Sexuality and Aging

August 19, 2021

Is it normal for my sexuality to change as I age? So many things change as we age and our sexuality is no exception to that rule.  Whether you notice changes gradually or if it sneaks up on you and all of the sudden you are aware that your sex drive just isn’t what it used to be.  This may have you thinking, “What is the best way to address this issue?”  Not sure where to start?  Let’s go over some of the reasons you are experiencing these changes in your sexuality.

What happened to my sex drive?

A number of things can play a role in why your sex drive has dropped.  As we get older we experience certain changes in our health.  Or we do not feel as good about our appearance as we once did.  The reasons your sex drive may have taken a nosedive can be vastly different from one individual to the next.  Here we will cover some of the more common factors that may be affecting your libido.

Arthritis – If you experience joint pain due to arthritis, it could make the act of sex uncomfortable for you.  Be sure to exercise. Talk to your doctor about what anti-inflammatory medicines may be right for you.

Chronic pain – Pain will definitely interfere with intimacy but it doesn’t necessarily mean to give it up entirely.  There are medications out there that can help.  However, do look at the side effects of the medication.  It may cause some side effects that you are trying to avoid (i.e. lower libido).

Diabetes   Diabetes is one of the illnesses that can be linked to erectile dysfunction. In many cases, medical treatment can help.  Women with diabetes are prone to more vaginal yeast infections and that can very well interfere with the way you feel about sex at times.  Yeast infections can be uncomfortable but can be treated.

Heart disease –  Narrowing or the hardening of the arteries can change blood vessels so that blood does not flow freely.  As a result, causing problems with orgasms in both men and women.  If your partner has previously had a heart attack you may be fearful that sexual activity could cause another attack.  It is always best to follow your doctor’s recommendation in regards to risks.

Incontinence – When you don’t have total control of your bladder it can make you uncomfortable, which is common, especially in women as they get older.  The best advice would be to empty your bladder prior to having sex and try to find a position that doesn’t feel like it is putting any extra pressure on your bladder.

Stroke – If you or your partner has had a stroke, there may be some mobility issues.  There are, however, positions and/or medical devices that may help.  Stroke victims can have a healthy sex life and are able to experience an orgasm and/or pleasure.

Depression – With depression you can lose interest in many of the activities you used to enjoy and that at times does include losing interest in sex.  Depression can be treated, if you have concerns in regards to the side effects of certain medications, voice those concerns with your physician.

Surgeries – Many different types of surgeries will take a toll on your sex drive.  In most cases, it is only temporary.  If you have had a hysterectomy or a mastectomy, either of these may change how you feel about sex.  Hopefully, you are provided with the proper resources to learn the possible outcomes of these surgeries prior to having them.  In addition to sharing these concerns with your doctor, you may also reach out to someone that has had similar experiences as yours.  The American Cancer Society’s website does provide some good resources that can be helpful on your road to recovery. 

Medications Certain medications can cause issues with your sex drive.  Take a deeper look into what some of the side effects are for the medications you are taking.  If they do affect your sex drive then ask your doctor about an alternative without the unwanted side effects.

Alcohol Overindulging with adult beverages can also cause erection issues in men and can often delay orgasm for women.

Along with these, there are of course other factors that may be causing your sexuality to change as you age. Women as they start approaching the age of menopause, they will start having so many different changes going on and that can include changes to their sexuality. In any case, you should also keep lines of communication open between you and your partner.  They may offer you the support you need to get through this time.  

It is always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about any health issue you are experiencing.  Together you can work on what is best for you and your health.  At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we are a team of passionate healthcare professionals. We are here to help you at any stage of your life.