By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: August 10, 2010
Written by Diana E. Hoppe, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
Have you lost your groove? Your sex life has taken a dive even though you are still interested in your partner? You are not alone.
According to the recent 2009 Sex, Romance, and Relationships Survey released by the AARP in May 2010, there has been an alarming drop in people’s sex drives. Evaluating a random sample of 1,670 American men and women, aged 45 and older, some intriguing findings were revealed. Between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of the people in their ‘50s who say they have sex at least once a week took a 10-point nose-dive for both sexes (women dropped from 43 – 32 percent, and men from 49 to 41 percent.). The majority of other age groups also showed similar decreases.
One alarming statistic from this survey showed how things have definitely “cooled down” for many menopausal women. Approximately 1 in 5 women in their ‘50s say they’d be quite happy to never have sex again. About 1 in 50 men in their ‘50s agree.
Every day in my gynecological practice, I see perimenopausal and menopausal women concerned about their lost desire, or the “urge to merge” as I like to call it.
Let me share 5 ways that you can re-ignite those flames of desire:
- Be Real – Accept Some Ups and Downs. Realize that your “urge to merge” fluctuates during certain times of your life, especially during the perimenopausal and menopausal years. Menstrual cycles will be erratic during these 2-8 years before menopause, and this can lead to less desire. With the precipitous drop of estrogen associated with menopause (defined as no menstrual cycles for over 12 months), vaginal pain and discomfort with sex is quite common.
- Move Your Body: Many studies have shown that exercising and feeling more “toned” increases self-esteem, body image and desire. Even a loss of 5lbs. can lead to an abundant increase in self-esteem and confidence. So start using that gym membership and show off your curves.
- Eat “Real” Foods: Nourish your body with natural foods such as green leafy veggies, nuts, fruits and whole grains. These foods are essential for production of critical sex hormones and brain chemicals, neurotransmitters. Avoid refined, synthetic, highly processed and saturated foods as these will make your body feel sluggish and decrease your desire.
- Nourish Your Mind: Replenish your brain stores by taking time to meditate, get a soothing massage and allow yourself adequate sleep. Get creative and start using your “right” brain more: take an art class, listen to music, and have some fun!
- Beware of Stress: Stress is one of the leading libido killers, especially for women. Women react to stress differently than men, and this takes its toll in the sexual arena too. In general, women remember details more vividly and feel the effects of stress more than men. Recent studies have shown that social bonding between women increases their levels of oxytocin, also known as the calming hormone. Oxytocin, in turn, decreases the level of stress hormone, cortisol. So make time to meet with friends for coffee or a glass of wine and devote time for physical and emotional intimacy with your partner.
So start using these tips and find that “hot” desire again!
1Sex, Romance and Relationship: AARP Survey of Midlife and Older Adults
2Taylor,Shelley et al. 2000, “Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight”. Pscyhological Review 107 (3): 419-429.
About the Author
Diana E. Hoppe, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is a highly respected; board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in private practice in San Diego, California. She is co-founder of her private group practice, Pacific Coast Women’s Health, Inc., and Medical Director/Principal Investigator of Pacific Coast Research Center in Encinitas, California, a medical research center that conducts international clinical research trials in the field of women’s health, including menopause, perimenopause, and libido. Her new book, Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You: What Your Libido Reveals About Your Life is available online or at your local bookstore. For more information, go to www.drdianahoppe.com.