There are many reasons why sex may slow down for women when they get older, not least of which is menopause. When the ovaries stop making estrogen, the vaginal lining becomes thinner, there’s less vaginal elasticity, muscle tone, and lubrication, and arousal takes longer. As a result, women may experience
- Decreased libido (a lack of interest in sex)
- Difficulty with lubrication
- Pain with penetration
- Difficulty or inability to climax.
- Some women may have sexual dysfunction that’s related to social or psychological issues, such as stress, anxiety, body image problems, relationship problems, or the lack of a partner.
Poor health can also get in the way of having sex. Heart disease can reduce the amount of blood that reaches sex organs, making it difficult to fill the blood vessels around the vagina that are crucial for adequate lubrication and arousal. High blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and incontinence can all nudge sex aside. Medications for a variety of conditions can have anti-sex side effects. For example, some drugs used to treat depression or high blood pressure can blunt interest in sex or cause difficulty reaching orgasm.
So what’s a woman to do? Seek treatment. That may not be as complicated as you think. Many sexual problems can be reversed with appropriate therapy, especially if they’re relatively new.
following lifestyle changes can also make a difference:
- Exercise—it can improve your sexual function by improving blood flow and strengthening your heart.
- Quit smoking—it will improve blood flow to the sexual organs and may also stave off menopause for a few years.
- Control your weight to give you the body image you want.
- Eat a healthy diet, which helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Improve your communication
As your body and feelings change with age, it’s important to communicate your thoughts, fears, and desires to your partner. People sometimes assume their partners know what they like in the bedroom. But that’s not always true.
Like many people, you may feel reluctant to give your partner sexual feedback or directions. You may feel shy, embarrassed, or worried about hurting their feelings. But try to remember, communication is key to a satisfying sex life. Be honest and open with your partner. Using humor may help take the pressure off.
Why bother with all this? Sex is important to women’s health. It revs up metabolism and may boost the immune system. Frequent sexual intercourse is associated with reduced heart attack risk. It can help the vagina stay lubricated, elastic, and healthy. And it’s fun.
If it’s important to you, you should be able to enjoy sex well into your older years. And that’s something worth talking about.