As we age, there are many aesthetic changes that we have to accept, such as fine lines, wrinkles and grey hair. And while a reduced sex drive is a biggie when it comes to ageing, that doesn’t mean you should have to endure bad sex as you get older. In fact, there are a variety of ways, such as exercise, to boost your sex drive, Dr Kieran Kennedy tells Starts at 60. But before we delve into some of the exercises you can do, Dr Kennedy says it’s important to understand why these changes occur in the first place.
“It’s common to notice a reduction in libido [sex drive] as we age, and there are a number of physical changes that we might notice too,” Dr Kennedy explains.
For women, he says changes to lubrication, arousal and sensation are pretty common. While men may experience difficulties with getting or keeping an erection, also known as erectile dysfunction.
“Changes here often come down to our hormone profiles changing as we age,” Dr Kennedy says, explaining that shifts in oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are notable drivers for women, while testosterone production can slow in men.
However, the good news is that a little exercise can go a long way when it comes to improving your sex life. If you’re not sure where to start, Dr Kennedy has listed his top five exercises. However, he suggests talking with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime.
Dr Kennedy reckons cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, light jogs or swimming, are a good place to start, as research shows that “improved cardiovascular fitness can have positive impacts” on your sexual health and performance as you age.
He says incorporating core exercises into your weekly routing is also super important, explaining that, “healthy sexual function often involves movement that comes from our abdominal muscles”. Dr Kennedy says yoga and Pilates are both ideal exercises for core strength.
Meanwhile, Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, should be considered a first-line approach when it comes to improving sexual function, Dr Kennedy says, explaining that these types of exercises help engage and strengthen your pelvic floor. A quick search of the internet, particularly YouTube, will bring up plenty of demonstrations of how to do these exercises.
“The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role in many areas of health, and for both men and women this includes sexual function,” Dr Kennedy says.
And research has shown that regular yoga can improve your sexual health thanks to its combination of low-impact strengthening, increased flexibility and mental health benefits. According to a study published online in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in February 2010, regularly practising yoga improves sexual function in women.
Finally, Dr Kennedy reckons a big component of sexual health and function comes down to “how we’re doing mentally”. “Engaging in regular exercise that leaves us feeling good mentally is [consequently] another solid way to help prep [your] brain and body for better sexual health,” he says. Whether that’s a brisk walk with a friend or a team sport “doing something you enjoy has added benefits”.