No one prepared me for how horny I would be in my late 30s. All the elders in my life prepared me for random chin hairs, weight gain, and menopause but no one said a mumbling word about my sex drive. Something happens the closer you get to forty. I went from wanting sex here and there to wanting it all the damn time. Is there a support group for this? I can’t be the only one who has the sex drive of the Energizer Bunny. Upon my research to figure out why I felt like a cat in heat, I discovered several theories surrounding women and our sex drives–including one that says the concept of having a sex drive is a myth altogether.
Scientifically, the word ‘drive’ is used to describe the motivational system we have that helps us navigate life or death situations. For example, our drive to find food, warmth or shelter are all things that we need to stay alive. Technically, we won’t die if we don’t have sex–the lack of sex might feel like death but we won’t stop living. Biologists suggest that if sex was fundamentally a “drive” more humans would experience the urge for sex spontaneously like we do hunger. They claim that instead of a “drive,” humans experience and express a desire for sexual intimacy.
I honestly don’t know if libido is a sex drive or desire and to be quite honest I don’t really care. What I do know is that I am not alone in my sudden urge to want more sex. In fact, most women will experience periods of high and low sexual desire throughout their lives. Many believe that our desire for sex is impacted by a range of things such as our lifestyle, healthy habits, like eating a balanced diet, working out regularly, getting enough rest, and our feelings about our partners and relationships. There’s probably some validity to these factors because in my own life, the more comfortable and familiar I was with my body and partner, the more I craved intimacy.
However, despite the many elements that contribute to our libido, I also found that there are certain commonalities that women within certain age categories shared. Women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond experience similar desires (or lack thereof) for sex. Regardless of how healthy your habits are, changes in hormonal shifts seem to be inevitable for women. Are these commonalities psychological, social, and physical or a combination of all three?
To take a closer look, here are some sexual changes women can expect to take place throughout their lifespan.
Your Libido in Your 20s
Our 20s are the young, experimental, and most fertile years. My 20s were filled with Hot Girls Summers and Thot Girl Falls! Based on stats women are more likely to have lots of sex from the ages of 18 to 26. Women are also most fertile during the younger years which can contribute to horniness during ovulation. However, women in their early 20s are sexually unsure of themselves, still figuring out their desires, and how to talk about sex, which could lead to anxiety and low desire.
Your Libido in Your 30s
Many people consider the 30s to be women's sexual prime. According to sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, women have more orgasms in their 30s than at any other time in their lifespan. Oh, Alfred may be on to something because my thirties have been a decade of heightened libido, increased sexual enjoyment, and stronger and better orgasms. Your 30s are the period in most women’s lives that we tend to become less insecure about our bodies. We are more aware of what we need sexually–we know how to get the job done ourselves and how to coach our partners.
We also tend to be more eager to explore and try new things. Research also suggests that the increase in sex drive in the 30s is caused largely by the body’s biological clock. A lot of women have children in their 30s. Wanting to get pregnant means sex and typically lots of it.
Your Libido in Your 40s
Most of the women I know in their 40s say that their sex drive is the strongest it’s ever been. Apparently, the increase in sex drive that begins in our 30s continues until our mid-40s. One study showed that women between 27 and 45 had more frequent and more intense sexual fantasies than younger or older women. As you start going through perimenopause, your body's testosterone remains unchanged, while estrogen decreases, creating a high testosterone to estrogen level in your blood. Testosterone can perk up the sex drive, creating a desire for sex more often. So basically my horniness won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, got it!
Your Libido in Your 50s
Your 50s are the menopause years and we all have heard the stories about menopause. Most women experience a significant decline in sex drive, along with weaker orgasms, reduced sexual function, and vaginal dryness, because of menopause. During menopause, estrogen levels begin to decline. As a result, hormone shifts can lead to menopause symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings—all of which can shrink sexual desire. These hormonal changes often lead to vaginal dryness, which can cause pain with sex and lower libido. In conclusion, keep a fan handy and try to make it through the best way you can.
Your Libido in Your 60s and 70s
The best surprise I’ve ever received is when I realized that older women still had active sex lives. I pretty much assumed that menopause was where great sex went to die. It wasn’t until I began having conversations with women in their 60s and 70s that I began to realize they still pussy pop—albeit not on a headstand but their pussy is still popped. Many women in their silver years feel like they know their bodies better than they ever have, allowing for more gratifying sexual experiences. However, other factors start to impact overall health during this decade that can lead to a decline in sex.
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