By Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN, NP, Experience Life
Go to a movie or flip on the television and it’s easy to think that everyone but you has a libido in overdrive. But in the real world, our lives aren’t often very sex-friendly. Most Americans are besieged by stress, work and myriad opportunities for instant gratification — none of which lend themselves to long, leisurely hours of lovemaking.
Remember the freedom we felt in our late teens and early 20s? One of my patients, in remembering these halcyon times, says, “Back then, it seemed like life was an endless summer, wide open with possibility.” As we age, however, we confront the unceasing demands of work, family and a relationship, and it can be difficult to find the freedom and the energy that once fueled our desire.
Most of the patients who come to me with libido issues — and in my more than 30 years as a practitioner, I’ve seen a steadily increasing number of them — are women who range in age from their 30s to their 60s. And, in general, they are simply too wiped out by life’s burdens to even think about, much less feel, their sexual and sensual desires.
The majority of my younger patients are there because they want to know how they can get their libidos back, but I am astonished by the number of 50-year-olds who walk into my office and say that they haven’t had any sexual activity for four years — and they’re OK with it!
This is unfortunate, because revving up your libido isn’t just about sex. Yes, libido is about sexual desire, but it’s also about a vitality, life force and energy that are critical to your overall health and well-being — whether you are 35 or 55 or even 75.
A healthy libido has huge implications, both on a physical level (it helps decrease blood pressure, support a healthier immune system, increase dopamine levels, etc.) and on an emotional level (it instills a sense of empowered calm and a feeling of spark, and it promotes connection and intimacy in relationships, etc.).
Cultivating a healthy sex drive — just like following a nutritious diet or a strenuous workout — takes some focused effort. But the payoff extends far beyond the bedroom.
Although our popular culture seems sexually obsessed, when it comes to discussing the subject of sexual satisfaction in our own lives, we can turn surprisingly shy, or even puritanical. Most of us rarely talk about libido — at least, not in very authentic or respectful terms — but given its importance to our well-being, I think it’s high time we start.
No matter where you are in a relationship, giving yourself permission to be a vital, sensual, fully engaged person is a great way to feel in the prime of life at any time of life.
Sound good? Here are some tips to get you started…
First up: physical issues