When we think of passion and passionate sex in particular, most of us envision a young couple. Sex is an activity associated with the young. Tight glowing skin, no sagging parts, and of course passion! It isn’t often that you find someone who thinks passionate lovemaking in middle age is sexy. Why don’t we model our sexuality after middle-aged people? They certainly have experience and wisdom. And there are more people in the over-40 category than in the under-30. We are talking tens of millions.
As I sit in my office and listen to patients talk about their sex lives, libido, and other sex-related issues and body functions, I can’t help but notice that the loss of hormones that occurs in the middle years is consistently associated with loss of interest in sex and for that matter an overall loss of passion. I refuse to believe we run out of passion; I do however know as a physician and hormone expert that we do run out of hormones. When you put loss of hormones together with mind-dulling everyday routine, you create a prescription for disaster for sex and passion.
Consider this example. When I first saw Brett and Kathy, they were in their late 40s, early 50s, respectively. They were a good-looking, happily married couple full of passion for each other with a healthy decade of togetherness behind them. They were not carrying some of the usual baggage or boredom one might attribute to the usual 30-plus-year relationship most 50-year-olds are in and yet they were both complaining of fading libido and lack of interest in sex.
They unequivocally stated they were in love and even lust with each other; they were sure nothing had changed in their relationship except for the sudden and dramatic loss of interest in sex. He worked while she tended to their home and sex used to be fun, exciting, and passionate until suddenly it turned into a chore better replaced by a cuddle in bed or watching a movie on the couch. Neither was happy yet neither was ready to throw in the towel and enter the decades of no sex associated with the old and frail.
Upon closer scrutiny, both Brett and Kathy suffered with what I believe is the plight of all humankind over the age of 40: loss of hormones.
Yes, life is stressful. Children, work, and the economics of life take their toll, but why do they take their toll on our sex drive, on our desire to make passionate love to the partner we adore? They certainly don’t seem to take a toll on our appetite for food or desire to sit down and watch TV. What can we do to save ourselves from becoming disinterested observers in the world of passionate sex?
Here are my tips:
1. Make sure your relationship is not the culprit. If you no longer love each other, admit it and either get help to develop the tools to fall back in love, or call it a day. Do not delude yourself and don’t fake it. Life is too short to just give up on your opportunity for happiness.
2. If the relationship is not the problem keep passion high on your priority list. Go out as a couple, do sexy things together every week. Don’t forget that it all started with the two of you passionately unable to keep your hands off each other. Use it or lose it is certainly applicable to passionate sex!
3. Have your hormone levels checked. If you are over 40 and a woman, have your estradiol, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid levels (TSH, T3, and T4) as well as FSH, LH, prolactin, DHEA–S, and cortisol levels checked. If you are a man have your testosterone (total and free), DHT, PSA , LH, thyroid (TSH, T3, and T4) and estrogen levels checked. Even if they appear normal for your age, they may not be. Adding the correct balance of hormones in bioidentical (molecularly identical to human hormones) form will help you feel better and regain your sex drive more often than you think. At the Age Management Institute in Manhattan, we use testosterone cream, gel, or shots for men and either Food and Drug Administration-approved or compounded estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone for women.
4. Ask your doctor and know that scientific literature confirms the safety and efficacy of human identical (bioidentical) hormones in keeping us young, healthy, vibrant, sexy, and passionate. So don’t spare the horses on getting back your hormones!