At any age, it can be vibrant, exciting and satisfying. Aging often puts a damper on the libido – our all-important appetite for sex that encompasses thoughts, fantasies and desires – but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are easy ways to address it. Registered psychotherapist and sex therapist Kelli Young, based in Toronto, works with individuals and couples to help them resolve their sexual and relationship concerns. She offers this savvy advice on how to maintain a healthy sex drive:

Mediaplanet  How common is a loss of libido for women?

"Almost half of all women experience a decline at some point in their lives."

Kelli Young  Very!  Almost half of all women experience a decline at some point in their lives.  For younger women, this dip may be relatively short-term (e.g. after child-birth or during breast-feeding).  However, as women age, they tend to notice changes that can have more persistent negative effects on their sex life.

MP  What factors affect women’s libidos as they get older?

KY  Hormonal changes and menopause can wreak havoc on women’s sex lives.  As estrogen levels drop, the vagina becomes dryer and less elastic, which can lead to pain during sex.  When sex is unfulfilling or painful, a woman is unlikely to desire it, even fearing or avoiding it.

MP  What are some things that women can do to maintain and boost their sexual desire as they age?

KY  Talk to your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing factors.

Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way: Eat healthy, exercise, cut down on alcohol and caffeine, manage stress and book some “me-time.”

Speaking of “me-time,” remember self-pleasuring (masturbation) is normal, healthy, and good for your libido.

Sex toys add an element of fun and excitement, and they can provide the high intensity stimulation needed to reach orgasm.

Use a sexual lubricant (water or silicone-based) to manage vaginal dryness and to make sex more pleasurable.

Prioritize and nurture your sexual relationship.  Schedule “date nights” for you and your partner to relax, have fun, and be intimate.

Work on any relationship issues following you into the bedroom.  Good communication is vital to good sex.

Using a natural libido supplement designed specifically for women can result in significant improvements in sex drive and sexual functioning.

MP  How can herbal supplements help?

KY  Natural supplements can help to improve circulation and vaginal lubrication, which heighten sensitivity and enhance sexual response. Not all supplements are created equally.  Look for supplements that are doctor-formulated specifically for women and contain clinically proven ingredients.  Choose only products licensed by Health Canada.