Many women find their libido declines in their late 40s and 50s, or even after they reach 60. But this doesn’t mean that they should stop being intimate with their partner, or that sex is less satisfying than it used to be.
UPMC researchers analyzed interviews with women in their 60s about their sexual experiences and found that there were many factors contributing to low libido. Here are some things you can do to help.
1. Exercise regularly
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can boost libido. If you’re noticing an overall decrease in your sexual drive, talk to your health care provider about it. They can perform a physical to rule out any medical issues and recommend lifestyle changes that may help.
If your libido is related to menopause, you can work with your health care provider to increase your estrogen levels through hormone therapy or other treatments. They can also provide advice on adjusting your sleeping habits, stress management techniques, and other factors that might affect libido.
Women often experience a drop in libido during the period of time leading up to menopause, called perimenopause. If this is a problem for you, it’s important to have an open discussion with your partner about your concerns. Having a satisfying sex life is not only an essential part of a fulfilling life, it can also reduce your risk for chronic illness and improve your memory and cognitive function. If you’re worried about talking with your partner, a therapist can help you navigate the conversation.
2. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important for overall health, but it can also help boost libido. For example, eating two dessertspoons of linseed each day can increase vaginal lubrication and help you get more arousal during sex. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoiding trans fats and saturated fats can help improve blood circulation, which is key to female sexual function.
Other factors that can contribute to low libido include heavy drinking (more than a glass of wine each day) and certain health conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Depression is also common in midlife and can dampen libido. And some medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants, can also reduce libido.
If you’re suffering from low libido, talk to your doctor. She can check for menopause-related issues and other causes of a decreased interest in sex, and may recommend herbal supplements or medication. She can also advise you on ways to change your lifestyle and improve sex drive. But remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
3. Get enough sleep
In addition to exercising, eating a healthy diet and managing your stress, getting enough sleep is also important for maintaining your libido. Studies have shown that getting less than eight hours of sleep per night can cause a decrease in libido. Getting enough sleep can help increase female libido after 60 by allowing your body to relax and recharge.
Many women experience a decline in their libido as they get older. This is due to a variety of factors, including perimenopause and menopause. Perimenopause can cause a decrease in estrogen levels, which can lead to reduced sexual desire and function. Other symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can include vaginal dryness, fatigue, and bodily pain.
However, these symptoms can be managed with a combination of lifestyle and home remedies. Some medications may also contribute to low libido, such as antidepressants, sedatives, and blood pressure drugs. If you’re experiencing a loss in your libido, talk to your doctor about potential treatments and lifestyle tips that can help.
4. Manage your stress
In addition to exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and addressing medical issues that may be impeding sexual desire, emotional and psychological support can increase female libido after 60. Several mental health conditions, including low self-esteem and negative body image, can affect sexual desire in older adults. In some cases, these can be successfully treated with counseling and lifestyle changes. Other physical concerns that can reduce libido in older adults include erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, pelvic floor disorder, and thyroid disease.
Talking to your doctor about sex drive changes can feel awkward at first, but remember that they likely see patients every day with the same issues. Your doctor will help you determine if an underlying issue is to blame, such as medication or other health problems. In the meantime, you can take steps to improve libido by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, managing stress, and practicing masturbation (if appropriate). Practicing mindful body work can also help improve sexual function. Lastly, make time for intimacy with your partner to improve your relationship and enhance feelings of pleasure.
5. Stay connected with your partner
For many people, the loss of sexual desire associated with menopause can be distressing. It is important to seek care from your primary care, psychology and OB-GYN professionals, as there are often treatment options available.
Intimate relationships can help increase female libido, especially if it involves activities like cuddling, massage and foreplay. Oral sex, using vibrators and practicing masturbation can also be helpful for some people. It is important to remember that being intimate doesn’t just mean sexual activity, and talking about issues in your relationship can be a great way to boost your libido.
It is also worth noting that certain medications can have a negative effect on libido. It is worth speaking to your doctor if you have concerns about your medication, as they may be able to recommend an alternative that has less side effects. Increasing female libido after 60 can be easy with regular exercise, healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep and managing your stress levels. For those who still struggle, seeking medical treatment may be a good option. Taking steps to improve physical and emotional intimacy as well as addressing any problems in the relationship can make all the difference.