Sex. It’s not just fun — it’s actually good for you! It has the power to boost your immune response, increase your fertility, extend your lifespan, and much more. Yet if you’re getting older, you may think your sex life is coming to an end. That’s just what happens, right? 

Wrong! There are many very good reasons to be interested in continuing your healthy sex life. And the truth is that plenty of women, even late in life (think in their 80s) maintain a satisfying sex life, growing and changing along the way. In fact, 73% of women aged 57 to 64, 53% of those 65 to 74, and 26% of those 75 to 85 continue to have sex.1 

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As in all my articles, I approach this topic from the perspective of functional medicine. That means I’m thinking about sex as a part of your overall wellness — affected by all your body systems — not an independent issue. And as you’ll see, hormonal imbalance is one of the root causes of many sex issues. My Estroprotect supports optimal estrogen balance and a healthy libido, among many other benefits.

What Happens To Sex Drive As You Age?

As you age, libido usually decreases because blood levels of the hormones that drive interest in sex are reduced. This includes the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, regardless of your gender.2,3

Women can lose 80% of their estrogen during just the first year of menopause, leading to symptoms such as lower sexual desire, vaginal dryness, and pain during sex.4,5This is because the vaginal skin is rich in estrogen receptors, and estrogen is needed for vaginal engorgement, secretions during sex, and the resulting pleasure.6  

Declining hormone levels and changes in neurological and circulatory functioning may lead to sexual functioning problems such as vaginal pain.7 Diabetes predisposes you to sexual dysfunction because long-term blood sugar control damages your nerves and blood vessels.8

The likelihood of sexual disorders in men and women with cardiovascular disease (CVD) is twice as high as those without the disease.9 That’s a lot of people, considering CVD affects 70-75% of people between 60 and 79 years of age.10 This occurs because plaque buildup in heart disease affects the inner lining of blood vessels and smooth muscle. This reduces blood flow to your genitals.11 

That doesn’t mean you must lose interest in sex. In fact, you can naturally increase libido to spice up your sex life and even create a sex life that gets better with time. The byproducts of maturity include increased confidence, better communication skills, lessened inhibitions, and no fear of unwanted pregnancy. This can help create a richer, more nuanced, and deeply satisfying sexual experience.

So, ladies (and gentlemen!), let’s take a look at what sex can do for you at any age and how you can have a healthy, satisfying sex life throughout adulthood.

What Are the Benefits of Sex?

Sex has a lot of benefits that apply to women of all ages. Of course, for women of child-bearing years, conceiving is often the primary driver. And actually, scientists have long known that when you want to conceive, having a lot of sex — even during periods when you’re not actually fertile — can help. 

Now they know why. And these reasons detailed below can positively affect the health of ALL women, not just those trying to get pregnant.

The Health Benefits Of Sex – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®The Health Benefits Of Sex - Infographic - Amy Myers MD® Health Benefits Of Sex – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®

1. Fewer Colds and A Balanced Immune Response

Studies show that a side effect of regular sex is increased production of the immune cells T2 and T1.12 A boost in immunity has a range of benefits, including fending off common cold.13 It also helps you to keep autoimmunity at bay.

2. A Longer Life

Weekly sex results in longer telemeres, an indicator of longevity. One study found that women who reported having sex with their partner each week had significantly longer telomeres, a sign of decreased aging and a longer lifespan.14

3. Healthier Blood Pressure

You may have noticed that sex relaxes you, yet you may not know that it also has an internal relaxing effect which lowers your systolic blood pressure. This effect may help you live longer if you’ve had a heart attack. In fact, a 22-year study showed that heart attack survivors who had sex more than once per week were 27% less likely to die than those who didn’t have sex.15

4. Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis

Regular sex also keeps your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance, which can fend off osteoporosis.16 This is because lower estrogen levels increase the number of the cells that break down bone and lead to bone loss.

5. Less Pain

It turns out that sex might be one of the best natural solutions to pain such as headaches, muscle pain, and menstrual cramps.17,18 Orgasms can also lead to the release of serotonin and DHEA, and arousal releases dopamine, buffering stress, making you feel good and boosting your mood.19,20

What Can You Do To Boost Your Sex Drive?

Now that we know why it’s so good for you, here are some tips for making it even better and boosting your sex drive.

1. Lubricate

Lubrication should be a top priority for all women. It’s especially important for older women who may experience vaginal dryness. The key is to lubricate and re-apply regularly. Lubrication has three major benefits:

  1. It can immediately intensify pleasure and heighten arousal21
  2. It enables men to have sex of longer duration22
  3. It reduces friction, making lovemaking more comfortable

The best lubricants for all ages are natural, organic oils. Sweet almond, coconut, olive, and avocado oils are great options you might have in your cupboards.

