The Advantages: With Maturity Comes Expertise
As author Gail Sheehy wrote in her classic book on aging, Sex and the Seasoned Woman: "The middle years, between 50 and 65, constitute the apex of adult life…For women, the passage to be made is from pleasing to mastery."
Indeed, the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that 71 percent of 50-somethings surveyed—more than any other age group—said their last sexual experience resulted in an orgasm.
The Challenges: Manipulating Menopause
Because of dramatically reduced testosterone and virtually nonexistent estrogen, sex drive drops after menopause. But the options are plentiful if you want to rev things up.
Testosterone therapy using creams, gels, or patches has not been approved by the FDA and can only be prescribed off-label, but a growing number of women vexed by low sex drive swear by it. Physicians often prescribe very small off-label doses of testosterone along with menopausal hormonal therapy, or MHT.
Many women try MHT (formerly called hormone replacement therapy, or HRT), which involves taking estrogen and progestin to relieve vaginal dryness and hot flashes and reduce bone loss. MHT is controversial, not only because studies show it can increase women's risk of strokes, heart attacks, and breast cancer, but also because some forms can sap testosterone, causing libido to wane even more.
Pesky pounds: The more body fat you have, the less libido-boosting "free-floating" testosterone you have. If you're obese, losing 10 percent of your total weight can do wonders for your sex drive, found researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Multiple studies have also shown that after just 20 minutes of exercise, blood flow to the genitals increases, resulting in more lubrication, better arousal, and better orgasms.
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