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On this page

    Does sex drive decrease with age?

    On this page
    1. What is testosterone?
    2. Signs and symptoms of low testosterone
    3. Can low testosterone cause low libido?
    4. Other causes of low sex drive
    5. Age and libido
    6. How to increase libido
    7. How to increase sexual desire
    8. Low libido and erectile dysfunction treatment

    Couple in bed

    With increasing age, you may find that you experience a lower sex drive than you are used to, which can be distressing. After the age of 40, a natural fall in testosterone levels can lead to a loss of libido in men and an increase in the time needed to achieve an erection.

    What is testosterone?

    Testosterone is a male sex hormone, produced mainly in the testicles, that plays a large role in the male libido. Women have testosterone as well but at much lower levels. Testosterone isn’t only linked to sex drive, it also helps to develop:

    • Male sex organs
    • Body hair
    • Muscle
    • Deepening voice
    • Sperm
    • Red blood cells

    Signs and symptoms of low testosterone

    Low testosterone can affect health and lead to symptoms that directly impact sexual performance, including:

    • Reduced sex drive
    • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
    • Decreased sperm count

    Other symptoms of low testosterone can include:

    Can low testosterone cause low libido?

    Male testosterone levels peak in the late teens and the initial drop does not usually have any significant physical effects before the age of 30. Between the ages of 30 and 40 a man’s testosterone levels fall by about 1% every year; whilst high enough to be measured, the effects are rarely a concern. After the age of 40, however, a low libido in men can be noticeable as testosterone levels decrease even further.

    Other causes of low sex drive

    Lowering levels of testosterone is not the only reason an older man can experience loss of libido. Often psychological factors can be responsible for low sex drive, including stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. Relationship problems, issues around gender identity, sexual orientation or relationship issues with your partner can also negatively affect your sex drive.

    If you’re worried about your loss of libido, it is worth reducing unhealthy habits such as:

    Underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, underactive thyroid and diabetes, can also bring about a reduced libido. Certain medications can also affect your sex drive, including antidepressants, antipsychotics and medication for seizures. Make sure you check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if low libido is listed as a side effect.

    Age and libido

    Of course, loss of sexual desire can be indicative of deeper relationship problems, but it doesn’t always mean that there is something hugely wrong in a relationship. Many things can affect sexual desire, such as stress, tiredness, illness, medication (like the contraceptive pill), drugs and alcohol, hormones and ageing. It also differs from person to person and ebbs and flows throughout life.

    How to increase libido

    There are lots of things you can do to boost your libido, meaning you can continue having rewarding sex at any age. Follow these tips on how to improve your sex life:

    • Eat aphrodisiac foods such as oysters, cocoa, maca powder, watermelon and avocado.
    • Spend time with your partner discussing your emotional needs and building intimacy.
    • Take time to meditate and release anxiety.
    • Eat a healthy diet.
    • Undertake daily exercise - yoga, tai chi and brisk walking are all good for physical and mental health.
    • Make sure you’re well rested - taking naps when you can and having a bedtime routine.
    • If necessary, talk to your doctor who can advise on medication.

    Although it is not always the case, it is often suggested that women find it more difficult to get in the mood for sex than men do. One reason for this is that men produce much more testosterone, giving them an additional urge to spontaneously want to have sex. If you and/or your partner have lost the urge to want to have sex, you might find that once you get started with some sexual activity with your partner and get into the foreplay, then your desire may start to develop from that point. But if you are waiting for the return of a powerful spontaneous desire before engaging in sex, you might be waiting forever.

    How to increase sexual desire

    Make the effort and do something fun together

    Go out on a date or perhaps go on a weekend away from all the chores and routines in order to separate yourselves from the mundane every day, and tap into your playfulness.

    Step out of your habits and comfort zone

    Try new things as a couple and as individuals (not just sexually), but in other areas of your life. When you can see that your partner has new and different aspects to them, it demonstrates that there is still more to know about them, which can spark desire. For sexual desire to come out from hibernation, a balance is needed, combining the security and comfort (like the old slippers), with newness, mystery and excitement. It sounds contradictory, but logic doesn’t apply here!

    Spend some time apart

    It’s true that absence can make the heart grow fonder.

    Schedule in sex

    It may seem unsexy and unspontaneous to do this, but you might be surprised how much of a turn on it can be to plan sex. If the idea of sex puts pressure on you, plan in sex without intercourse, which will allow you the freedom to explore and try new things together.

    Indulge in erotic fantasy and enjoy touching your own body

    You don’t have to share your sexual thoughts and fantasies with your partner, as they can be helpful to kick start your own sexual feelings. Engaging with yourself as a sexual person separately from your partner can be helpful in building your confidence.

    Talk to each other

    Talk about what helps you to get in the right frame of mind for sex. Get to know yourself, your likes and dislikes, what helps you relax and feel closer to your partner. Is there anything your partner can reasonably change about their behaviour that can help you and vice versa?

    Loss of sexual desire can be a complicated and distressing issue for couples and in some cases it might be worth considering seeking specialist psychosexual therapy to address this. Loss of desire could also be indicative of a hormonal imbalance or another medical issue, so it might also be wise to consult your GP or visit LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor for discrete advice.

    Low libido and erectile dysfunction treatment

    Low libido can sometimes be a result of erectile dysfunction (also know as ED). If you are anxious about your sexual performance or if you experience ED As a result  this can have a negative effect on your sex drive. ED medication might help in those cases. If you experience ED then there are a number of treatments available. Suitability for each treatment might depend on the cause of your ED so be sure to get yourself assessed before seeking treatment. We offer eleven prescription-only medications for ED:

    • Viagra: the best known treatment for ED.
    • Sildenafil: the same active ingredient as Viagra (sildenafil citrate) but cheaper.
    • Cialis: longer-lasting, Cialis remains active in the body for approximately 36 hours.
    • Levitra: similar to Viagra in terms of length of effect. Suitable for diabetics.
    • Spedra: a very fast acting treatment that can take effect in under 30 minutes.
    • Tadalafil: the same active ingredient as Cialis (tadalafil) but cheaper.
    • Tadalafil Daily: the same active ingredient as Cialis daily but cheaper. Enables spontaneous erections.
    • Vardenafil: the same active ingredient as Levitra (vardenafil) but cheaper.
    • Viagra Connect: As effective as Viagra and Sildenafil, works in one hour.
    • Vitaros: Effective ED cream, works in 30 minutes.

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    References

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/

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