The changes that occur in our bodies as we age can reduce both our sexual desire and sexual function. This can be a particular problem for men over 50. Mild or moderate erectile dysfunction is said to affect up to 50% of men who are 50plus.
What can we do about it?
In times gone by, this reduction in libido was something that we had to accept. Many men and their partners simply suffered in silence. That is not the situation today. If something is going wrong in the bedroom talk to your partner and then talk to your doctor. Don't bury your head in the sand, it's unlikely to make things better.
Prescription pills such as Viagra® are now the first-line treatment for erectile dysfunction (link to our article on erectile dysfunction) and they can be very effective. Your primary care doctor or your urologist can prescribe these for you.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: The vascular problems often associated with high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol can lead to trouble with your erections. If the blood isn't flowing you're not going to obtain or maintain an erection no matter how hard you or your partner try. To increase your libido by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. See our post on a healthy lifestyle.
Get your heart checked if needed. I know it sounds crazy but the fact is that problems with getting and maintaining an erection can indicate other problems, such as significant heart disease. This is probably not the case but get checked out because early detection increases the chance of remedying any problems.
Don’t assume it’s low testosterone. Many experts are concerned that too many men are being treated for low testosterone. However, a drop-off in desire can be related to hormones. For erection issues, it can be helpful to get your testosterone checked. It’s important that your doctor investigate and address the reasons why you have low testosterone or low sexual desire Check out our post on boosting your testosterone.
And here are those 7 simple tips I promised:
1. Set aside time for sex. As we age, the stress and pressures of everyday life can create a barrier to good sex. When we cross the big 5-0 it’s more important than ever that we set aside time to nurture our relationships and develop ongoing intimacy. Do this and it can help us enjoy a healthy intimate relationship well into our 70s and 80s.
2. Eat more fruit. Figs, bananas, and avocados, are all considered libido-boosting foods, (aphrodisiacs). Now even though there's not a huge amount of evidence supporting their effectiveness these foods can be an important source of vitamins and minerals that can increase blood flow to our genitals and promote a healthy sex life.
3. Eat chocolate. Chocolate has always been a symbol of desire but following a recent study, there is evidence that chocolate promotes the release of chemicals into your body that have both aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effects. Note: Moderation is the key. Don't overdo it with the chocolate. We're talking a couple of pieces of chocolate as part of your foreplay, not binge eating giant size family bars of Galaxy.
4. Take your daily herbs. Next time you're preparing a romantic dinner, add a little basil or garlic to the dish. The smell of basil stimulates the senses. Garlic contains high levels of allicin which increases blood flow.
5. Stick to one glass of wine. Two glasses of wine might be one too many. Drinking one glass of wine can put you at ease and increase your interest in becoming intimate. But too much alcohol can ruin your ability to perform by affecting erectile function. Too much alcohol can also inhibit your ability to orgasm.
6. Take time to meditate and relieve stress.
No matter how healthy you are, being stressed out is going to affect your sex drive. To relieve stress, participate in sports activities, practice, meditation, Tai Chi, or take a yoga class.
7. Get more sleep. Did you know you need adequate sleep for your body to produce testosterone? Sleep deprivation contributes to a decline in ( check out our post on testosterone) production, so be sure to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep if you wake up during the night, think about your sleep schedule and environment. Check out our post on sleep.