One of the basic needs of life, sex and its meaning changes with age over time. From emotional, physical to psychological and medical, sexual desire and its correlation with your body and mind keep evolving as you grow older. Most believe that sexual desire declines as one ages but for some, age just makes you a pro in your performance. So what is the effect of age on your sex drive and how do women experience a sexual awakening?

To understand how sex drives are connected with age, TC46 asked Psychiatrist Dr Kedar Tilwe from Fortis Hospital & Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Here, he shares the indicators of the levels of sex drive, the science behind a woman’s orgasm and how to stay sexually active regardless of your age.

1. What is sex drive? How can it be measured?

Sex drive of a person refers to the urge felt by each person to have intercourse. Some of the components which can be used to describe this drive include a combination of the desire to have sex, as well as the (the more popular measure) frequency of sexual intercourse. While mostly this is experienced as a subjective drive, there are various commonly available objective forms of evaluation including sexual experience surveys that can be of aid in accessing the libido of a person.

2. What are the indicators of a low, average and high sex drive in women?

It is important to remember that there are natural variations of the sex drive in every person and that it can vary on a weekly and even daily basis subject to circumstances. The accepted normal is when both the partners feel satisfied with the frequency of intercourse, as well as the pleasure experienced. Indicators of a low drive could include decreased interest responding to advances of your spouse, frequency of intercourse becomes lesser then once a month and normal physiological responses like vaginal moistness does not occurring during sex.

3. What are some common factors that affect sex drive in women throughout their lifetime?

Common factors that affect sex drive in women:

  • Interpersonal discord is perhaps the most common reason for a drop in the sexual drive of a woman. Lack of warmth or emotional intimacy and even a fight or a misunderstanding with one’s significant other may lead to a complete drop in the libido
  • Gynaecological conditions such as Dyspareunia and persistent vaginal dryness are also responsible
  • Personal belief, cultural taboos and negative attitude towards sex including dogmas linked with the character of a person and enjoyment of intercourse are also responsible for hampering of sex drive of an individual
  • Most general medical conditions including Diabetes, Blood pressure, Thyroid disturbances and pituitary conditions can also dampen a drive

4. How does your libido typically present itself in your 20s as a woman? What are some factors that affect it?

The libido of every woman waxes and wanes over time. The highest sexual drive is reported to be experienced during the 20s. This is the time when any confusion clears up and the sexual identity, orientation and preferences of a person become clearly established. An increase in libido may be experienced by most as it coincides with peak physical fitness as well as the formation of conjugal and committed relationships in many people.

5. What does the sex drive of a woman in her 30s look like? How does it change from her 20s?

During the 30s, the presence of long term emotionally intimate bonding with the partner and clarity about work and personal responsibilities sets in, the focus for many tends to shift to starting and nurturing their family. During this phase, the frequency of intercourse may remain the same or have a slight dip, and the focus may shift more to the quality and the pleasure experienced during intercourse.

6. What can you expect in your 40s when it comes to your libido? With menopause close, what changes can be observed in a woman’s sex drive during her 50s?

During the late 40s and early 50s with the onset of menopause many women may experience a significant drop in their libido due to the changes in their body and mind, occurring in response to the menopause. Once the transition is complete, many women report an increase in their libido and enjoyment of sex as their concerns about pregnancy and menses disappear.

7. What happens to a woman’s libido post in her 60s and beyond? How different is it?

In the 60s and beyond, the libido of a woman may dip and sex is usually considered as a form of connect to demonstrate emotional intimacy. The frequency of intercourse also steadily declines as their body including the gynaecological and hormonal systems begin to age along with the rest of the body.

8. What is late sexual awakening in women? Is low sexual drive the cause of it? How does it affect your relationships?

Sexual intimacy is one of the pillars on which an enduring and enriching conjugal relationship is built. So late sexual awakening can hamper the quality of one’s relationship with their significant other. Sometimes it may be a deliberate and conscious choice of the individual, but a decreased sexual drive is often the cause for late sexual awakening.

9. Does age come into play in terms of sexual satisfaction? Is it true that most women don’t experience an orgasm with a partner until their 40s?

A woman can achieve orgasm with her partner at any age and that is usually dependent on the enjoyment and degree of pleasure achieved during that intercourse. Just like the other systems in your body, the genital organs also undergo changes with age. Loss of lubrication and other hormonal changes in women can lead to a decreased drive or may necessitate changes in the way a person approaches intercourse, the focus may also shift from penetrative sex to enhancing pleasure for each other.

10. What are some ways to stay sexually active and practise safe sex in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond?

Staying true and faithful to your partner is perhaps the easiest way to stay active and stay safe. Using barrier contraceptives like Condoms can also aid you in practising safe sex. Having an open and non-judgmental conversation with your partner about their preferences and each other’s turn on and offs can also be the source of great feedback, which allows you to improve and enjoy together. Staying physically fit is of essential importance to enjoying a long and healthy sexual life.

Do reach out to a medical professional near you and do not feel shy of raising the concern you may have, as a small aid or slight modifications in technique may be all that is necessary to enable you and your partner to enjoy the intercourse.