch your partner during the day can work to increase your libido—and theirs.
For more tips on bringing back the spark, check out our guide to seven simple ways to rekindle your relationship.
Libido Booster #3: Dress to Impress—Yourself
Learning to celebrate your body can also get you in the mood, Laino says, so put on an outfit that makes you feel sexy. By shifting the focus from your flaws to your attributes, you can boost your self-esteem and sex drive.
And when you do have sex, be playful with your partner to lighten the mood. It’ll make you both more excited to do it again soon.
Libido Booster #4: Don’t Ignore Elephants in the Bed
If medications or other health issues are putting a damper on your sex life, you don’t simply have to accept it. Your doctor may be able to help—and there’s no such thing as a question that’s too embarrassing for them.
If you think your current medication is decreasing your sex drive, continue taking it as directed but let your doctor know. Your doctor may change your dosage or switch you to a different medication.
If sex is painful or difficult, your doctor may be able to suggest a treatment. For women, vaginal dryness that often occurs after menopause can make sex painful—an obvious turnoff. Water-based lubricants and, in more severe cases, topical estrogen can help, according to the NIA.
For men, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem, but prescription medication may help. Another reason to let your doctor know about ED as soon as possible: Poor blood flow in the penis often reflects poor blood flow in the heart, brain, and whole body, according to cardiologists.
If you have a new partner, take steps to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or diseases (STDs). A report from Athenahealth found diagnoses for chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, and other STIs rose 23 percent in older adults between 2014 and 2017. Talk to your doctor about how you can practice safe sex and any tests you may need.
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