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Midlife Sex Changes: Know the Ups and Downs

Well, the title may be a little misleading, but what I am researching is “Does turning 45 mean the end of fun in the bedroom?”

The good news from a new survey conducted by Zogby International on sex after age 45: “No.”

Just one caveat, sex may take a little more work. But, what doesn’t these days. It’s just part and parcel of our midlife health.

Zogby interviewed nearly 3,000 people age 45 and older nationwide about changes in their sex lives and found that Americans over 45 are often unaware of what happens to their bodies as they age.

Zogby worked with sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, “Dr. Ruth” (I remember her radio shows back in the early eighties)

Here are some interesting results of the survey:

  • Two-thirds of respondents were married and in a monogamous relationship. Three out of five consider themselves sexy and desirable, despite a cultural obsession with youth.
  • 73 % of men and women say they noticed changes in their sexual desire and sexual functioning after hitting 45.
  • 80 % of those aged 50-54 experienced a change in sexual functioning.

Surveyed men over 45 noticed:

  • 65 % experienced noticeable loss of ability to have erections;
  • 45% took a drug for erectile dysfunction;
  • 74 % found the medication helpful.

Surveyed women over 45 noticed:

  • 34% reported that vaginal dryness lessened sexual satisfaction;
  • 77% have used an over-the-counter artificial lubricant for vaginal dryness;
  • 80% found artificial lubricant helpful.

What’s interesting is that half were surprised by the changes and a third said the changes were totally unexpected. It’s important to know what’s happening to your body as you age and what you can do to remain strong, healthy and sexually active throughout your life.

Dr. Ruth makes the point that middle age men and women need to know what happens to their libido as they age so they can be more prepared for changes in sexual functioning.

As you journey through to maintain a healthy relationship during midlife, it’s important to understand the effects on your body.

Many men experience a decrease in testosterone levels which results in lowered sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Erectile problems generally increase as men get older.

As for women, as they reach pre-menopause and then menopause, they experience a range of problems, most commonly hot flashes, vaginal dryness and low libido.

So, what were the positive things about sex after 45?

Survey respondents stated:

  • Less cheating which leads to a reduced concern about STD’s
  • 75% of couples talked about sex and their libido changes
  • Over 50% of women say not worrying about birth control has had a positive effect on their sex lives.

Overall, it appears that couples over 45 know their bodies, aren’t as intimidated and are less inhibited than couples in their 20s.

So, what does all this mean to us middle agers?

Be aware of changes in sexual function as we reach midlife and talk with our partner about those changes. Savor time together and take time with one another, don’t rush things. Take care of our body both nutritionally and physically and our confidence and ability will stay strong. And last, but certainly not least, be creative and continue to explore new things with our partner. As I always say “Adding a little extra spice to anything can make it hot.”

How are you spicing things up in midlfe?

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