Last night, in the chat room after our webinar, I was asked about dealing with sexual struggles that occur later in life, and I didn’t have a whole lot to offer, because I haven’t really written on the topic yet. Also, I’m only 34, so I don’t have a lot of personal experience with it myself.
That said, I talk to enough people who do, and so after thinking about it, and talking with my naturopathic doctor friend, here’s what I came up with.
The biggest struggle is likely testosterone
Testosterone is a hormone that regulates a lot of things, but pursuant to this topic, it has a lot to do with sexual desire, as well as your ability to get aroused (and have and maintain an erection in men). And after the age of 40, men lose about 1% of their testosterone per year. As such, many find they have less of a desire for sex, they have a lower ability to be aroused, both mentally and physically, and performance is possibly hampered by waning erections.
So, what can you do about this? The first thing is, get your testosterone levels checked. Because if you’re testosterone levels aren’t low, there’s no sense is trying to raise them. That said, every man has a different “normal” testosterone range. What might be high for one could be low for another. However, we tend to fall within a fairly broad range, so if you’re really low, a doctor can usually tell you. And you should consult that doctor anyways about any changes to your diet. I’m going to share some health tips, but it’s quite possible these will interfere with medication you are on. Often, when you start eating better, when you start exercising, your body starts to heal itself, and your dosages might be too high.
For example, if you’re on blood thinners and you start taking hibiscus tea, you need to drop your dosage, or your blood pressure might bottom out. If you’re on a water pill, they will often tell you not to eat grapefruit, or kiwis. Why? Because grapefruit and kiwis naturally do the same thing, and so it screws with your dosage. Personally, I’d rather introduce more grapefruit and kiwis into my diet and lower the dosage, but that’s more difficult for the doctor.
Now, most doctors won’t know what foods will start to heal the issues your having, so they can’t tell you what’s going to happen. But they can monitor your health and let you know when dosages need to be adjusted, or medications stopped completely. I know a lot of people who have gone off their medications by fixing their diet.
But, I’m not a doctor, so I can’t take responsibility for your health. So, take my advice like that of a well informed friend. Not a licensed medical doctor.
So, if you’re Testosterone levels are low, there are some things you can do.
Firstly, zinc is incredibly important to maintaining testosterone in your system. If you’re low on zinc (and if you’re on blood pressure medication, you probably are), it won’t matter how much testosterone you can produce or get injected with. You can take zinc supplements, or you can make sure you are getting healthy amounts of raw mushrooms, chick peas, beans, whole grains, brown rice, pumpkin seeds or cashews. I’m always going to vote for food over medication or supplements, when possible.
Secondly, you can take something called macca. Macca is a root that has an amazing ability to re-balance hormone levels. Some women take macca instead of going on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) when they go through menopause. It has lower risks, it’s natural, and there are some concerns about the long term impact of hormone replacement therapy. But, you can take macca to help rebalance your testosterone levels as well.
Also, exercise will help your body work to produce and maintain testosterone levels. In particular, strength training triggers a boost of testosterone.
Here’s the thing though. If you’re very depleted in testosterone, you need to start slow. If you’re re-starting your sex life, you may want to start slow there too. Why? Because sex, and strength training take testosterone first, then give you more back. But, there’s an initiate up front cost, as it were. If you’re very depleted, if you can’t regenerate that testosterone quickly, then you can have a testosterone crash, and that’s no good. So, ease into strength training, ease into sex, if you haven’t been having it for a while. Eventually you will build up your stores and train you body to be able to replenish it more quickly.
There’s also a supplement called Tribulus that you may be interested in looking into. Honestly, I don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard good things. So, do your own research (and let me know if it works).
Bad circulation is bad for sexual health
Another issue many older spouses have is bad circulation. Often this is from years of unhealthy eating, cholesterol has built up, or their heart is too week, or a host of other things. But, circulation is incredibly important for sexual health. Arousal is dependent on increased blood flow. That’s why drugs like viagra work. They are vassodialators, which means they open the blood vessels and let more blood come in.
However, there are natural vassodialators as well. One such are seeds from the moringa plant. They’re just a seed, you can buy them on Amazon, and they’re a fairly strong (for being natural) vassodialator. You won’t get quite the same effect as viagra, but it might be enough to help without any of the side-effects of viagra. There’s also a lower risk if you’re on things like blood pressure medication (which is always a concern with viagra). I’m told you can also make a tea from the leaves, but I’ve never tried that. Still, something to look into.
Another thing is that most people (young or old) don’t drink enough water. When we’re younger, our bodies can cope easier with it (note: cope, it’s still damaging you), but as you get older, it’s harder to deal with low hydration. Blood needs water, in order to replicate, and so low water levels means low healthy blood supply, which, again, is needed for sexual health. So, drink your water. A lot of water.
Energy is lower in later years
Lastly, your energy stores might be much lower as you get older. As with almost everything, diet helps a lot with this. If you eat more raw foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, then your body doesn’t have to work so hard to digest them, and you get more of the nutrients from it. Many people find a huge energy increase from moving to a more raw-food diet, and lowering the amount of meat, diary and cooked plants and vegetables.
Another thing you may want to consider is rescheduling sex for earlier in the day, like right when you wake up. First thing in the morning, you should have more energy, and testosterone levels are at their peak.
Don’t let your age slow you down
I heard from so many couples in their 60s, 70s, 80s even who are still having vibrant sex lives. Some of them are just starting their sex lives having recently had an awakening, or having just revitalized their marriage. Don’t let the fact that you’re “old now” stop you from having the sex you want. The grand kids don’t need to know what happens behind closed doors, but they will certainly see the love you have for each other, and modeling that will help them in their own marriages.
So, there are a few basic tips about sex as you age. I hope it helps.