Aging and Sexuality: What Baby Boomers Need to Know
Hormonal imbalances cause loss of sex drive and sexual dysfunction as you age.
You thought the words “hormonal imbalance” would never apply to you again after you got through the painful teenage years, didn’t you? Actually, your hormones keep changing as you age, which affects sex drive and sexual function.
Aging and Female Sexuality
Once a woman’s body decides it is time to stop reproducing, she enters a new state of maturity. What is normal at 20 is not normal at 55. It’s getting to the new phase of life that is usually rough, because there is a lot of seesawing going on—in hormones, sex drive, and emotions.
Women lose muscle mass, vaginal and body sensation, and sex drive. Appetite and digestive function also tank. The results are weight gain and an upset stomach.
The trade-off is increased mental clarity and a willingness to stand up for themselves and say what they think. Women in this phase feel much less inclined to placate others.
Aging and Male Sexuality
As men age, they have a slow, steady loss of testosterone that starts around age 40 but starts to get really pronounced around the late 50s. Physically, they experience the hormonal change as a softening of muscles, an increase in body fat, a decrease in erectile function, and sometimes a decrease in (or even loss of) sex drive.
The tradeoff for men is that their interest in caregiving increases. They become more willing to negotiate and feel less need to be “macho.” They may also have a new or stronger interest in spiritual development.
How to Manage the Transition
Though Baby Boomers might not want to admit it, getting older means getting softer and gradually losing your sex drive. Unfortunately, our society shuns people for both of those qualities. But we shouldn’t, because it happens to everyone. It is a natural biological progression.
All of these changes in your body are completely normal!
You may be tempted to get hormone replacement therapy instead of accepting your body’s changes as you age. Women often do it to please men, and men do it to maintain their virility. Instead, consider accepting yourself and your body as working exactly the way nature intended you to work.
So how do you manage the ups and downs associated with aging and sexuality? Acupuncture and herbs lessen the side effects of the transition. By balancing your organ functions and making them work as best as they can, the extreme ups and downs are smoothed out and you move more gracefully toward the next phase of life.
Post-reproductive years have much to offer in terms of insight into the meaning of life and its challenges, and a more even temperament. Because our society is so youth-oriented, we tend to chase the values of youth, a beautiful body, lots of sex, and always being active—without considering that a totally different state of being is equally valuable.
Recommendations for Further Reading
If you’d like to understand the impact of hormones on the human mind, read Sex on the Brain by Deborah Blum. The author does an excellent job describing why men and women are so different when it comes to sex drive.
A helpful book to read on the topic of the effects of aging on sexuality is Betty Friedan’s The Fountain of Age. The author discusses the adjustment to the lower sex drive associated with age.