How age hurts men, women in bedroom

Libido is at its highest during our 20s, then downhill thereafter

In Summary

• Men and women are affected in different ways in their 30s, 40s and beyond

Couple refrains from sex
Couple refrains from sex

It's a Friday evening and a group of friends is excited at meeting up to celebrate the birthday party of one of their own. As I approach the table, it is evident they are already enjoying an animated conversation. Having met at different stages of our lives, our ages are also diverse and we are soon discussing about how our sex drive has changed over the years.

Tina* confesses how her 39-year-old boyfriend can comfortably do four rounds of sex during their love-making. This doesn't sound too far-fetched, seeing as Martin* is fit with a lean athletic body. Tony*, 42, on the other hand says he can barely go past one round. "I can do two strong ones on a good day," he says as we all break into laughter. He confesses that age has caught up with him and with the extra weight gain, sex is an uphill task.

You will be pleasantly surprised how regular exercise and being physically and mentally fit, while keeping stress at bay or managing it, can breathe life into your sex life.

No doubt, libido tends to be at its highest during our 20s. Being young and energetic is a plus as one is able to perform at optimal. Research shows that in men, libido peaks in their 20s but gradually wanes. However, in women, libido increases as fertility wanes but takes a dip after menopause.

More often than not, our sex life is dictated by lifestyle. High stress levels, a sedentary lifestyle, various medications or disease can compromise the quality of your sex life. If your libido (or the lack of it) is wreaking havoc on your relationship, it is always advisable to reach out to a sex or relationship therapist. Some contraceptives are also notorious for dampening sex life or causing vaginal dryness. It would be prudent to discuss that with your gynaecologist to see what works best for you.


Most men and women are usually in committed relationships by this time and are busy settling into their careers. Physically, most people at this age are still up to the task, though the quality of their sex life can be interrupted by work schedules and the birth of children. Though the experience is different for every woman, pregnancy and childbirth can hugely impact a woman's sex life at any age. Some women experience a high libido, while others do not have the desire at all. Women tend to have a high sex drive in their 30s, which could go all the way to their early 40s.

Most women are usually sexually liberated by the time they get to their 30s. They are confident and more comfortable with their flaws, which means they can enjoy sex more and are more expressive during love-making.


In today's generation, both men and women are marrying and starting families much later than in the yesteryears. Men and women in their 40s are contending with work-related stress and other commitments, which could interfere with their sex lives. At this age, most men are thinking of acquiring property, including building or buying homes, and all this pressure can impact their sex life. Even though most men at this age continue to have a strong sex drive, their testosterone levels also start to decrease gradually. Testosterone is a sex hormone known to regulate libido in men.

Unfortunately, in the 40s, some men may start to find their erections less reliable and the time between erections may be longer. Doctors recommend looking into lifestyle changes that could help to improve your sexual health. Erectile issues like ED and other forms of sexual dysfunction can start popping up at this age as sex drive gradually declines with age. You can discuss available options with your doctor.

Illustration of sex
Illustration of sex


At this age, both men and women can start to feel the effects of age on their sex lives. As her oestrogen levels drop, a woman may not lubricate as she once did in her heyday and may need the assistance of lubricants. Hot flashes, weight gain and insomnia, which are usually associated with menopause, can make one less in the mood for sex. It would also be prudent to discuss with your gynaecologist how to enjoy your sex life during and after menopause so they can advise on the appropriate treatment, hormones or lubes to use.

On the other hand, men notice that erectile dysfunctions become more common. Seeing a doctor could help as they can help you explore various options for treating ED. At this age, the erections are not as firm as they were in the 20s.

Lifestyle diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, which are common at this age, and the medications that are taken to treat them, can also interfere with your sex life.

Generally, our sex drive is bound to decrease gradually as we age. Engaging in regular exercise has been proven to improve your sex life as it increases your blood flow and improves heart health. If you're in good physical and mental health, doctors say there is no reason one should not continue to enjoy their sex life even as age beckons.

Cheers to mind-blowing sex during our 30s, 40s and beyond!


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