However, natural oils may break down condoms, so use with care. Water-based lubricants are a great option if you are using a condom. If all else fails and intercourse is still painful or uncomfortable for you, consider visiting your physician to enquire about bioidentical hormone creams.

2. Relax

Avoid a sex life crisis by making time for sex. Taking your time with foreplay can help to give your mind and body enough time to get ready for penetration, which may last for a shorter time.23 That’s because some men may experience difficulty with orgasm and ejaculation due to aging, medical conditions, stress, or medications.

3. Explore

Even if you’re not the adventurous type, trying new things in the bedroom can increase your arousal. A new position, such as a penis entering the vagina from behind, can stimulate your g-spot. Role play is another option. Vibrators can be a real asset here, because they can aid you in exploring what leads you to climax. These are becoming a very mainstream item — I saw them in Target the other day!

4. Connect

Even when you’re not “in the mood”, touching and cuddling increase sexual desire. It increases feel-good hormones, leading to greater intimacy and desire. This is because it causes the release of oxytocin, the “love” hormone. Cuddling is high on the list of the activities that couples with great sex lives do.24 It often naturally leads to something more, yet even if it doesn’t, cuddling still has many benefits.

5. Strengthen

Your pelvic floor is critical, before and after pregnancy and later in life, for bladder control. A strong pelvic floor can help improve your sexual health and pleasure by:

  • Relaxing your vaginal muscles, so they can stretch more easily to receive a penis 
  • Developing your internal control during penetration
  • Increasing lubrication and arousal
  • Making it easier for you to reach orgasm, and have more intense contractions during climax25

If you’re already working on your core strength, you’re also working your pelvic floor. However, Kegels and using vaginal weights can also be very powerful. Kegels involve contracting and relaxing your vaginal muscles on cue. Vaginal weightlifting simply adds an object to lift and squeeze as you work out. The weights come in the form of jade eggs, steel cones, and teardrop- or spherical-shaped, medical-grade silicone weights.

6. Be Positive

Consider this. People who are OK with aging had better sex lives and people with better sex lives were OK about aging. The same goes for people with a positive body image at any age. It all begins with acceptance of the changes that we all go through as we get older.

7. Masturbate

This is probably not new. Yet if you haven’t done it lately, now is the time to restart! Masturbation increases blood flow, improves vaginal elasticity, and releases endorphins. It actually increases your desire for sexual activity26,27 and can even reduce food cravings!28 Here, also, vibrators can be a real asset. Again, you can find these with personal care items in drugstores and big-box retailers such as Target.

8. Eat Well

The best thing you can do for your sexual health is to improve your overall health. In terms of diet, this means avoiding inflammatory foods, especially gluten and dairy, and focusing on organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish. You can discover more about eating The Myers Way® to support optimal health here. Be sure to avoid alcohol, which suppresses your physical sexual response, though it may help you relax initially.29

However, there are a few foods which may specifically enhance sexual function. Dark chocolate has been shown to increase blood flow in parts of your body beyond your torso.30 Saffron can improve sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, which may be because of saffron’s free-radical fighting activity.31

Apples are associated with better lubrication and overall sexual function in women.32 One of the reasons why they’re a food that boosts libido in women is because they contain phloridzin. That’s a plant form of estrogen, which controls your sex drive.33

Eating turkey breast is a natural way to boost your body’s supply of L-arginine. That’s a critical component for relaxing blood vessels.

9. Supplement

EstroProtect helps to balance your hormones, particularly estrogen. As we’ve discussed, estrogen is a key sex hormone that helps maintain healthy vaginal moisture levels. It also keeps your vaginal lining thick and elastic, so you’re comfortable during intercourse.34

Unfortunately, our environment is full of xenoestrogens, which can lead to estrogen imbalance and disease. EstroProtect is perfect for you if you want to support healthy estrogen metabolism. It’s also great if you eat or drink out of plastic bottles or containers, or use beauty and body care products with parabens, phthalates, or “fragrance.” Estroprotect also contains folate, which is important to maintain sex drive and fertility.35

What if You No Longer Have a Partner?

This is something even many healthcare practitioners and grief counselors have trouble addressing. Do not feel guilty for mourning the loss of sex or for wanting a sex life. 

Keep in mind, there are three options:

  • Find a new partner. However, remember that you’ll still need to use protection even if you are post-menopause to protect from STDs.
  • Masturbate. 
  • Go without sex.

If you’re not ready for a new partner, I advocate masturbation. This is a healthy act at any age! Even if you don’t climax, it still carries many of the health benefits described above. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about sex with your healthcare provider, this is a great time to use the internet to do some research. 

No matter how alone you may feel, or how awkward, I promise you are not the first person in this situation. You don’t have to pass up the health benefits of sex, no matter what your age.

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