You probably know that old song, “Where Did Our Love Go?” Many women over the age of 40 are asking, “Where did our sex go?” Sex drive, also known as libido, can change a lot throughout life. Numerous factors can affect sex life, such as the work-life juggle, looking after the family, financial pressure, or relationship strain. According to research by University’s Women’s Health Research Program, around 70% of women aged 40-65 reported experiencing low libido.
Components of Sexual Desire
Sex drive, which is the interest in being sexual and in sex, has three interrelated components.
This is the biological component and manifests as sexual fantasies and thoughts, seeking out sexual activity, genital sensitivity or tingling, or erotic attraction to others. Sex drive varies significantly from a woman to another and often varies from day to day based on a woman’s health, stress, and daily activities.
Beliefs, values, and expectations about sexual activity
Natural sex drive can be affected by an individual’s attitudes towards sex shaped by religious beliefs, peers, family, media influences, and culture. The more positive one is towards sex, the higher the sex drive.
This component involves an individual’s willingness to behave sexually at a particular moment and with one specific partner. Since interpersonal factors and emotions drive motivation, it is the most sophisticated component of sexual desire. It is becoming increasingly recognized by experts as maybe the most important. In general, a caring relationship is vital for most women to experience sexual desire.
Sex drive (but not always) wanes with age
Generally, sex drive reduces gradually with age in both women and men. However, women are two to three times more likely to be affected by a reduced sex drive as they age. Reduced sexual desire becomes more apparent in women starting their late 40s and 50s. This effect of age differs by person. Some women experience a huge decrease in sex drive beginning their midlife years, while others notice no change. A few who experience increased sex drive could be because of the feeling of liberation by their freedom of the newly found privacy or freedom from contraception.
Sex drive and menopause
During the menopause transition, the physical impacts of falling estrogen levels such as night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness can lower sexual desire and motivation. Besides, some women who undergo sudden menopause due to chemotherapy or removal of both ovaries suffer a significant reduction in sexual desire than women experiencing natural menopause.
- Anxiety and depression
- Urinary incontinence
- Education level
- Social skills
Solutions to low sex drive
- Consulting your doctor or GP
- Fostering a healthy-caring relationship
- Make plans for dates and lovemaking
- Include foreplay, massage, and oral
- Short-term couples counseling
- Identify the underlying causes and address them
Therefore, shining a light on sexual health and desire at midlife helps remove common misconceptions and fears, encouraging women to explore their erotic potential.