If you’ve ever wondered how your libido could change with age, you’re not alone. While it’s completely normal for your sex drive to ebb and flow over time, many people worry that their sex life will eventually disappear completely. Thankfully, aging doesn’t guarantee a sexless future. Join us as we uncover some of the ways that age could impact your sex drive and share some tips on navigating changes in your libido.
Are You Ever Too Old for Sex?
Per usual, we’ll start by busting some myths. While a person’s libido does generally decrease over time, the age-old (pun intended) myth that people stop all sexual activity in their later years simply isn’t true. Each person and their libido is unique, so there’s no specific age when people suddenly become “too old” for sex. In fact, a 2010 study by the University of Chicago found that 39% of U.S. men between the ages of 75 and 85 were sexually active, and that 71% of those men reported having good quality sex. That’s good news for guys who want to keep their sex lives thriving for as long as possible.
Another myth we’ll squash is that there’s only one way to have great sex. Your version of an ideal sex life will look different when you’re 60 versus when you’re 30. Sure, you may desire sex less often as you age, but frequency isn’t the key to mind-blowing sex. Understanding your body, communication, and adaptability are all important parts of a healthy, thriving sex life. So even if you don’t get it on as often later in life, you’ll still have the awareness and tools to cultivate a fulfilling sex life at any age. Besides, plenty of older men continue to have great sex lives despite age-related decreases in libido. So try not to let changes in your sex drive keep you from being flexible and adaptable as your body changes. Your sex life will thank you for it.
Testosterone, Desire, and Age
Let’s talk about testosterone. As the major male sex hormone, testosterone has a key role in sexual development and performance. Men’s testosterone levels change over time, and these fluctuations can influence things like libido and sperm production. However, some men experience lower levels of testosterone than expected for their age. Symptoms like low sex drive, hair loss, and reduced muscle mass can indicate it’s time to have a conversation with your doctor.
To understand the slower, age-related changes in a guy’s libido, it’s best to take a chronological approach.
Your 20's & 30's
After testosterone levels reach their peak at age 18, many men experience high testosterone levels throughout their 20's. Even though testosterone levels typically begin to drop after a peak at age 18, this decrease is very slight and many men experience a consistently high libido between the ages of 20 and 29.
Heading into your 30's, testosterone levels have continued decreasing gradually. Within this decade, your testosterone levels may begin decreasing at a rate of about 1% per year. This is completely normal, and you may notice your sex drive is a bit lower than it was during your 20's.
Your 40's & 50's
In your 40's, you’ll likely notice a more apparent change in your sex drive. By this point, testosterone levels have continued to decline and many men begin experiencing conditions like Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
When you reach your 50's, other health issues such as cardiovascular problems or diabetes may develop and present a challenge to your overall health. These conditions (along with continuously decreasing testosterone levels) can lead to noticeably lower sexual desire.
Your 60's, 70's, and Beyond
During your 60's and beyond, the risk of developing additional health concerns grows significantly. In fact, nearly 33% of U.S. adults over 65 have diabetes and more than 40% are obese. These health problems present their own physical challenges and can make sex difficult. Additionally, conditions like heart disease have a significant effect on cardiovascular health. Compounded with decreased testosterone levels, worsening health can lead to people over 60 experiencing low sexual desire.
Ways to Boost Your Sex Drive
We know it's natural for sexual desire to decrease with age, but there are plenty of methods that can help you maintain (and even boost) your libido and sexual satisfaction. Considering that men can encounter a variety of conditions as they age, these strategies prioritize health and lifestyle. After all, taking care of your body and mind means you’ll have more energy to burn in the bedroom.
Keep an Active Lifestyle
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for a lifetime of great sex. Many of the conditions that can develop as men age impact the cardiovascular system. So keeping a consistent exercise routine can help your overall health and your sexual health as you age. And don’t be afraid to start early; even if you’re in your 20's, maintaining a regular exercise routine can help keep you healthy and sexually active for decades to come.
Regardless of age, stress can have a huge impact on sexual desire. Not only can stress make you feel mentally and emotionally detached from sex, but stress also triggers the release of hormones that can restrict blood flow and interfere with erections. Stress management looks different for everyone, but many guys use strategies like breathing exercises, yoga, and masturbation to effectively manage stress.
Eat Libido-Boosting Foods
Research shows that key nutrients in certain foods could help boost sexual health. Foods like grapes, apples, and berries are rich in flavonoids, which can help prevent conditions like ED. The mineral zinc helps regulate testosterone levels, meaning foods like pine nuts, crab, and lobster could help boost your libido. When it comes to stress-related dips in sexual desire, foods high in vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, protein, and probiotics can lower stress levels.
Communicate: Partners & Doctors
Communication is crucial for a thriving sex life, especially if you’re having exclusive sex with a long-term partner. As your libido changes with age, your partner’s sex drive may change as well. Maintaining open communication will help you co-create a sex life that’ll bring you both fun and pleasure for a long time.
It’s also important to communicate with your doctor about any sexual health concerns. Various therapies and treatment options are available to help men maintain their sexual health and navigate hormonal changes as they age. So if changes in your libido are causing you distress or discomfort, be sure to reach out to your doctor.
Remember that it’s possible for your sex life to actually get better with age. When it comes to health, being proactive can make a world of difference. So even if you’re in your 20's and 30's, don’t be afraid to start implementing some of these healthy habits. Even if hormonal changes make you want sex less frequently in your later years, building habits that support your sexual wellness will be the gift that keeps on giving for a long, long time.