In their book, The Act of Marriage After 40, the LaHaye’s share a joke: [i]
The following are the three stages of a couple’s love life-
Those of you crossing the threshold into the middle-age years, don’t believe a word of what you may hear about your sex life dying.
It won’t die (unless you let it), but you will have to adapt to the changes that occur as you age.
Declining sex hormones play a big part in both desire and sexual functioning and if a couple is unprepared they could feel disappointed and anxious about their love life.
The good news is – with understanding and a few simple adjustments, physical intimacy can continue throughout your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.
You don’t have to give up on sex just because you’re getting older. It can feel as satisfying as ever – or even better – and deepen the love you share.
In men, for every year after 40, the sex hormone testosterone drops by about 1 percent. As a result, the desire for sex begins a slow decline.
Erections can become less reliable and will not be as firm. Minor distractions may make cause loss of erection and it may take longer to reach orgasm.
The biggest difference is the “rebound” – the time it takes for a man to recover before sex is possible again. As he gets older it will take longer – anything from 12-24 hours, and sometimes several days.
Women generally experience an increase in desire for sex after 40. This may be because women have time to focus on themselves more with the responsibilities of motherhood lessening.
“…women reach their sexual peak ten, twenty years after men when they are in their late thirties and remain on that plateau through their sixties, after which they may show a slight decline in sexual response capability.” [ii]
As they approach menopause (somewhere between the age of 45-50) women can expect the vaginal tissue to become thinner and drier due to low levels of
This doesn’t mean that a woman’s love life comes to an end at menopause.
“Many women feel that sex is more enjoyable after menopause since
there isno risk of becoming pregnant. Others feel their sexual assertiveness increases because they feel comfortable in a stable marriage.” [iii]
Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic says, “Waist size is directly related to sexual function. The higher it is, the higher chances you’ll have some dysfunction.”
Combined with regular exercise, do Kegels exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. So how do you actually do a Kegel?
Tighten your pelvic muscles – the same ones that stop you from urinating—for 2 to 3 seconds and repeat this action 10 times at least 5 times a day. You can do this while driving, standing, or sitting, and no one will notice.
A strong pelvic floor isn’t just for preventing leaks. It can increase the ability to orgasm, and both men and women should do them.
Testosterone levels are always higher in the morning. Take advantage of this and make love about 45 minutes after waking up – once your body has had a chance to wake up. Sex increases testosterone levels.
Make sure you get enough sleep. Between 7-10 hours of sleep a night will keep your testosterone at a healthy level.
Lower your stress levels. Elevated cortisol negatively impacts testosterone.
Sex can remain interesting, fulfilling, and exciting after 40. But make sure you are investing in your relationship, not just sex. Sex is not love. Anyone can have sex.
Real sex is an expression of love and love takes time.
can you, as a couple, do to prepare for a great sexual relationship as you get
[i] Pg 21
[ii] Bernard D Starr and Marcella Bakur Weiner, On Sex & Sexuality, 15
[iii] Tim & Beverly LaHaye, The Act of Marriage After 40, 23