Staying Sensual in Your 40s
A new survey shows many British women say they enjoyed their best sex in their 20s, with their forties and fifties marred by sexual insecurity as they grow older.
The Daily Mail reports that rather than feeling that “Life Begins at Forty” many women feel anxious, unattractive and unaroused as they reach midlife. And many are unaware they may be affected by physical hormonal changes that can be successfully treated.
This study was done by an online vitamin company, but it backs up research from other sources which shows many women experience a lack of interest in sex in long term relationships.
Sydney sex therapist Dr Rosie King says many women confess they would not care if they never had sex again. And the result is frequently relationships full of tension and resentment where both parties are miserable, she says in her best-selling book Where Did My Libido Go?
Identifying the Low Libido Problem
The answer she says is to identify the things that inhibit and enhance your interest in sex – from physical health to emotional, lifestyle and relationship issues.
The UK survey showed women blamed the hormonal changes of Perimenopause – the transition stage before periods stop for good – for many of their negative symptoms including including hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, depression, sore joints and a weak bladder.
Around a third of women enter perimenopause by 40, and nearly 75 per cent of all the women interviewed said their physical health was affecting the quality of their relationship:
- Nearly half say they no longer feel attractive
- Nearly two thirds say they no longer want sex with their partners
Women were at their most sexually confident between the ages of 21 and 30 when they are full of energy, and oozing with body confidence.
A decade later and that enthusiasm has been eroded, with more than one in four women aged 41 to 45 branding those years the worst for their sex life because of low energy, no sex drive and disliking their bodies were to blame for removing sex from their daily activities.
Hormones To Blame For Drop In Confidence
Dr Sarah Brewer, a GP and author of ‘Overcoming Low Sex Drive’, notes that:
‘More than half of women say their partner would definitely be up for more sex, but sadly, they have no libido anymore. Nearly a third said weight gain meant they no longer felt attractive.”
She suggests the loss of confidence may be due to a drop in estrogen, the hormone which helps make serotonin, the “feel-good” brain chemical.
“What’s surprising is how many are suffering in silence – 78 per cent said they don’t discuss it even with other women.’
Five Steps to Getting Sex Back on Track
- Improve your relationship
Dr Rosie King says for many women relationship inhibitors significantly affect their sex drive and create “desire discrepancy” where one partner – usually the man – want sex more often than the woman. Try and build up your stocks of “goodwill” in the relationship so you have reserves to draw on. That means being verbally and physically affectionate, and consciously sharing non sexual activities together that you both enjoy. Women need to feel personally appreciated and supported before their libido engages.
- Keep Your Sexual Motor Running
We tend to think being “in the mood” for sex arises from nowhere spontaneously but the truth is you need some triggers to help your express sexual feelings, says Dr King.
Couples who engage in regular sex actually engage in pre-sex courting behaviours that are very subtle, she says. “It might be a way of looking at each other, of saying something intimate, or using a particular tone of voice or affectionate touching.”
Although not obvious, they set the scene for sex and help them to act like lovers again.
- Don’t Expect Sex to Happen Spontaneously
In the first blooming stage of relationships when real life is put to one side and the couple are entirely focused on each other, sex can be frequent and spontaneous, says Dr King . . . but then real life intervenes. Once that happens, you need to make a conscious effort to maintain passion and excitement. That involves maintaining a regular sexual schedule because long periods of non- engagement causes disconnection physically and emotionally.
Dr King advises: Aim for once a week or once a fortnight and don’t wait till you feel horny.
- Resume Sexual Activity Gradually
If it’s been months since you got it together resuming sex may feel awkward and unfamiliar – maybe even uncomfortable if you have poor lubrication. Dr King advises to start by being affectionate outside the bedroom – kiss, hug, hold hands.
Then move on to affectionate but non sexual touching before you move on to more sexual caressing.
- Seek Natural Sexual Health Support
Look after yourself physically by ensuring you get 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep every night and eat a diet with plenty of protein and vegetables. Aim to get some exercise at least five days a week if possible. A range of herbal supplements are available to help give your libido a boost and lift mood and energy levels, including the popular Ignite for Women containing dong quai, damiana, tribulus and horny goat weed. And if a lack of lubrication makes sex uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to get additional help from a natural water based gel like Ignite Gel, free of all petro chemical additives.