Why do Older Adults Lose Their Libido

Key Takeaways

  • Both men and women frequently experience a progressive loss of desire as they get older. 
  • Numerous causes, including hormonal changes, chronic illnesses, medications, and way of life choices, might contribute to low libido. 
  • Age-related sexual interest loss is not inevitable. Your sexual vigor can be recovered with the use of efficient interventions and treatments.

Good sexual health becomes increasingly crucial as we get older. 

It enables us to establish and preserve an emotional connection with our spouse. It aids in stress management.

Healthy sexual behaviour can even lower our risk factors for developing chronic conditions. 

Having said that, you could discover that your libido is less consistent or strong than it once was. 

And why is this happening, you might be wondering. Read on to find out. 

Age and Libido

Is a decline in libido with ageing typical? Yes.

Beginning in their late 40s and early 50s, women frequently notice a decline in their sexual desire and function. This transition might not occur for older males until they are in their 60s or 70s. 

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), or Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (MHSDD) in males, is the term used when sex drive is low or nonexistent for six months or more and causes severe emotional suffering or relationship problems.

People with this illness don’t have any sexual fantasies or thoughts, and they aren’t particularly interested in having sex either by themselves or with a partner. They may even completely avoid having sex and are unresponsive to their partner’s sexual cues.

What makes older men lose their libido?

Low testosterone may be to blame when elderly men’s libido drastically diminishes. 

Testosterone levels normally begin to decline throughout the andropause phase, which is a transition similar to menopause for women.

Many men may not notice a difference in their desire for sex, but some may experience a decline in libido or have trouble getting and keeping an erection (erectile dysfunction). 

Depression, loss of muscular tone, loss of body and facial hair, and exhaustion are further signs of low testosterone.Simple blood tests can diagnose low testosterone levels. 

A testosterone patch, injections, gel, or pellet put under the skin can be used to treat low testosterone levels in men. 

Loss of testosterone can also be brought on by specific medical problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea. 

Sometimes, the medications used to treat these diseases have an impact on testosterone. For instance, chemotherapy may suppress testosterone levels when the patient is receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

What makes older women lose their libido? 

Women’s interest in sex may wane or vanish as a result of menopause-related changes. In fact, author Maryon Stewart cites research in her book Managing Your Menopause Naturally that indicates up to 75% of women believe their sex drive has diminished following menopause. 

Why do menopausal women’s sex drives plummet? It is believed that decreased sexual desire is a result of declining testosterone levels during this period.

 Additionally, a dry and unpleasant vaginal lining can develop as a result of declining oestrogen levels. Stewart notes that when this occurs, penetration may become uncomfortable and, in severe circumstances, the tissue may rupture and bleed. 

Penetration when the vaginal tissues are delicate is not only uncomfortable, but it can also result in UTIs. 

Additionally, the hot flashes that frequently come along with low oestrogen levels can reduce the desire for sex. “If you also have night sweats, it’s not surprising that you don’t feel very sexy,” Stewart says. 

Some women may feel less attractive as they age due to bodily changes like weight gain, sagging skin, and thinning hair. They could feel more restrained with their lover as a result of their damaged self-image. 

Before beginning any herbal supplements, check with your doctor to make sure they won’t conflict with any prescriptions you already use.

What else affects both men and women’s libidos? 

Other, more general elements that affect sex drive exist in addition to gender-specific ones. 


Medication side effects can reduce desire or make it more difficult to arouse. Medications that are known to impair sexual function include: 

  • SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors 
  • Medicine to lower blood pressure 
  • Antipsychotics 
  • Opioids 
  • Statins 
  • Histamine-2 antagonists (H2 blockers) 
  • Chemotherapy medications

Ask your doctor if your prescription could be the reason for the decline in your sexual interest if you’re taking one or more medications and you’ve observed it. They might advise stopping it, reducing the dosage, or switching to a different kind.

Mental health problems 

You may feel uninterested in sexual activity if you are experiencing mental health issues that have an influence on your happiness and wellbeing. 

These consist of: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Problems in relationships 
  • Tragic events in the past 
  • Grief 

If you address the psychological cause of your low libido, you might be able to get your life back on track. This might entail speaking with a mental health expert or engaging in yoga as a way to manage your anxiety.

Chronic illnesses 

Sexual function can be significantly impacted by long-term conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, obesity, and others. 

This is partially explained by the bodily signs of the illness, including pain or weariness. 

The illness’s medications’ adverse effects can also be sexual in nature. 

Lifestyle habits 

The ability to perform and be aroused sexually is dependent on general health. Because of this, it’s crucial to minimise or abstain from lifestyle practises like smoking, excessive alcohol use, and drug use that might disrupt your body’s natural processes. 

Living a healthy lifestyle can improve your mood, confidence, and energy levels, all of which can enhance your enjoyment of sexual activity. 

This include doing regular exercise, eating wholesome meals, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking in moderation.

What should I do if I’ve lost my libido, but my partner hasn’t? 

The issue shouldn’t be ignored because variations in your sex drive can cause tension in your relationship with your spouse. 

The key is communication. Talk to them openly about how you’re feeling and pay close attention to what they need. It’s simple to slip into the trap of assuming your spouse will understand what is going on when your libido is low, according to Stewart.

The most crucial thing is that you two keep communicating verbally and physically. 

Spend some time outlining your situation and seeking support. Remember that being intimate doesn’t always entail having sexual activity. 

Other intimate behaviours like massages, foreplay, or even holding hands and snuggling can arouse passion and deepen your connection.

Take action and speak to your physician. 

Lack of libido is not a problem if you are content with your life and how you feel about yourself. But it’s crucial to address the issue head-on if you want to maintain your sexual activity and are worried about your waning sex drive. 

If you experience a sudden or significant decline in libido, schedule an appointment with your health care physician for a full physical examination. 

This will enable them to rule out any health- or medication-related reasons for your changing drive and investigate other possible explanations.

Are you embarrassed to consult your doctor? 

It can be hard to start a sex chat at first. But remember that your sexual health is crucial to your general health, therefore it’s important to speak up for yourself.

Simply asking a question might start a conversation. You’re not alone; both men and women have libido troubles on a regular basis. It’s probable that your doctor sees individuals with symptoms similar to yours every day.

An active sex life is possible at any age 

Stewart would like older older individuals to know a dropping sex drive is not an unavoidable part of old age and menopause. 

There is no such thing as a normal sex drive, and there are no guidelines for what constitutes a normal level of libido.

What is typical for one relationship might not be for another. Only by using your own standards can you evaluate your libido. 

The good news is that you can take steps to increase your sexual desire if you are worried that it has decreased.

Acha Maoni

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