Some older adults give up having a sex life due to emotional or medical challenges. But the vast majority of these issues do not have to be permanent. You can restart a stalled sex drive—and get your sex life back in motion. Remember that maintaining a sex life into your senior years is a matter of good health. Try thinking of sex as something that can keep you in shape, both physically and mentally.
The path to satisfying sex as you age is not always smooth. Understanding the problems can be an effective first step to finding solutions.
Emotional obstacles. Stress, anxiety, and depression can affect your interest in sex and your ability to become aroused. Psychological changes may even interfere with your ability to connect emotionally with your partner.
Body image. As you notice more wrinkles or gray hair, or become aware of love handles or cellulite, you may feel less attractive to your partner. These feelings can make sex less appealing, and can cause you to become less interested in sex.
Low self-esteem. Changes at work, retirement, or other major life changes may leave you feeling temporarily uncertain about your sense of purpose. This can undermine your self-esteem and make you feel less attractive to others.
Worry over “performance.” Worrying about how you will perform, or whether you are worthy of sexual attention from your partner, can lead to impotence in men and lack of arousal or orgasm in women. This may be a problem you have never before had to face. Sex drives can be naturally stalled as you face the realities of aging, but it is possible to overcome these bumps in the road.
Communicate. Talk to your partner, or to a friend or counselor, about your issues, whether they’re physical or emotional. Explain the anxieties you are feeling, ask for and accept reassurance, and continue the conversation as things come up.
Just “do it.” Sex is just as healthy and necessary as exercise and, just like exercise, it may surprise you with pleasure and satisfaction—even if you weren’t “in the mood.” So get back into practice. Once you’re back in the habit, you’ll start to feel better and your sex drive should naturally increase.
Increase your activity level. Bumping up your general level of activity will benefit your sex drive by increasing your energy and sense of well-being.
Let it go. As much as you can, use your age and experience to be wise and candid with yourself. Let go of your feelings of inadequacy and let yourself enjoy sex as you age.