You love your partner, but you are suffering from low libido? Between late nights, early mornings, work stress, family obligations, and a million other balls in the air, there is little time and energy left for sex. But relationships change, and sex drive softens as we age… so, it’s perfectly normal, right?
Not necessarily. In fact, some reports suggest that our best love-making years are the ones that may lie ahead of us. A recent survey of 5,000 singles of all ages, ethnicities and income levels across the U.S. revealed that the best sex happens at age 66 for women and at 64 for men. It is at this time that our youthful self-consciousness wears off, communication becomes more comfortable, and greater creativity is embraced. So, if others are having the best sex of their lives as they grow older, perhaps it’s worth considering why you’re not enjoying sex at all?
Hormones are one of the biggest influences that cause low libido. Hormones that specifically have an impact on libido include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Estrogen & Progesterone
In the years leading up to menopause, progesterone production can decline leading to have high estrogen levels relative to progesterone, also known as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance often results in lower libido in women and is not only an issue in perimenopause but can also be brought on by stress.
When your body is under stress, we produce an excess of cortisol – our stress hormone. Progesterone is a precursor to cortisol so as cortisol increases, progesterone declines. Cortisol spikes can also block our progesterone receptors and make progesterone less available to function. The irony is that sex can usually be a huge stress buster.
Symptoms of a progesterone deficiency can include decreased clitoral sensitivity, vaginal dryness, loss of vaginal muscle tension, as well as more general mood killers like fatigue, weight gain, headaches, and depression. Interestingly, a lack of estrogen can also cause similar symptoms. If any combination of these issues sounds familiar to you, it might be your hormones blocking your path to pleasure.
If you’ve always thought testosterone was only important for men, think again. Reduced testosterone levels can have an impact on libido for both sexes.
In women, testosterone is what gives orgasms their oomph, heightening the sexual experience. As you can imagine, low testosterone is going to have the opposite effect, reducing sexual desire and satisfaction. Low testosterone levels in women can also result in lethargy, depression, and muscle weakness. In post-menopausal years, reduced ovarian function and hormone imbalances can reduce the amount of testosterone a woman produces.
Meanwhile, testosterone levels in men gradually decline with age. Testosterone deficiency in men not only diminishes libido and cause erectile dysfunction, but it can also result in a wide range of other symptoms including anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, poor memory, and reduced muscle and bone mass. Low testosterone levels can now be found in men of all ages.
Another one of the reasons people often associate a low libido with aging is due to the decrease in energy that comes with getting older. The same could be said about life after kids. As we age or when we become parents, our sleep patterns are interrupted with more frequent awakenings. The libido-crushing effects of a poor-quality sleep does not only impact seniors and parents, but feeling sleepy and irritable can happen to the best of us. Those who suffer from insomnia, irregular sleep patterns, or have sleep apnea may also relate.
In one study, sleep apnea was shown to have an impact on testosterone levels in men. And as mentioned before, fatigue and lethargy can also be a result of hormonal imbalances in women. You see, when it comes to our bodies, everything is connected, which is why it is so important to think of our health as a whole and not in separate parts. In order for us to get better, we need to identify and treat the cause, not the symptoms.
Are you worried that you’ve lost your mojo? Fear not. We can help you get it back. Start by getting your hormone levels tested properly in order to identify if an imbalance might be at play and have one of our experienced Naturopathic Doctors evaluated if there are any other issues. Natural hormone replacement options exist and can help get you back on track to feeling like yourself again.
Low libido can affect your enjoyment of life and your relationships. There is no reason you should have to settle for less. Book an appointment and let us help you.