The need for romance and intimacy does not disappear. Many of the reasons for loss of sex drive are linked to physical changes in the body. Some common reasons for men are erectile issues. For women the reasons are physical and hormonal. As women get older and hormones start to dwindle, many can find themselves “not in the mood” for sex in the way they may have been in the past. And even when they are in the mood, changes in their body can result in vaginal dryness and pain during sex which can make the thought of sex unappealing. Also if women are unhappy in a relationship, if she doesn't feel good about herself, or if it hurts it can affect libido. It's hard to tease all of those factors out," says Judi Chervenak, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Older men require more manual stimulation and a longer time to achieve an erection. Another normal change is the loss of orgasmic inevitability or the sensation of impending orgasm. Some older men will notice that the volume of the ejaculate decreases slightly, and the force of the ejaculate also decreases with age. The older man also loses some of the focus on orgasm. Older men can achieve a great deal of pleasure from sexual intimacy and yet not have an orgasm or ejaculate.
Masters and Johnson discovered that "human sexual response may be slowed by the aging process, but it is certainly not terminated. "The refractory period," or the time it takes to achieve another erection after ejaculation, increases with age. While a young man of 18 can often recover with an erection 15 minutes after sex, a man in his 50s may require 24 hours or more before he has another erection and he is interested in intercourse again.
The capacity for sexual reproduction begins earlier in females than in males, often two years earlier. However, the commencement of puberty varies among girls and may not begin until age 14 or 15. Women differ from men in that the decline in sexual responsiveness with aging is quite gradual.
Women who remain sexually active, in fact, may be less likely to experience a drop in available vaginal lubrication. These changes are quite minimal until menopause — the most dramatic organic change that a woman undergoes as she ages.
When a woman enters her 50s she goes through menopause which causes a decline in the female hormone, estrogen. The absence of estrogen can result in decreased vaginal lubrication and changes in arousal and desire. When production of vaginal lubrication drops, this can contribute to discomfort during intercourse. Other normal changes in the older woman include a decrease in length, width, and elasticity of the vagina. Recent studies, however, indicate that the older woman has no physical limitation in her capacity to achieve and enjoy orgasm. The vaginal area and breasts may become less sensitive to touch, and that orgasm may take longer.
Ways to energize your sex drive:
- Use lubrication, to ease vaginal dryness and to help make intercourse more enjoyable.
- Exercising. Regular physical activity can boost feel-good endorphins and improve your body image. Kegel exercises (exercises done to tighten the pelvic muscles) can work to enhance sexual sensations and help boost desire.
- Communicating with your partner. This can help you feel more connected, and more inclined for romance.