Most of us want to satisfy and be satisfied sexually. But getting in the right headspace for sex isn’t always easy—especially as we age. A study of more than 2,000 women ranging from ages 30 to 70 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that more than 50 percent of menopausal women report a decrease in sexual desire.
The reasons for low libido often vary. These include: pain during sex, which is more common as we age; normal hormonal fluctuations; endometriosis; or, pelvic floor dysfunction. Stress can also play a significant role. Anxiety and depression wreak havoc on libido and, unfortunately, the medications used to treat such conditions may decrease libido even more. Those in frustrating partnerships may also suffer low libido. Feelings of guilt, fear, or shame around changing bodies may also interfere with sexual pleasure. Whatever the reason, for many women, reevaluating and prioritizing pleasure is an important step to take in midlife.
“There is no such thing as a ‘sexpiration date’ and, in fact, I find that women actually really grow into their sexuality and can begin to more deeply enjoy sex and intimacy as they hit their 40s and beyond,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., a radio host, television presenter, and author of many books about sex and love. “We tend to be more aware of our sexual response and to more fully trust and love our bodies, all of which can make sexual pleasure even more orgasmic and meaningful.”