Bring Sexy Back

Lost your libido? Here’s what you need to know to get back in the sack

If you’ve lost that loving feeling, you’re not alone. Many Canadians over 40 experience a loss of sexual desire and let’s face it, everything from a health issue that’s cropped up to a crumbling relationship has the potential to sound the death knell for a once hot sex life. In her weekend sex workshops and private practice, registered psychologist and “Passion Coach” Dr. Cheryl Fraser of Vancouver finds it’s what drives her clients to see her. “I would say a loss of sex drive is a huge problem. It’s definitely the number 1 reason people come to sex therapy,” she says. But Fraser believes, the 40s and 50s can and should be the richest sexual time for anyone. “You may not love your ass as much as you did when you were 20, but you know how to use it better,” says Fraser.

How hot are your hormones?
Dr. Jerald Bain, professor emeritus in the department of medicine in the University of Toronto and in the division of endocrinology at Mount Sinai Hospital says that a number of studies in mature women show a diminishing sex drive occurs in 30 to 80 per cent. “Testosterone is a contributing factor to libido in both women and men. As women enter menopause, there is a drop in testosterone production,” he says. For men, a natural decline in testosterone begins at 40, says Bain. “The most common complaint I get from men is decreased interest in sex or erectile dysfunction when testosterone levels go down,” he says. “Men continue to have a sex drive as they get older, but it’s less dramatic and less urgent than when he was 20 or 25,” says Bain. “But other things effect erectile function and if erectile function goes it has a secondary impact on your sex drive.” If your doctor tests you and finds your levels low, testosterone by injection or orally may be the best option.

And the psychological aspect of a low sex drive is huge says Fraser, whose workshops attract mainly couples between 45 and 65. “The number 1 reason people stop feeling hot for each other is that they are in conflict,” she says. “Or a relationship may not be in trouble but there’s a complacency and, quite frankly, a laziness and a sloppiness about tending to what I call your loverlife.” So, what are some surefire ways to get your sexual mojo back?

Strengthen your triangle
Fraser teaches what she calls the “passion triangle” in her workshops. “The base is intimacy, the left side is thrill and the right is sensuality,” says Fraser. Intimacy is trust, connectedness, and vulnerability, treating each other with kindness, being respectful and appreciating each other verbally and physically. “If that’s impaired, which it is in a relationship in conflict, it’s pretty hard to have thrill and sensuality.” Thrill is that feeling we have early on where your heart jumps when you see each other. “Thrill is in your head.” Instead of focusing on all the things that are wrong, that irritate you and that are not right about this person. Instead, you need to try and see the person with fresh eyes, go out for dinner and try asking each other 20 questions. Find out how old they were when the lost their virginity, what kind of pet would they choose or what is their favourite vegetable and how do they like it cooked? Through the answers you deepen your connection and get more curious about each other. Even if you’ve been together 20 years there may be things you didn’t know and that can make things fresh again. The third part is sensuality, which covers the entire spectrum of sexuality. “For some people that’s all about kissing, holding hands or snuggling on the couch when we watch TV. For others it might be hanging-from-the-rafters Kama Sutra sex. So I say to people where are you limited? Where can you expand your spectrum? Do you need more hot raunchy sex, or are you pretty good in the raunch department but you never kiss, touch or hug during the day? Then that’s where you need to focus,” advises Fraser.

Sleep naked
When was the last time you stripped down before bed and got between the sheets in nothing? If the last time was when The Bay City Rollers topped the charts, it’s time to get back to au natural. It’s the simplest way to get more connected. We tend to wear our track pants and our T-shirt because it’s comfy. “But if you sleep naked, there is nothing like the feeling of snuggling a bare chest, the feeling of skin on skin. Forget about it making you horny. It’s intimate and close. It’s vulnerable because your walls are literally gone.” It’s also a great way to remind ourselves that we are sensual beings, and that there is no one else you would want to sleep with naked, says Fraser. And try to go to bed every night at the same time, she advises. “Not necessarily to have sex, but to connect. A lot of people don’t.”

Stock up on feel-good gadgets
If you need help with the raunch factor, or you just want to make it fun again, authors of Sexy Hormones Dr. Alvin Pettle and Lorna Vanderhaege suggest that one of the best weapons in a Zoomer couple’s sexual arsenal remains the vibrator. No longer an embarrassment, suburban sex toy parties for soccer moms have brought everything from the Rabbit to the Mushroom out in the open. And it’s a good thing. According to the authors, 98 per cent of women who have never achieved orgasm can have one with the help of a trusted vibrator. But if the idea of a vibrator conjures up images of something purple, ribbed and 18 inches, Fraser suggests you start small with edible massage oils or a simple feather. “There are also great powders you can dust on and lick off.” Another must have according to Fraser is lube. Many women start needing a little extra during peri-menopause but even if you don’t, lube makes things more slippery and more intense. And if playing with sex toys makes you feel ridiculous, that’s okay she says. “You are playing with toys. Laugh about it.”

Foods for sexy thoughts
To enhance testosterone levels (the hormone responsible for sex drive in men and women), try free-range red meat and wild game, goose and duck, nuts, baked beans and oysters, say the authors of Sexy Hormones. And good news, chocolate really is an aphrodisiac. It contains a chemical that produces serotonin, the feel-good hormone that gives you that good-all-over feeling. Chocolate also releases endorphins in the body, which produce the sensation of sexual arousal. So go ahead and indulge, it’s good for you.