With the changes we are facing after sixty, like retirement, limited income, separation or divorce, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, weight gain, mobility restrictions, responsibilities of grandchildren, facing our own mortality or the mortality of our partners and close friends worrying about libido can often pale into insignificance. But our libido is still really important for our well being.
Libido is the term used for our conscious or unconscious sexual desire. Loss of libido is the loss of that sexual desire or sexual drive and should not be confused with other sexual dysfunctions that can impair libido. It is thought to be normal for sexual drive to diminish with the passage of years although the degree is highly variable. For many diminished sexual potency and vaginal dryness may contribute to reduced libido. For many others over sixty their sexual activity improves with age and they can often enjoy sex well into later life. So it would often be a mistake to link libido with either sexual performance or sexual satisfaction.
Because libido is mainly associated with well-being illness can depress libido dramatically. For example loss of libido is very common during cancer treatment as are falling levels of hormones, stress, overexertion, tiredness, anxiety and financial problems.
Some drugs may induce loss of libido and the most notorious are antihypertensive drugs, prescribed mainly for depression. High intake of alcohol depresses sexual desire and cirrhosis can depress ones androgen levels. Also in males a link has been found between diabetes and coronary heart disease and erectile dysfunction issues.
Ad. Article continues below.
There are various hormone replacement drugs available for women that may promote libido but with the side effects and the risks it is just not worth using these. The androgen patches available for males to treat hormone deficiency can also have adverse effects on the liver and cholesterol so they are not wise to use either. The use of testosterone in men and women is very controversial and definitely not recommended in the older population.
If sex is not fulfilling then interest will usually diminish. For men there can often be erectile dysfunction in a relationship due to anxiety or due to criticism resulting in a failure to perform. For women in many cases vaginal dryness or the recurrence of cystitis can reduce sexual drive due to the discomfort of penetration. If there are any problems within a relationship sex will be less attractive to one or both partners. For many over sixty sex has become too ritualistic and mundane.
Many people don’t want to discuss these issues and very few consult a doctor even when it may be the cause of relationship difficulties. Many will only usually seek help due to the demands of a partner who insists their other half seek treatment or at least talk to a professional about their problems.
From my research I discovered they are many natural and perhaps obvious issues that you can look into if your libido had waned over the years:
Ad. Article continues below.
- Feel good about yourself. Low self-esteem can affect your libido. Why not spoil yourself and consider a massage if you’re stressed or worried, maybe your partner could massage you. (You can always hint or ask).
- Sleep. Libido is one of the things affected by poor sleep. Without quality sleep your energy suffers and your body is forced to ration its energy. A gentle exercise program early evening such as yoga or tai chi may provide relaxation.
- De-stress. If stress is an issue vitamin B complex may help and a diet with limited refined sugar will also help the body stay balanced
- Herbs. Ginseng has been used for centuries to improve endurance and stamina and can provide an improved sense of well-being. (Take caution with Ginseng if you have high blood pressure or a high heart rate). L-theaninel, the extract of green tea also has a gentle calming and focusing effect on the mind. Gingko biloba, the herbal remedy made from the leaves of the gingko biloba tree is known to improve blood flow to the sexual organs and have an effect upon desire, excitement and orgasm. Yohimbine long used in Africa as an aphrodisiac is thought to improve male impotence and is often called natural Viagra.
- Foods with aphrodisiac properties. Oysters contain antioxidants, libido boosting zinc and trace elements necessary for good sexual functions. Avocados are rich in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fat making them good for your heart and arteries so they make sense as an aphrodisiac. Almonds have been long known to increase passion and act as a sexual stimulant. They are nutrient rich and can enhance libido and sexual desire. Strawberries are an excellent source of folic acid. The colour of them somehow stimulates desire in both men and women. Figs are packed with both soluble and insoluble fibre that is important for heart health. Citrus is super-rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and folic acid all of which are essential for men’s reproductive health. Chocolate is said to be full of libido-boosting methylxanthines.
- Keep fit. Moderate exercise will help improve blood flow and helps make you feel good about yourself and in turn improve libido
- Lose weight. Being overweight also affects your self-esteem and your sexuality. Extra weight can mean you may be more likely to suffer from blood vessel disease that can reduce essential blood flow to the genitals
- Smoking. Smoking can cause blood vessels to narrow which can also have a severe effect on the blood flow to the genitals.
- Alcohol. One drink can help lubricate the situation but as alcohol is a depressant too much can mean men end up in a bad situation.
Ad. Article continues below.
To increase or maintain your libido that you once took for granted it is worth at least trying some of the above.
During my research I came across a fact from a study in 2008 that found that men find woman sexier if they’re wearing RED! xxx CaroleL
If you would like me to cover any particular topic in this column please email me at [email protected]
Carole Lethbridge is the author of “Online Dating After Sixty: One woman’s journey of love, lust and losers”. She has been both married and single over the last few decades and she has done her own research, gathering extensive data on relationships between females and males. Online Dating After Sixty is available for purchase for $21.50 via Booktopia.