It’s not uncommon for people to reach 40 and find much of the sizzle has vanished from the bedroom. It’s easy to blame the problem on growing older, boredom, stress, or menopause, but there could be something else causing waning desire.
Between the ages of 45 to 64 sexual dysfunction becomes more common. One study found that out of 40,000 women, 45% of them experienced sexual problems while only 31% of men had complaints.
“Impaired sexuality and sexual function aren’t normal consequences of aging,” according to geriatric psychiatrist Ken Robbins. Elizabeth G. Stewart, a professor at Harvard Medical School, says, “Sex can be more satisfying than ever during perimenopause and after menopause–if you avoid certain traps.”
So what are these traps? Experts have identified certain sex-stoppers that can put the brakes on your sex life once you reach 40 and beyond. Here are a few of the most common.
Lack of communication.
In some families, sex isn’t something that is talked about. For that reason, some people never grow comfortable discussing it–even with their partners. They don’t necessarily feel the need to analyze the sex to death. No one ever complains, so it’s easy to accept the status quo.
The problem is that when an issue does pop up after years of not talking about sex, it becomes difficult to suddenly become an open book. Even if you’ve been married for 20 years or more, voicing that you may need more foreplay or stimulation can be hard to do.
But it’s never too late. Many women may feel it’s easier to start the conversation in bed while the lights are out. The important thing is to explain exactly what is missing and focus on individual needs. Be sure to use “I” sentences such as, “I’d like more touching and kissing” rather than using “you” sentences that can make your partner think they are at fault.
For women over 40, painful intercourse caused by vaginal dryness is often the result of perimenopause and post-menopause. During this time the vaginal walls thin and the vagina atrophies because of falling estrogen levels.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can restore estrogen. While it’s true many women are afraid of estrogen because they’ve read about associated cancer risks, there are local options that only take a minute amount to do the trick.
Looking for lust in all the wrong places.
It’s understandable if you no longer feel tingly when you look at someone that has been your partner for the past 25 years, even though they are still attractive. This is especially true for women. They can view their partner’s body like they were looking at a grocery list. On the other hand men can catch a glimpse of a bare thigh and feel like a teenager.
Why is it different for women? Actually, the lust is there . . . it’s just in a dormant state. Sex researchers now know that there is a fourth stage of sexual activity called desire. The stages of sexual activity once only included arousal, plateau, and orgasm. For most women, desire actually comes after arousal. That’s why plenty of flirting and hot foreplay are so important.
Experts tell us that if you avoid these three sex-stoppers it’s entirely possible to put the sizzle back into your sex life. Getting older doesn’t have to mean putting the brakes on exciting sex. You may be getting older, but if you play your cards right you’ll be getting better, too.
Cadell is a love guru in private practice in Los Angeles. She is the founder of
the Loveology University, On-line University of Love Coaching. She is also a
Media Therapist, Author and World Class speaker on romance, relationships, love
and human sexuality.