NO MATTER NO MATTER, whether you’re an energetic 20-year-old, a newlywed 35-year-old expecting a child, or 51 and going through menopause, we all have one thing in common: our sex drive.
Sometimes it’s insanely high and makes you want to frolic between the sheets, and other times it can sink so low that the thought of even being touched is enough to send you fleeing.
According to the University of Glasgow, libido – particularly in women – comes a long way throughout life: 34% of us have low libido at some point, compared to 15% of men.
But what happens as we age, and how can we ensure our sex drive stays alive no matter what stage of life we’re in?
In your 20s…
“We’re in our sexual prime in our 20s,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, relationship expert at the Paired app.
On the other hand, it’s the decade when you’re most likely to use birth control.
“Some evidence suggests that oral contraception may reduce sexual desire,” says Dr. Jordan Rullo, clinical health psychologist and sex therapist at menstrual tracker app Flo Health.
Learn more “Books, podcasts, and TED talks can help you connect sensually with your own body so you can discover what feels good and what you like,” says Kate Moyle, sex and relationship expert at intimate lifestyle company Lelo.
Try Kate’s The Sexual Wellness Sessions podcast and Ruby Rare’s book Sex Ed: A Guide For Adults.
Follow It Up If you think your birth control might be preventing you from having a good time, talk to your GP.
Non-hormonal alternatives include condoms and the copper IUD. Tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms through apps like Flo and Natural Cycles can also help you identify when your sex drive is skyrocketing.
“Plan sex around the drive-heavy weeks by letting your partner know,” says Dr. rollo
In your 30s…
In this decade, you’re becoming more aware of what you want sexually, but stress at work, children, and mortgages can dampen libido.
“Self-care time is greatly impacted, which in turn impacts sex, both the time to socialize and the way you feel about your changing body,” says Moraya.
Your partner may also have problems.
“Men may feel like their partner’s attention has shifted to and away from the children,” says Dr. rollo
Plan it: Just 5-10 minute slots for sex appeal a few times a week will do the trick.
“People in long-term relationships can lose self-pleasure.
A little “me time” can do wonders for your sex drive,” adds Moraya. Also, make time to talk about your feelings – communication is key.
Practice mindfulness “It allows women to go out of their heads and into their bodies and focus on the sensations of sexual moments,” says Moraya.
Practice this before sex. Take time to tune in and be present in the moment.
In your 40s…
“In long-term relationships, emotional detachment can cause sex life to dwindle,” says Moraya.
Research by relationship app Paired found that in a decade, the number of couples holding hands has decreased by 30%.
A reduction in estrogen levels can also affect a woman’s sex drive.
“Vaginal dryness can reduce desire because it can lead to sexual pain,” says Dr. rollo
“Lube and moisturizer and HRT are all options.”
However, this decade may prove to be very encouraging.
“A lot of women know their bodies and what turns them on,” adds Kate Rowe-Ham, founder of the Owning Your Menopause app.
Be intimate in other ways. Just touch can make a difference – a hug, holding hands or even a back scratch.
“Small intimate acts can have a huge positive impact on a relationship,” says Kate.
Lift weights: To maintain libido-boosting testosterone levels, complete two to three resistance-based workouts per week.
Aim for 20 minutes using bands, dumbbells, or bean cans.
For moves, search “KateRH_Fitness” on YouTube.
In your 50s…
Menopausal symptoms are likely at play (the average age of menopause in the UK is 51) but confidence is on the rise.
“A lot of people feel most secure in their 50s, and sex can be a part of that,” says Kate Moyle.
“Some may also be experiencing the process of their children leaving the home, and this can give a couple more space and privacy at home.”
Eat Libido-Boosting Foods “Oysters, avocados, blueberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes are all considered ‘love foods,'” says Kate Rowe-Ham.
Avoid alcohol and fatty foods. “You might think alcohol gets you in the mood, but it can have the opposite effect.”
Try a Toy “You may need to spend more time engaging in non-penetrative sex, touch, and increased sensuality by using sex toys to feel aroused,” says Kate Moyle.
Try Lelo Tiani 3 for £129 – this couples massager has eight vibration settings and can even be adjusted to suit your body shape.
In your 60s…
“Erectile dysfunction is not uncommon in this age group,” says Kate Moyle.
“Typically, with age, there is a decline in activity as sexual stamina may not be what it was.”
However, some may experience a sexual reawakening – be careful though!
“Starting in this decade of life, there is a higher rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to a lack of safe sex,” warns Dr. rollo
Spice things up: Watch sexy TV shows with your partner, read or listen to a hot book (check out Audible’s erotic novels), or explore role-playing games.
Work on your health. Stay active, eat nutritious foods, get some sleep, and stay on top of your health checks.
In your 70s and beyond…
“Your physical ability to have sex will change and that can be a big mental struggle.
“From arthritis and aching joints to medication and mobility, it’s important to listen to and work with your body,” says Moraya.
“But don’t be put off by age or by society’s negative stereotypes about age and sexuality,” adds Dr. Added Rulo.
“You can still have great sex.”
Be open to someone new. “If desire is low because you no longer have a partner, sophisticated dating sites and apps like OurTime and Silver Seniors can help you find someone who might spark your desire,” says Dr. rollo
Get Comfortable: Not feeling as supple as you used to?
“Use pillows for physical support, while lube can make penetration more comfortable,” says Kate Moyle.
“By focusing less on the capital ‘O’, you can focus on the pleasure and importance of closeness in sex, too.”
- Concerned about low libido? If you suspect it is related to any medications you are taking or if symptoms do not improve after pregnancy, talk to your GP.