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Sexual Arousal Through the Ages: What Does Your Libido Look Like in Your 20’s to Your 50’s & Beyond?

Sexual Arousal Through the Ages: What Does Your Libido Look Like in Your 20’s to Your 50’s & Beyond?

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, the research we've found on libido and aging is gendered. This article is limited by the gender binary reflected in the research. We've done our best to reflect information in the research using inclusive language and acknowledge the limits of research bound by the gender binary.

Regardless of your age (within reason, of course), you’ll most likely agree that you’ve experienced various levels of arousal. Perhaps you used to have raging hormones in your 20’s which slowly dissipated later on in life. Or it could very well be the opposite! 

The thing is, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint why and how we experience sexual desire. There are however certain things such as hormones, one’s environment, and other factors that play a huge role in how you’re feeling, sexually. 

With that, we’re going to whizz through the ages, taking a look at how both those assigned male at birth (AMAB) and assigned female at birth (AFAB) tend to experience sexual arousal from their 20’s all the way through to their 50’s and beyond.

But first…

What is a Sex Drive?

A sex drive, aka ‘libido’, is one’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. As we mentioned, there are a slew of things that can directly and indirectly affect your sex drive, including brain functioning, learned behaviours, mental state, and hormonal fluctuations. Not only that, but certain lifestyle habits and medications can also affect one’s sex drive.

Sexual Arousal for those AMAB in their 20’s

Those AMAB in their 20’s often experience an influx of testosterone, a hormone that’s important for sexual arousal. For that reason, this is a period when they generally have a high sex drive. Interestingly however, because those in their 20’s are still so young, around eight percent of those AMAB in this age group actually admit to having erectile dysfunction (ED). This is often due to a mixture of excitement and sexual inexperience. 

Sexual Arousal for those AFAB in their 20’s

Those AFAB in their 20’s are often at their most fertile, which could directly influence who they are intimate with, how, and when. On the other hand, with fertility and a strong sex drive on their side, those AFAB may just want to explore their sexuality, either solo or with a partner. It’s also true that young romance tends to blossom in their 20’s, which is when desire is often at its strongest.

Sexual Arousal for those AMAB in their 30’s

It is usually in the mid-30’s that testosterone slowly decreases for those AMAB. From around the age of 35, this hormone goes down by about one percent each year, which would then have an effect on one’s libido. Additionally, being in your 30’s may come with new responsibilities, such as having a career and/or starting a family, which could be a point of stress, lowering levels of sex drive. Not to mention lifestyle conditions, such as eating a balanced diet, doing exercise, and getting enough rest… all of which can contribute to a high or low libido.

Sexual Arousal for those AFAB in their 30’s

Just like those AMAB may be focusing more on work and/or family during this stage of life, those AFAB are also highly likely to experience this change in their 30’s. “Many [of those AFAB] would rather catch up on sleep instead of getting dolled up for a night of wild sex,” says Dr. Jennifer Landa, MD, an ob-gyn and chief medical officer. For both AMAB and AFAB, if stress, anxiety, and/or depression is experienced, this too can decrease sexual desire, not to mention certain anti-depressants which can inhibit sex drive.

Sexual Arousal for those AMAB in their 40’s

Those AMAB in their mid to late 40’s go through a series of bodily changes that often require a bit more self-care, and a few more aches and pains. That, coupled with lower levels of testosterone, could lead those AMAB in their 40’s to feel slightly ashamed that their stamina is not what it used to be. While these feelings are valid and completely normal, there’s no need to feel shame. In fact, it is often AMAB in their 40’s who begin to seek closeness and trust as opposed to just the physical intimacy of sex. This is merely an example of becoming even more mature and embracing a more human side.

Sexual Arousal for those AFAB in their 40’s

Many AFAB in their 40’s will start to experience perimenopause, which is a stretch of five to 10 years prior to menopause. During this time, a one’s ovaries will slowly stop producing estrogen—a hormone responsible for producing natural lubrication. And while this, along with other hormonal fluctuations, can directly affect one’s sex drive, it’s actually true that those AFAB in their 40’s are more sexually liberated, confident, and interested in sexual exploration. It’s in this stage of life that they usually know what they like, how they like it, and are more open and accepting about what they would like from themselves or their partner in order to achieve sexual satisfaction.

Sexual Arousal for those AMAB in their 50’s and Beyond

Even though ED is more common in older AMAB, if you take care of your mental and physical health, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a healthy and active sex life in your 50’s and beyond. In fact, ED often rears its head due to lifestyle choices, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and medication. For some, ED can be reversed with a few simple life changes (or with the use of a sleek and sexy cock ring).

Sexual Arousal for those AFAB in their 50’s and Beyond

Those AFAB in their 50’s usually experience menopause, which will cause a drop in estrogen and an increase in vaginal dryness. The other side effects of menopause, such as hot flashes, anxiety, and weight gain, too could reduce one’s sex drive. Despite this, some heterosexual AFAB individuals actually really enjoy sex in their 50’s and beyond as there is a much less chance of getting pregnant. Additionally, those with children may also be experiencing that “empty nest” feeling, which may give them the time and energy to be more active in their sex life.

Can you identify with some of these changes? Or are you perhaps a bit nervous for some of them? The truth is, our sexual desires, whether they increase or decrease, will continue to change. It’s absolutely normal, and we should embrace each stage of life and all of the wonderful things it has to offer. Everything serves its purpose, allowing us all to age gracefully, and mature sexually. Enjoy the adventure!

Guest writer

Helena Lorimer

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