Just because your body’s changing doesn’t mean your sex life is over
Misconceptions about the effects of aging on a woman’s sexuality are abundant. While a variety of factors, including menopause and stress, certainly have an impact, women can – and do – continue to enjoy sex throughout their lives.
As a matter of fact, a recent study conducted at the University of Texas by psychologist David Buss suggests an increase in sexual fantasies and sexual experiences for 27 to 45-year-old women.
Another study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal indicates that the value an individual places on sex plays a key role in sexual engagement. While on the surface these findings may seem obvious, the main takeaway is that – for some women – changes to their libido may not be entirely physiological.
While this is empowering news, it’s also only part of the story.
How aging affects a woman’s libido
Sex is as much psychological as it is physical – and aging can affect both factors. So, let’s take a look at some common sexual obstacles for women as they get older.
From approximately 20 to 40 years old, a woman’s androgen levels can drop by about 50%. Testosterone levels in a woman’s body can have a direct impact on her desire for sexual activity. Androgen deficiency – a depletion of testosterone – can affect women before and after menopause.
Estrogen’s another influential element of a woman’s sex drive. As the ovaries make less and less of the hormone, muscle tone, vaginal elasticity, and lubrication atrophy. Women may experience pain during penetration and difficulties achieving climax during and after menopause, further diminishing libido.
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)
When testosterone levels become severely low, some women may develop HSDD – especially those who’ve had surgically-induced menopause. Women with HSDD may experience a decreased libido, fewer orgasms, and severely diminished sexual arousal and pleasure.
Social and psychological factors can be problematic. Insecurities about body image, performance, and relationships can become more complicated – or improve – as we grow older. In addition, depression and anxiety tethered to non-sexual events can also impact a woman’s libido.
Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
Any condition that restricts blood flow can affect a woman’s desire for sex. When circulation to the blood vessels surrounding the vagina is reduced, both lubrication and arousal may decline.
How to kick your sex life back into gear
In most cases, a woman’s sexual enjoyment need not fall victim to the aging process. Changes to lifestyle or medical treatments may help resurrect one of life’s most pleasurable activities.
If you’re sick and tired of hearing about the benefits of exercise, chances are you’ve never given it a fair chance. Introducing exercise to your daily routine is packed with benefits, including improved circulation, lowered blood pressure, elevated mood, and improved self-image – not to mention the calm, creative “high” commonly associated with physical activity.
Blood flow is vital to sexual arousal – smoking weakens the heart and restricts circulation throughout the body.
Sugar and processed foods can manifest a myriad of difficulties for your body, including obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Bringing a little levity into your life can make you happier overall, which in turn can contribute to increased sexual desire. Romantic vacations, date nights, or even sharing sexual fantasies with your partner can help revive your sex life.
Treatments for age-related female sexual dysfunction
Dryness and pain
Lubricants and low doses of vaginal estrogen can help alleviate these common menopause-related symptoms.
For women experiencing hormone-related problems such as androgen deficiency, hormonal supplementation may revitalize their desire for sex.
Inability to climax
Sometimes difficulties having an orgasm are more psychological than physiological. In such cases, sex therapy may provide a resolution.
A reliable treatment for men is now for women too
Circulatory problems can also impact sexual function in both men and women, and a research-backed intervention used for years in Europe has made its way to America.
GAINSWave® is the first standardized protocol in the U.S. for using shockwaves to address sexual dysfunction and poor performance in men – and it’s now available for women.
FemiWave™ uses high-frequency, low-intensity acoustic waves to promote new blood vessel growth – vastly improving circulation and the sexual performance that may depend on it.